DuPage County Sheriff

John E. Zaruba

 

Crime Prevention

Protect yourself from identity theft

Identity theft is the fastest growing crime in the United States. In 2005 11,137 identity theft crimes were committed in Illinois - 828% more than in 2000.  

Identity thieves steal your personal identifying information such as name, address, date of birth, social security number, credit card number, driver's license number and use that information to fraudulently obtain credit, money and other goods and services.

Identity thieves may open a phony bank account, or steal from your bank account, obtain unauthorized credit cards, apply for a house or car loan or lease an apartment with a false name using your personal information.

Protect yourself from these types of crime:

  • Shred or tear up all personal financial documents such as ATM receipts, bank statements, credit and charge card bills, birth certificates, legal documents etc.
  • Do not print personal identifiers such as your social security number, date of birth or driver's license number on your check.
  • Use your social security number only when necessary.
  • Before revealing any personal information, online or in person, ask how it will be used.
  • Do not answer personal, financial or identifying questions to an unknown phone caller.
  • Carefully review your monthly credit card and bank statements, checking for unauthorized use.
  • Get a copy of your credit report at least once a year to check for errors.
  • Eliminate the number of cards you carry, especially your social security card and passport.

If you become a victim of identity theft

Contact your local police department or sheriff's office and file a report. Make sure to get a copy of the report in case your creditors need proof of the crime.

Then contact the fraud department of each of the three major credit bureaus:

Credit BureauPhone NumberWebsite
Equifax1-800-525-6285http://www.equifax.com 
Experian1-888-EXPERIANhttp://www.experian.com 
Trans Union1-800-680-7289http://www.tuc.com 

Tell them to flag your file with a fraud alert including a statement that creditors should get your permission before opening any new accounts in your name.

Next, contact the creditors for any accounts that have been tampered with or opened fraudulently. Ask to speak with someone in their security or fraud department and follow up in writing.

If it appears someone is using your social security number, get in touch with the Social Security Administration (1-800-772-1213) to verify the accuracy of your reported earnings and that your name is reported correctly.

You may also file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) by contacting their Identity Theft Hotline at 1-877-438-4338 (TDD 202-326-2502) or by mail:

Identity Theft Clearinghouse
Federal Trade Commission
600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington D.C. 20580

or online at http://www.consumer.ftc.gov/topics/privacy-identity.

Protect yourself from auto theft

  • Never leave keys in the vehicle or ignition.
  • Never hide a second set of keys anywhere in your vehicle.
  • Never leave your vehicle running, even in your driveway.
  • Always keep windows up and doors locked even while driving.
  • Try to park in a busy, well-lit area.
  • Remove valuables from your vehicle and place them in the trunk out of view.
  • Copy your license number and vehicle identification number on a piece of paper and keep it with you. If your car is stolen it cannot be entered into the statewide network without this information.
  • Carry your license, insurance card, registration and title in your wallet. Thieves use these documents to impersonate you. If you don't want to carry your registration and insurance cards, copy them and hide the copies in the vehicle.
  • Park with front wheels turned sharply making your car difficult to tow.
  • Install a visible anti-theft device.
  • Alarm stickers may make you feel safe, but they tell a thief what type of system you have.
  • Engrave your driver's license number and state on valuable components in your car, such as stereos and cellular phones.
  • Etch the vehicle identification number onto the vehicle's windows to deter thieves and aid in recovery.