Identity Theft

What is identity theft?
Indiana Code 35-43-5-3.5 defines IDENTITY DECEPTION as follows; 
        
     A person who knowingly or intentionally obtains, possesses, transfers, or uses the identifying information of another person without the other person’s consent, and with the intent to:

  • Harm or defraud another person
  • Assume another person's identity
  • Profess to be another person
  • Commits IDENTITY DECEPTION a Class D Felony.

How your identifying information is obtained?

  • They can steal records from businesses or bribe employees of businesses to give them information.
  • They can steal your mail such as bank and credit card statements.
  • They can sift through your trash to locate your identifying information or account numbers.
  • They can pose as a landlord or employer and access your credit report.
  • They may steal your wallet or your purse.
     They may burglarize your residence and use information that they find.

How your identifying information is used?

  • They can call your credit card company and have the mailing address changed. This allows them a longer period of time to "max" out your account before you realize it has occurred.
  • They can open new credit card accounts in your name.
  • They may open new bank accounts in your name and write bad checks.
  • They may counterfeit your current checks and drain your account.
  • They may obtain car loans in your name.
  • They could give police your identifying information if they are arrested. Not show up for the court date causing a warrant be issued for your arrest.
  • They could even obtain a driver's license or passport with your identifying information and their photo.

What to do if you become a victim?

  1. File a report with the Lawrenceburg Police Department. You can file a report 24 hours day by calling (812) 537-2284.
  2. Contact your credit card companies and banks to inform them of the incident and to close affected accounts.
  3. Contact any of the three consumer reporting companies and place a fraud alert on your credit report. The company you call is required by law to contact the other two companies and advise them to also place an alert on your report. The 3 consumer reporting companies are listed to the right.
  4. If several accounts have been affected file a report with the Federal Trade Commission. The commission can provide you with an ID Theft Affidavit. You can complete this form and provide it to the companies where fraudulent accounts have been opened. This will be helpful in disputing the accounts.
  5. Keep organized records in regards to your case. Write down the name of everyone you speak with, what they tell you, and the date of the conversation. Follow up in writing with all contacts you make on the phone or in person. Use certified mail, return receipt requested, so you can document what the company received and when. Keep copies of all correspondence or forms you send.

How to prevent Identity Theft?

  • Place passwords on your credit card, bank, and phone accounts. Avoid using mother's maiden name, your date of birth, your last four digits of your SSN or phone number, or any series of consecutive numbers.
  • Secure personal information in your home in a lock box or safe.
  • Do not give out personal information on the phone, through the mail, or on the internet unless you have initiated the contact or are sure you know who you are dealing with.
  • Deposit outgoing mail in the a post office collection box or at the post office instead of in an unsecured mailbox.
  • Install a mailbox that has a lock at your residence.
  • If going on vacation or are planning on being away for an extended period of time, call the United States Postal Service at (800) 275-8777 for a vacation hold.
  • Tear or shred any documents that have identifying information on them prior to throwing in the trash.
  • Opt-out of receiving unsolicited credit card offers in the mail by calling (888) 567-8688.
  • Do not carry anyone's SSN. Keep them in a secure place.
  • When ordering new checks, pick them up, instead of having them mailed.
  • Before you dispose of a computer, delete all personal information.
  • Obtain free credit reports each year from all three consumer reporting companies. These can be obtained by contacting the Annual Credit Report Service. This information is listed to the right.
  • It is suggested that you obtain a report every four months rotating through the companies.

Investigation of your case.

     If you have filed a report with the Police Department your case will be reviewed and most likely assigned to a detective to investigate. The detective will make every attempt to determine who is responsible of committing the crimes, however we are unable to solve every case. If a detective has been assigned your case they will usually make contact with you within forty eight hours of being assigned the case. They will guide you in the steps you will need to take to repair your credit and will be glad to answer any questions you might have.