From the desk of Sheriff Prummell-
As Identity Theft Awareness Week officially comes to an end, I want to remind you all that this is an issue that requires your diligence year-round. Identity theft can be difficult to spot until after it has happened, so be sure to check your accounts and credit report regularly.
Identity theft happens in a variety of ways, but it always comes down to the thief using your personal information. Therefore, you have to be very cautious to protect it. Thieves can obtain this information by having access to your wallet or purse, scam websites/phone calls, or even going through your mail (often discarded mail).
I have put together a few tips to help you keep your information secure.
- Keep your wallet or purse secure at all times. Do NOT leave it unattended, especially in an unlocked vehicle overnight.
- Only use secure, trusted websites. Verify the site is secure by looking for “https” in the URL (web address bar). If the site address doesn’t have the “s”, it is NOT a secure site.
- Shred any mail with your personal information on it if possible.
- Utilize “paperless billing” options whenever possible to reduce mail that comes to your home.
- Never share your account passwords. Ever.
- Do not provide personal information over the phone unless you know for certain you are speaking with an official representative of the business. To make sure that is the case, YOU call THEM to conduct your business.
- Monitor your accounts closely. Look for any activity that is out of the ordinary. Scammers will often start with small transactions to see if you notice before moving on to larger amounts.
- Check each bill you receive, but also look for bills you haven’t received. That could be a sign that the address has been changed.
At the end of the day, it is up to us all to be mindful of our situations. Stay safe, stay strong, and call our non-emergency line to report potential scams. (941) 639-0013.
For more information, click here.
If you come across a scam, please report it to the Federal Trade Commission.