New online national clearinghouse and research center to help in the fight against fraud. The new website Fraud.org will provide investigators with a high-tech tool to regain the upper hand on behalf of all Florida citizens.
Identity Theft is one of the fastest-growing crimes in America. If you have been a victim of identity theft, please contact our department at 904-270-1667 to file a police report and to complete the Identity Theft Affidavit (PDF).
How Identity Theft Is Committed
- In public places, watching you from a nearby location as you enter your Personal Identification Number (PIN) or credit card number.
- Some criminals will go through your garbage cans or commercial dumpsters to obtain copies of your checks, credit card or bank statements, or other records that may bear your name, address or telephone number.
- Stolen purse or wallet
- If you have received applications for "pre-approved" credit cards, but discard them without destroying the enclosed materials, criminals may retrieve them and attempt to activate the cards for their use without your knowledge.
- They may establish a cellular telephone using your information.
- Criminals may use your name, social security number and date of birth to open a credit card account. When the card is used and the bill is not paid, the delinquent account would be reported on your credit report.
- They may open a bank account in your name and write bad checks on the account.
- Criminals may remove bank statements, credit card statements, pre-approved credit card applications, etc., from your mailbox.
Protecting Your Identity
- Limit the amount of confidential or personal information you carry in your wallet or purse.
- Avoid carrying blank checks and do not have your social security number pre-printed on your checks.
- Consider using only your first initial and last name on your checks.
- Keep backup information about your accounts, in the event your wallet or purse is stolen.
- Never respond to unsolicited requests for your social security number or financial data.
- Shred credit card applications you receive in the mail and do not use.
- Check all credit card and bank statements for accuracy.
- Obtain a copy of your credit report annually and check for accuracy.
- Be observant at automated teller machines (ATMs). "shoulder surfers" could obtain your "PIN" and gain access to your accounts.
- Obtain credit cards and business cards with your picture on them if possible.
- When you are traveling, have your mail held at the local post officer or ask a neighbor you know well and trust to collect and hold your mail while you are gone.
- When you expect a new or replacement credit card in the mail, and it does not arrive, call the card company to inquire if it was sent. Also, confirm no one filed a change of address.
Already a Victim of Identity Theft?
If you have already been the victim of identity theft, take the following measures. In dealing with authorities and financial institutions, keep a log of all conversations, including dates, names, and phone numbers. Confirm conversations in writing. Send correspondence by certified mail - return receipt requested. Keep copies of all correspondence.
- File a report with your local law enforcement agency providing as much documented evidence as possible. Obtain a copy of the report and name and telephone number of the investigator. Provide a copy of the report to creditors and others who require verification of your case.
- Immediately contact the fraud units of the three credit reporting agencies.
- Contact all creditors immediately with whom your name has been used fraudulently by phone and in writing. Obtain replacement cards with new account numbers for those that have been fraudulently used. Ask that old accounts be processed as “account closed at consumer’s request”. Carefully monitor your mail and credit card bills for evidence of new fraudulent activity. Report such activity to credit grantors.
- If your ATM card has been stolen or compromised, obtain a new card, account number, and PIN. Do no use your old PIN. When establishing a new PIN, don’t use common numbers like the last four digits of your social security number or date of birth. Do not write down the PIN number.