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Safety Tips

Identity Theft Information

This guide is intended to provide victims of identity theft with the major resources to contact. Unfortunately, at this time victims themselves are burdened with resolving the problem. You must act quickly and assertively to minimize the damage.

In dealing with the authorities and financial institutions, keep a log of all conversations, including dates, names, and phone numbers. note time spent and expenses incurred in case you are able to seed restitution in a later judgment or conviction against the thief, or if you itemize tax deductions for theft-related expenses (consult your accountant). Confirm conversations in writing. Send correspondence by certified mail, return receipt requested. Keep copies of all letters and documents.


Credit Bureaus

Immediately report the situation to the fraud units of the three credit reporting companies - Experian (formerly TRW) 1-888-397-3742, Equifax 1-800-685-6285, and TransUnion 1-800-680-7289. As of April 2003, if you notify one bureau that you are a victim of identity theft, it will notify the other two. report that your identifying information is being used by another person to obtain credit fraudulently in your name. Ask that your file be flagged with a fraud alert.


Creditors - New Accounts

Contact all creditors immediately with whom your name has been used fraudulently, by phone and in writing. You will see evidence of these accounts on your email credit reports. Creditors will likely ask you to fill out fraud affidavits. No law requires affidavits to be notarized at your won expense. You may choose to substitute witness signatures for notarization if creditors require verification of your signature.


Creditors - Existing Accounts

If your existing credit accounts have been used fraudulently, get replacement cards with new account numbers. Ask that old accounts be processed as "Account closed at consumer's request" (better than "card lost or stolen" because it can be interpreted as blaming you). Monitor your mail and bills for evidence of new fraudulent activity. Report it immediately to creditor grantors. Add passwords to all accounts. This should not be your mother's maiden name or a word that is easily guessed.


Law Enforcement

Report the crime to your local police or sheriff's department. You might also need to report it to police departments where the crime occurred. Give them as much documented evidence as possible. Make sure the police report lists the fraud accounts. get a copy of the report. Keep the phone number of your investigator handy and give it to creditors and others who require verification of your case. Credit card companies and banks may require you to show the report in order to verify the crime. Also report the crime to the Federal Trade Commission.

Rapides Parish Sheriff's Office

(Alexandria) (318) 473-6700
(Pineville) (318) 640-1696
(Glenmora) (318) 748-4226

Alexandria Police Department

(318) 449-5099

Pineville Police Department

(318) 442-6603


Debt Collectors

If debt collectors attempt to require you to pay the unpaid bills on fraudulent credit accounts, ask for the name of the company, the name of the person contacting you, phone number, and address. Tell the collector that you are a victim of fraud and are not responsible for the account. Ask the collector for the name and contact information for the referring credit issuer, the amount of the debt, account number, and the dates of the charges. Ask if they need you to complete their fraud affidavit form or if you can use the Federal Trade Commission form. Follow up in writing to the debt collector explaining your situation. Ask that they confirm in writing that you do not owe the debt and that the account has been closed.


Stolen Checks

If you have had checks stolen or bank accounts set up fraudulently, report it to the appropriate check verification companies. Your bank branch should be able to provide you with a fraud affidavit. Put stop payments on any outstanding checks that you are unsure of. Cancel your checking and savings accounts and obtain new account numbers. Give the bank a secret password for your account (not your mother's maiden name). If your own checks are rejected at stores where you shop, contact the check verification company that the merchant uses.


ATM Cards

If your ATM or debit card has been stolen or compromised, report it immediately. Contact your bank branch who requires a fraud affidavit. Get a new card, account number and password, do not use common numbers like the last four digits of your Social Security Number (SSN), or your birth date. Monitor your account statement. you may be liable if fraud is not reported quickly. Be sure to read the debit card contract for liability. Some cards are better protected in cases of fraud than others.


Fraudulent Change of Address

Notify the local Postal Inspector if you suspect an identity thief has filed a change of your address with the post office or has used the mail to commit fraud. (Call the U.S. Post Office to obtain the phone number, 1-800-275-8777.) Find out where the fraudulent credit cards were sent. Notify the local Postmaster for that address to forward all mail in your name to your own address. You may also need to talk with the mail carrier.


Social Security Number (SSN) Misuse

Contact the Social Security Administration (SSA) to report fraudulent use of your SSN such as welfare or Social Security benefit fraud. They do not handle cases of financial or criminal identity theft. As a last resort, you might try to change your number, although we do not recommend it except for very serious cases. The SSA will only change the number if you fit their fraud victim criteria.


Passports

Whether you have a passport or not, write the passport office to alert them to anyone ordering a passport fraudulently.


Phone Service

Provide a password which must be used any time your local, cell, and long distance accounts are changed. If you calling card has been stolen or there are fraudulent charges, cancel it and open a new account.


Driver's License Number Misuse

You may need to change your driver's license number if someone is using yours as ID on bad checks or for other types of fraud. call the state office of the Department of Motor Vehicle (DMV) to see if another license was issued in your name. Put a fraud alert on your license if your state's DMV provides a fraud alert process. Go to your local DMV to request a new number. Fill out the DMV's complaint forma to begin the investigation process. Send supporting documents with the completed form to the nearest DMV investigation office.


Victim Statements

If the imposter is apprehended by law enforcement and stands trial, write a victim impact letter tot he judge handling the case. Contact the victim-witness assistance program in your area for further information on how to make your voice heard in the legal proceedings.


False Civil and Criminal Judgments

Sometimes victims of identity theft are wrongfully accused of crimes committed by the imposter. If a civil judgment is entered in your name for your imposter's actions, contact the court where the judgment was entered and report that you are a victim of identity theft. If you are wrongfully arrested or prosecuted for criminal charges, contact the police department and the court in the jurisdiction of the arrest. Also contact the state Department of Justice and the FBI. Ask how to clear your name.

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SCAMS

 

JURY DUTY SCAM - Local citizens are being targeted by phone calls threatening them with arrest and prosecution for failing to comply with jury service in federal or state courts.  In the calls, recipients are pressured to bring a "fine payment" for missing jury duty to the Federal Courthouse in Alexandria. Then the victim receives a phone call to "expedite the process" to put the money on a GREEN DOT VISA CARD.  REMEMBER, the Rapides Parish Sheriff's Office or any other law enforcement agency will NEVER attempt to collect ANY monies and instruct the person to get a GREEN DOT VISA CARD.  

Federal courts do not require anyone to provide any sensitive information in a telephone call or email. Most contact between a federal court and a prospective juror will be through the U.S. mail, and any phone contact by real court officials will not include requests for Social Security numbers, credit card numbers, or any other sensitive information.

 IRS SCAM – Usually occurs around tax time from January until June.  Scammers will call to demand immediate payment or face jail time.  THe IRS will NEVER call about taxes owed without first having mailed you a bill.  The IRS WILL NEVER demand that you pay taxes without giving you the opportunity to question or appeal the amount they say you owe.  The IRS WILL NEVER require you to use a specific payment method for your taxes, such as a prepaid debit card or ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone.  The criminal scammers will threaten to bring in local police or other law-enforcement groups to have you arrested for not paying.  Remember, the IRS does not use email, text messages or any social media to discuss your personal tax issue involving bills or refunds.   

SOCAIL SECURITY SCAM - Someone calls to verify someone is using your SSN and benefits may be interrupted if it not resolved.  They will attempt to obtain personal information.  They are the government-they have your information.   

DEA EXTORTION SCAM-We have received several complaints over the last few days in reference to the DRUG ENFOREMENT ADMINISTRATION SCAM CALLS.  Right now, there is a high concentration of calls being placed in our area.  More than likely, these criminals think citizens have access to tax refunds and are starting early.  These calls are from someone identifying himself as AGENT GONZALES from the SPOKANE FIELD OFFICE of the DEA.  The phone number he gives to call back is actually the phone number of the Spokane Field Office, 509-353-2946.  He goes on to say that the intended victim has warrants for their arrest for INTERNATIONAL DRUG TRAFFICING over the internet.  This scammer even gets a “federal prosecutor” on the phone and they come to an agreement with the intended victim to “just pay the fine or we will send agents to arrest you.”  Please remember the following about ANYONE calling and identifying themselves as a member of a government organization: 

  • Never give ANY personal information over the phone.  Banks, credit cards and the government have your information.  If they ask for verification, hang up.

  • Law enforcement, local or federal, will never call you and threaten to arrest you and then give you a chance to pay a fine.

  • Be very careful when purchasing pharmaceuticals on line.  Only purchase from a reputable company.  You can call your insurance provider and they can guide you on this.

 

MICROSOFT SCAM - A person using the name "George" calls you and tells you he is with Microsoft 35 Technical Support and they have been notified of a virus that has infected your computer.  He will want information on you and your computer and what he is actually doing is remotely accessing your computer, planting a virus which will disable your computer.  He will then want a fee, via debit card, to fix the problem.  Of course, this is a SCAM.  No one will call you to let you know your computer has a virus.  You should never pay anyone over the phone of which you don't already have some sort of financial relationship with.   

 FROM MICROSOFT - “Don’t be fooled, Microsoft is not cold calling consumers in regards to malfunctioning PCs, viruses or any other matter.”

 

FBI SCAM - You get a pop up on your computer that it has been locked by the FBI for “Questionable internet searches”.  They will not go into detail but they allude to the searches being pornographic in nature and you have been caught in a child pornography sting.  If you pay the fine they will unlock your computer and clear your record because they know it was a first offense.  

 

PUBLISHERS CLEARING HOUSE SCAM - Same old story, you have won but you must pay a processing fee / taxes / transportation fee, etc. 

 1. If you’re required to wire or pay any amount of money in order to claim a prize, it’s a Publishers Clearing House Scam. PCH sweepstakes are ALWAYS FREE to enter, and there is never any fee associated with winning.

 2. If you’re asked to load up a Green Dot MoneyPak  or other money transfer card, in exchange for claiming your prize, it’s a Scam. Again, PCH will NEVER ask you to pay a cent to collect a prize.

  3. If someone tries to contact you in advance regarding a prize delivery, it’s a Publishers Clearing House Scam! After all, that would ruin the surprise! For decades, our Prize Patrol has captured the elated reactions of surprised winners and used them in our nationally-televised commercials. You’ll know you’re a big PCH winner if you see the Prize Patrol at your front door holding a “Big Check” with your name on it!

  4. If someone calls you on the telephone claiming to be from Publishers Clearing House and says you have won, it’s a Publishers Clearing House Scam. Do NOT give them any personal information!  As stated above, the Prize Patrol awards all our Big Prizes in person and would never call you to update any personal information in our files.

  5. If someone claiming to be from Publishers Clearing House tries to send you a friend request on Facebook, it’s a Publishers Clearing House Scam. Even if they are using the name and photo of a prominent PCH employee ― DO NOT believe them. Our PCH employees and official PCH Prize Patrol Fan pages will never private message you on Facebook.

 IF IT SOUNDS TO GOOD TO BE TRUE OR YOU FEEL LIKE YOU ARE BEING INTIMADATED WITH A KNOCK ON YOUR DOOR FROM LAW ENFORCEMENT, IT IS A SCAM.

 If you have been a victim of a scam, call your local law enforcement agency.  REFUSE TO BE A VICTIM and protect yourself against scammers.

 

 

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