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What is IDENTITY THEFT Powered By Docstoc
					What is IDENTITY THEFT?

  Identity theft occurs when someone uses your personal information such as, social
security number, credit card number, name, date of birth or drivers license to obtain
merchandise or utilities without your authorization.

     The FTC (Federal Trade Commission) estimates that 10 million
           Americans have their identities stolen each year.

Identity theft takes many forms. This program will outline some of the forms of identity
theft happening in and around the Macungie area.


  It all begins with the misuse of information that personally identifies you. The methods
used by thieves to steal your identity changes as technology advances. Some skilled
thieves use electronic means to get hold of personal information while the less advanced
thief uses more “old-fashioned” ways to get the information.

          Burglary
              o Checkbooks, credit cards and bank information are stolen from your
          Old-Fashioned Stealing
              o Purse snatchings, wallets left in cars, mail not retrieved from the box
          Dumpster Diving
              o Looking through trash for bills, bank statements or other papers with
                  personal information on it
          Skimming
              o A more advanced method to steal credit card numbers by using a
                  special storage device when processing your credit card.
          Phishing
              o Thieves pretend to be financial institutions or major companies and
                  send spam over the computer to gain personal information
          Change of Address
              o They divert billing statements to a different location by completing a
                  change of address form at the Post Office
What Is The Information Used For?

 Once they have your personal information, identity thieves use it in a variety of ways.

          Credit card fraud
              o New credit card accounts are opened in YOUR name. When they use
                   the cards and don’t pay the bills, delinquent accounts appear on YOUR
                   credit report.
              o They may change the billing address on YOUR credit card, run up
                   charges on YOUR account and have the bill sent to a different
                   location. It may be an extended period of time before you realize there
                   is a problem.
          Phone or utilities fraud
              o They may open a new cellular account in YOUR name or run up
                   charges on an existing account.
              o They may use YOUR name for electricity, heating or cable services.
          Bank/finance fraud
              o Counterfeit checks using YOUR account number and name.
              o They may open a bank account in YOUR name and write bad checks
              o They may clone YOUR ATM or debit card and withdraw money from
                   YOUR account.
              o They may take out a loan in YOUR name.
          Government documents fraud
              o They may get a driver’s license in YOUR name with their picture
              o They may file fraudulent tax returns in YOUR name
              o They may get a job in YOUR name
              o They may give YOUR personal information if arrested. Failing to
                   appear in court could result in a warrant being issued in YOUR name.

What to Do If You Suspect IDENTITY THEFT

  Identify the theft on your credit card statements or bills. Obtain as much information
about the theft for agencies you plan to contact. Call your creditors, bank or other
businesses involved to dispute the transactions. Contact the three major reporting
agencies (Trans Union, Equifax and Experian) to put a fraud alert on your credit report.
Complete the ID THEFT complaint form on the Federal Trade Commission website (a
copy of the complaint form is attached). Contact the police department with the
information you have included on the complaint form.

  AWARENESS! This is a valuable tool to have in the identity theft battle. By knowing
what thieves are looking for, you can take steps to prevent this from happening to you.
Thieves are changing their strategies and using more technical means to steal
information. Arm yourself with knowledge, protect your identity and educate your
friends and family members.


ATM Skimmers

ATM card skimmers have been recovered in the Allentown/Whitehall area. These high-
tech devices are placed on ATM machines and collect your ATM card information. When
used with a small camera a thief can obtain your PIN (personal identification number)
and make unauthorized purchases with your information.

  The skimmer is placed over the card slot and appears as part of the machine. It is
actually the device that captures your card information. If you suspect a skimmer is on
the ATM machine, call police.

Lottery Scams

  Lottery scams are increasing in the area. Thieves mail a letter to your address indicating
you are the winner of a foreign lottery. Included in the letter is a “good faith” check that
is COUNTERFEIT which you are instructed to deposit in your account. The conditions
of collecting the winnings are detailed in the letter and ALWAYS require you to transfer
a small portion of the check to a specified location using Western Union Money Grams.
You are “rewarded” by keeping the remainder of the check for your time, effort and legal

  The thief is almost never caught in this type of scam because the recipient of the letter
does not know the checks are counterfeit until the bank processes the check. You are
notified of the counterfeit check and now you are scammed out of the portion you
transferred to the suspect. The thief has their money and is long gone from the pick up
                This is an example of a lottery scam letter;

Your name
attached to a form
you did not                                                     “second
complete??                                                      category”??

                                                                “keep this
                                                                award from
“ your confirmed
home address”.                                                  public notice”??
This was a form
you allegedly
completed!                                                     “immediately”
                                                               because a delay
                                                               will give you
                                                               time to
Telemarketing Scams

  Telemarketing scams work over the phone. Some callers will attempt to talk you into
revealing your personal information by “verifying” who you are before they continue the
conversation. They may offer refinancing your home through their business. They will
make you an offer you can’t refuse with a low interest rate. When you entertain these
scammers, they will get your name address, bank information, social security number and
date of birth. All the information they need to open new accounts.

  Some telephone scammers will try a more threatening approach such as using a judicial
entity to scare you. They may say they are from the local courthouse calling about your
failure to report for jury duty and a warrant for your arrest has been issued. They will ask
you to verify your social security number to verify who you are. Hang up and call the
local courthouse to verify this information.

  In almost all telemarketing scams the name and telephone numbers WILL NOT appear
on phones with caller id. You will see unknown number or unknown name in the caller id
on the phone. The reason for this is to conceal their identity so they can steal yours.

  Some telephone companies have options available to block calls that don’t have the
number displayed on caller id. Check with your telephone service provider and ask if this
option is available. When activated the incoming number must be displayed or the caller
receives a message indicating the person they are trying to reach refuses to accept calls
with blocked numbers. Some numbers displayed as 000-000-0000 or 123-456-7890 will
bypass the blocked call option. If this is the case, attempt to obtain a call back number
and verify the number before providing information.

Electronic Scams

  Electronic scams are done through email and computer servers. The email scam can
appear legitimate and may include company logos in the body of the email. You are
requested to verify your account information and personal information by clicking on “a
link” which will redirect you to a different website. Once you insert your personal
information and transmit it you WILL become a victim of identity theft.

  Other electronic scams can include online auctions. Websites such as eBay, advertise
that they will NEVER ask you to verify your account information. Be cautious of these
emails. If you receive these emails, notify the company or report it to your email provider
as junk or a phishing attempt.
  If using online auctions be wary of buyers or sellers outside the United States. Several
complaints have been filed in the area because money was delivered and the purchased
item was not delivered.

  Some police agencies are reporting death threat emails. These emails are from unknown
senders who claim they have information about a “hit or contract” that has been put on
your life. They go on to say that you can prevent the assassination from happening by
sending money to a western union account and in return you will spare your life and
receive information about who it was that hired the hit man. Contact the police if you
receive emails of this content.

  This email scam is a hoax as verified by the FBI (Federal Bureau of Investigation). It is
unknown at this time if any victims have been financially scammed by this type of

Western Union Money Grams

  Western Union money transfer service is a legitimate service and provides a reliable
way to send money to a different location immediately. Unfortunately, criminals have
taken advantage of this easy way to collect money from their scams.

  When you send money you are given a tracking number or account number. The
scammer will tell you the name of a person who will receive the money transfer, where to
send the money and what time to send the money. When they know the money is sent
they will go to the receiving location and give the tracking number or account number.
The unsuspecting agents of Western Union will release the money and the scammer is

  Western Union advertises fraud alerts on their website. A fraud warning provides the
following tips; don’t send money to someone you don’t know, don’t send money to claim
a lottery or prize winnings, don’t send money based on a promise to receive a large
amount of money.

  As with any other scam outlined in this packet, ASK QUESTIONS! This is your money
and you should be positive you know where it is going.
Some Basic Tips

  There are several ways we can protect our identity. Some basic tips can reduce the low
level thief from obtaining information.

          Shred information before putting it in the trash.
          Never keep bank information in your vehicle
          Try to find a different location to store personal information. Heavy safes or
           safe deposit boxes greatly reduce theft
          Check your credit report frequently
          Always verify your information by contacting the requestor. Never verify
           information over the phone unless you call them
          Ask questions before providing information
          If you didn’t play the lottery, you most likely didn’t win
          If you are not selling items on eBay, you shouldn’t have a question from a
          If it sounds too good to be true, it is probably bogus
          If the caller hides his/her identity, it’s because they don’t want you to know
           who they are
          If in doubt, call the bank
          Write “ASK FOR ID” or “PHOTO ID REQUIRED” on the signature line of
           your credit cards
          Only place the last 4 account numbers on a check if paying bills through the
          Photocopy the front and back of all credit cards in your wallet and secure
           them in a safe place, this will give you quick reference of what you are
          AWARENESS pays!

Contact Numbers

Experian (formerly TRW) 1-888-397-3742              Trans Union 1-800-680-7289

Equifax 1-888-766-0008                              Western Union 1-800-325-6000

Federal Trade Commission 1-877-ID-THEFT (1-877-438-4338)

Macungie Police Department 610-966-2222
Filing a Complaint

  The following pages contain a copy of the Federal Trade Commission complaint form.
This is only a copy of the information needed to begin the investigation. The complaint
form is available online at and when completed, and submitted, it can be
printed out for your records.

   If the internet is not available this form can be completed and retained for your records.
It is recommended that you have ALL this information completed before filing a police

 Please note that this is a copy of the FTC
complaint form. Some of the fields are drop-down
boxes that only display specific information when
completing the form online.
FTC Complaint Input Form

If you believe you have been the victim of identity theft, you may use the form below to
send a complaint to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). The information you provide
is up to you. However, if you don't provide your name or other information, it may be
impossible for us to refer, respond to, or investigate your complaint or request. To learn
how we use the information you provide, please read our Privacy Policy.

The FTC serves as the federal clearinghouse for complaints by victims of identity theft.
While the FTC does not resolve individual consumer problems, your complaint helps us
investigate fraud, and can lead to law enforcement action. The FTC enters Internet,
telemarketing, identity theft and other fraud-related complaints into Consumer Sentinel®,
a secure, online database available to hundreds of civil and criminal law enforcement
agencies worldwide.

We use secure socket layer (SSL) encryption to protect the transmission of the
information you submit to us when you use our secure online forms. The information you
provide to us is stored securely.

If you want to file a complaint with the FTC about a problem other than identity theft,
please use the Federal Trade Commission online complaint form.

Printing This Complaint
After you have completed this online complaint form and have submitted the information
to the FTC, you will have the opportunity to print out a completed ID Theft Complaint
form that contains most of the information you filed in your complaint (very sensitive
information, such as Social Security Numbers and Account Numbers, will not print). The
printed ID Theft Complaint will be reformatted so that it can be used to support your
local police report. Instructions on how to complete this online complaint form and
information on how to use the printed ID Theft Complaint can be found online.

How Do We Reach You?

First Name:
Middle Name:
Last Name:
Street Address:
Apt. or Suite No.:
Lived at this address since:
Home                                       Work
              (      )                                           Ext.
Phone:                                     Phone:
              (Area Code)(Phone                     (Area Code)(Phone
              Number)                               Number)(Extension)
Cell Phone:
              (      )
              (Area Code)(Phone
Social Security
                               -   -
Date Of Birth:
Drivers License State:
Drivers License
Email Address:

Complete if different from above when the events took place:

First Name:
Middle Name:
Last Name:
Street Address:
Apt. or Suite No.:
Lived at this address from:
                                      (MM/YY) until:          (MM/YY)

Tell Us About Your Problem

1. Types of Identity Theft You Have Experienced.

ID Theft occurs when someone uses your name or other identifying information for
their personal gain. Please check the types of ID theft you were a victim of. (Check
as many as apply)

    Credit Cards                               Securities or Other Investments
    Checking or Savings Accounts               Internet or E-Mail
    Loans                                      Government Documents or Benefits
    Phone or Utilities                         Other
Did suspect use the Internet to open the account or purchase the
goods or services?

2. Summary of Complaint

Please give us information about the identity theft, including, but not limited to, how
the theft occurred, who may be responsible for the theft, and what actions you have
taken since the theft. Please briefly describe problems you have had with companies
where fraudulent accounts were established or your current accounts were affected.
Please limit your summary to 2000 characters.

(e.g., Social Security number, date of birth, financial account or credit/debit card
numbers, driver's license number, detailed health or medical history, or similarly
sensitive information)


3. Details of the Identity Theft.
Did you authorize anyone to use your name or personal information to obtain the
money, credit, loans, goods, or services, or for other purposes?      Yes         No

Did you receive any benefit, money, goods, or services as a result of the events
described?      Yes     No

(Check one, if applicable) Your personal information or identification documents
(for example, credit cards, birth certificate; driver's license; Social Security card;
etc.) were:    stolen     lost on or about            (MM/DD/YYYY)

(Check one) Are you    willing    not willing to assist in the prosecution of the
person(s) who committed this fraud?

Do you know who used your information or identification documents to conduct
financial transactions, cash checks, make withdrawals, or to obtain money, goods,
or services without your knowledge or authorization as described?           Yes        No
When did you notice that you
might be a victim of identity
When did the identity theft
first occur? (i.e., when was
the first account opened?)
How many accounts (credit
cards, loans, bank accounts,
cellular phone accounts, etc.)
were opened or accessed?
How much money, if any,
have you had to pay?           (Numbers Only)
How much money, if any, did
the identity thief obtain from (Numbers Only)
companies in your name?
How did the thief obtain the
personal information?

What other problems, if any, have you experienced as a result of the identity theft?
(Click on the down arrow. To select more than one, hold down the CTRL key while
clicking your selection)
 No Other Harm Suffered
 Civil Suit Filed or Judgement Entered Against You
 Criminal Investigation, Arrest or Conviction
 Denied Credit or Other Financial Services
 Denied Employment or Loss of Job

4. The Identity Thief.

Please provide any information you may have about the identity thief, including his or
her name, and any addresses or phone numbers the identity thief may have used.
First Name:
Middle Name:
Last Name:
Street Address:
Apt. or Suite No.:
Phone Number:
                                                     (     )        (Area Code)(Phone Number)
Email Address:
Date Of Birth:
Additional information about this
suspect (240 characters):
Your relationship to the identity

5. Contacts.

Please indicate which of the following steps, if any, you have already taken to deal with
the identity theft.
For which of the following credit bureaus, have you: (check all that apply)
Called to report the
                            Equifax       Experian         Trans          Other       None
Put a "fraud alert"
                            Equifax       Experian         Trans          Other       None
on your report?:
Ordered your credit
                           Equifax       Experian      Trans           Other      None
Problem with Credit
                           Equifax       Experian      Trans           Other
Inaccurate Information on Credit Report
Personal information (Name, SSN, DOB, etc.):

Companies that requested your credit report without your knowledge:
Company Name:
Company Name:
Company Name:
Have you contacted the police?
If yes, please provide police
department name:
Department State:
Report Number?
If yes, please provide report number:

6. Companies

Please identify companies or organizations where fraudulent accounts were established or
your current accounts were affected. Please provide as much specific information about
the fraudulent account or activity as possible.

Company 1

Company Name:
Type of Account:
New Account?
Date Issued or Misused:
Amount Thief Obtained ($):
                                         (Numbers Only)
Credit Limit ($):
                                         (Numbers Only)
Contact Person:
Contact Phone:
                                         (Area Code)(Phone Number)(Extension)
Have you notified this company?
Have you sent written notifications to
this company?

Company 2

Company Name:
Type of Account:
New Account?
Date Issued or Misused:
Amount Thief Obtained ($):
                                         (Numbers Only)
Credit Limit ($):
                                         (Numbers Only)
Contact Person:
Contact Phone:
                                         (Area Code)(Phone Number)(Extension)
Have you notified this company?
Have you sent written notifications to
this company?

Company 3

Company Name:
Type of Account:
New Account?
Date Issued or Misused:
Amount Thief Obtained ($):
                                         (Numbers Only)
Credit Limit ($):
                                         (Numbers Only)
Contact Person:
Contact Phone:
                                         (Area Code)(Phone Number)(Extension)
Have you notified this company?
Have you sent written notifications to
this company?

7. Documentation

Please indicate the supporting documentation you can provide to the law
enforcement department or companies you notify. (Check either or both)
    Government-issued identification information:

    Proof of residency during the time the event took place (for example, a
rental/lease agreement in your name, a copy of a utility bill or a copy of an
insurance bill)

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