Identity theft, credit card fraud and check fraud are the fastest growing crimes in America, costing creditors and consumers three billion dollars a year. The crime of identity theft has increased significantly in the last 5 years due to advances in personal computers and related technology. This technology benefits criminals, who use stolen personal information to defraud consumers and financial institutions. This page contains information about identity theft as well as resources for victims of identity theft.
Identity Theft Victim's Packet
The crime of identity theft
Identity theft is the unauthorized use of an individual's personal identifying information without the individual's consent for an unlawful purpose. These include personal information such as your name, date of birth, social security number, screen name, bank account number, credit/debit card-account information. An identity thief may use someone's personal identifiers to illegally obtain credit cards, open checking accounts, apply for loans, rent or purchase homes or automobiles, establish services with utility companies, or engage in other fraudulent activity.
How your identity is obtained
Offenders who commit identity theft may or may not be known to the victim. There are many methods the offender uses to obtain your account or personal information.
- Residential / vehicle burglaries
- Mail theft
- Dumpster diving (looking through your trash)
- Internet / commercial databases
- Employees of businesses who have access to personal records
What to do if you are a victim
Contact the fraud departments at each of the major credit bureaus and report that your identity has been stolen. Ask for a “fraud alert” to be placed in your file.
- trans union:1-800-680-7289
For any accounts that have been fraudulently opened, contact the security departments of the appropriate creditors or financial institutions. Close these accounts immediately!
Financial institution will require that you complete an affidavit of forgery and in some cases will require a police report. In most cases the financial institution will absorb the loss and then they become the primary victim. In these cases, although a report is generated, unless there are viable leads and the financial institution desires prosecution, most agencies will not investigate the matter.
Identity theft: contact the ID theft clearinghouse at 1-877-ed theft (1-877-438-4338). Counselors will take your complaint and advise you how to deal with the credit related problems that may result. You can also contact them online at www.identitytheft.gov. This site is maintained by the Federal Trade Commission and provides one central place to report the theft to the federal government and receive helpful information. The site includes an ID theft affidavit that can be printed. Follow the instructions provided. Once filled out, the affidavits can be sent to each creditor, bank, or company that provided the suspect with unauthorized credit, goods or services.
Internet fraud: if your case involves internet fraud, which includes fraudulent credit card use, fraudulent charge accounts established using your identity, e-bay or other online auction purchases, these cases will normally be investigated by the FBI. Complete an internet fraud complaint report at www.ic3.gov in order to report the crime and obtain a reference or complaint number. This site is maintained by the fbi and the national white collar crime center. They will conduct a preliminary investigation and forward the case, if viable, to the Peoria Police Department or appropriate agency.
Credit card fraud: most agencies will only take a report if the physical plastic card, credit or debit, has been stolen. If only the number has been compromised, contact the issuing financial institution immediately to have the card canceled. They will require an affidavit of forgery or dispute form to be completed and then they will absorb the financial loss and they become the victim. If your card number has been used over the internet, see the preceding information as well. If you are a merchant who completed a transaction by accepting a credit card number only, without the physical card and card holder being present at the transaction location, the Peoria Police Department cannot investigate the case due to a lack of evidence. If the transaction occurred via the internet, see the preceding information.
Fraudulent checks: if your checkbook is stolen or lost, contact the Peoria Police Department for a theft or loss report. Then contact the financial institution to report the theft/loss and have your account closed. If any checks are forged and used, you will be required to file an affidavit of forgery. In most cases the bank will absorb the loss and become the primary victim. In these cases, the Peoria Police Department will not investigate unless the financial institution or the business who accepted the checks desires prosecution and has viable leads. If you are a merchant who accepted a forged check, you will be required to present the original check, copy of the affidavit from the account holder and the employee who completed the transaction. If you received a check back from the bank marked closed account or non-sufficient funds (nsf), contact the county's check enforcement bureau at 602-372-7300.
Social security: if you find that someone used your social security number only for employment purposes, contact the inspector general's office at 602-340-1880.