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HELP STOP IDENTITY THEFT
Identity Theft - RCW 9.35.020

Find Help Here:
Equifax – 1-800-525-6285
Experian – 1-888-397-3742
Trans Union – 1-800-680-7289
Federal Trade Commission – 1-877-382-4357
To opt out of credit card offers: 1-888–5-OPTOUT

WHAT IS IDENTITY THEFT AND HOW CAN YOU PROTECT YOURSELF?
Identity theft involves a category of crimes; including burglary, auto prowl, theft, mail theft, check fraud, forgery and criminal impersonation. Victims can be devastated by the effects this crime has on their financial well-being. One act can lead to an almost endless series of crimes. Most losses are not monetary, so damage can be difficult to quantify.

The justice system is often overwhelmed with cases, resulting in ineffective punishment when compared with the number of crimes committed.

Unfortunately, Identity Theft is a problem for everyone living, working, doing business or banking in Cowlitz County. There are things you can do and steps you can take to protect yourself. If you have already been victimized there are resources available to help you. Join us in our efforts to Impact Identity Theft.

Shred it Don’t Spread It!

Take care when discarding papers or mail that contains personal information. Any document that has your name, address, social security number or account number can be used by an identity thief. Don’t throw bank or credit card statements in the trash or recycle bin – Shred them. Our motto "Shred it – Don’t Spread It" applies to your identity.

Monitor your Transactions!

Track credit card or debit purchases and check your bank statements monthly.
Report any charges or suspicious transactions immediately to your bank and law enforcement.
Take care when writing checks and giving them to strangers. Do business in cash at flea markets, garage sales or in personal sales transactions.
Be sure store clerks verify your ID – write "check ID" on the back of credit or debit cards, and insist that they verify.
Lock Your Vehicle and Leave Valuables Out of Sight

Don’t leave checkbooks, wallets, purses, cell phones or valuables in plain view or under a seat. Secure them in the trunk or take them with you.
If you leave your car, LOCK IT! Many vehicle prowls are unforced. Many of those involve the theft of access devices left inside.
SAFEGUARD YOUR MAIL!
Call the U.S. Postal Service at 1-800-275-8777 to request vacation hold.

Rent a post office box to receive financial mail. Never have boxes of checks mailed to your street address. Thieves often steal new boxes of checks after postal delivery and before residents return home. Have checks deposited directly when possible.

Never place outgoing mail in an unsecured box. The red flag is a sure signal to thieves that there is valuable information contained inside.

Track your transactions

Resources to
Help Protect Your Identity

Credit Reporting Agencies – Fraud Departments

Equifax – www.equifax.com
To order your report, call: 800-685-1111 or write:
P.O. Box 740241, Atlanta, GA 30374-0241
To report fraud, call: 800-525-6285/ TDD: 800-255-0056 and write: P.O. Box 740241, Atlanta, GA 30374-0241

Experian – www.experian.com
To order your report, call: 888-EXPERIAN (397-3742) or write: P.O. Box 2104, Allen, TX 75013
To report fraud, call: 888-EXPERIAN (397-3742)/ TDD:
800-972-0322 and write: P.O. Box 9532, Allen, TX 75013

TransUnion – www.transunion.com
To order your report, call: 800-916-8800 or write:
P.O. Box 1000, Chester, PA 19022
To report fraud, call: 800-680-7289/ TDD:
877-553-7803 and write: Fraud Victim Assistance Division, P.O. Box 6790, Fullerton, CA 92634-6790

Federal Trade Commission – 1-877-382-4357
To opt out of credit card offers call: 1-888–5-OPTOUT

To opt out of direct mail offers write:
DMA Mail Pref. Service
PO BOX 9008
Farmingdale, NY 11735-9008

INTERNET RESOURCES
The following links are provided as a public service. The Cowlitz County Sheriff's Office cannot take responsibility for the content of other web sites.

Privacy Rights Clearinghouse: http://www.privacyrights.org/

(Excellent source of information, resources and other links to sites. One of principal focuses is on identity theft, with a substantial amount of practical information and advocacy. The Fact Sheets are extremely useful.

Federal Trade Commission (FTC): http://www.consumer.gov/idtheft/

A brief summary of how identify theft may occur with links to information on existing laws and pending legislation.

U.S. Public Interest Research Group (U.S. PIRG): http://pirg.org/consumer/index.htm

Consumer page has links to their May 2000 report on identity theft (Nowhere to Turn: Victims Speak Out on Identity Theft) and to privacy alerts and information on pending legislation and regulations.

Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC): http://www.epic.org/

A privacy advocacy group that deals with privacy issues in general, with emphasis on articles and reports on existing law, proposed regulations and pending legislation. Also provides links to other sites and various resources.

Jason Catlett’s Junkbusters: http://www.junkbusters.com/

An advocate who focuses on unwanted solicitations, whether by mail, telephone, or e-mail and provides information and practical suggestions for getting your name off lists.

Privacy Times published by Evan Hendricks: http://www.privacytimes.com/

Contains articles from Privacy Times on companies or practices that it views as a threat to privacy, as well as summaries of legislative and regulatory developments. The link to "How to Protect Your Privacy" in the upper right hand corner contains some useful tips, as well as links to other sites.


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