Identity Theft

Mail & telephone

  • Promptly remove mail from your mailbox upon delivery.
  • Deposit outgoing mail in Post Office collection mailboxes or at your local Post Office. Do not leave mail in unsecured mail receptacles.
  • Never give personal information over the telephone, such as your social security number, date of birth, mother’s maiden name, credit card numbers, or bank PIN number. Protect this information and only release it when absolutely necessary and only to someone with whom you are familiar.
  • Never give information to solicitors who try to obtain your personal information or credit card numbers.

Credit cards & wallets

  • Shred pre-approved credit applications, credit card receipts, bills, and other financial information you don’t want before discarding them in the trash or recycling bin.
  • Empty your wallet of extra credit cards and ID's. Cancel the ones you don't use and maintain a list of the ones you do use.
  • Order your credit report from the three credit bureaus once a year to check for fraudulent activity or other discrepancies.
  • Never leave receipts at bank machines, bank counters, trash receptacles or unattended gas pumps. Keep track of all your paperwork and when you no longer need it, shred it!
  • Memorize your social security number, all PIN numbers, and passwords. Do not record them on any cards or documents carried in your wallet or purse.
  • Sign all new credit cards upon receiving them. Without your signature your card company may not cover any fraudulent charges on your card.
  • Save all credit card receipts and check them against your monthly statement.
  • Notify your credit card companies and financial institutions in advance of any change of address or phone number(s).
  • Never loan your credit cards to anyone.
  • Never record your credit card number or financial account numbers on a postcard or on the outside of an envelope.
  • If you apply for a new credit card and it does not arrive in a timely manner, call the bank or issuing card company and report the delay.
  • Report all lost or stolen credit cards to your card company immediately.
  • Closely monitor expiration dates on your credit cards. Contact the credit card issuer if replacement cards are not received prior to the expiration dates.

Internet & online services

  • Be very careful when disclosing checking account numbers, credit card numbers or other financial data on any website or online service location, unless you receive a secured authentication key from your provider.
  • When you subscribe to an online service, you are commonly requested to supply a credit card number. When you enter any interactive service site be aware of con artists who may ask you to “confirm” your enrollment service by disclosing passwords or credit card numbers used to subscribe.
  • Make sure your anti-virus definitions are up to date on your computer.
  • Install a firewall to help protect your computer from intruders.
  • Beware of e-mails asking you to confirm, or "click here" to confirm your account information. It is always best to visit a site directly rather than clicking on a link provided in an e-mail.
  • Download VPD's Cyber Security and Internet Safety Flyer HERE

What to do if you fall victim:

  • Keep a log of all your contacts and make copies of all documents. Set up a folder to keep a detailed history of this crime.
  • Contact all creditors, by phone and in writing, to inform them of the problem.
  • Notify the U.S. Postal Inspector if someone tampered with or stole your mail.
    U.S. Postal Inspection Service for Ventura: 1-626-405-1200.
  • Contact the Federal Trade Commission (FTC): 1-877-IDTHEFT (438-4338).
    The FTC helps victims by providing information to help resolve financial and other problems that could result from identity theft.
  • Alert your banks to flag your accounts and contact you to confirm any unusual activity. Request a change of your PIN number.
  • If you have checks stolen or bank accounts set up fraudulently, report it to your bank and cancel the account(s). Make sure your bank enters your closed account into Check Systems. If necessary, notify one of the following check verification services of your closed or fraudulent accounts.