Identity theft is an all too common occurrence that needs to be taken seriously by individuals as well as resort owners who are responsible for the identity of employees, vendors and customers. In a recent case by the US Attorney’s Office-Eastern Division, a Delaware man Jean Baptiste Alvarez allegedly improperly obtained the personal identifying information of individuals from a health care facility. It is further alleged that Alvarez then sold and distributed the stolen personal identifying information, including names and SSNs, to be used on tax returns for the purpose of obtaining payment of false claims through the filing of fraudulent tax returns in the names of the stolen identities. Alvarez and others allegedly obtained fraudulent tax refunds by using the stolen names and SSNs of those individuals.
Criminals can get the information needed to assume your identity from a variety of sources including stealing your wallet, rifling through your trash, or by compromising your credit or bank information. They may approach you in person, contact you by telephone, or through the Internet or email and ask you for identifying information.
The sources of information about you are so numerous that you cannot prevent all theft of your identity. However, you can minimize your risk of loss by following a few simple suggestions offered by the FBI.
Tips for Avoiding Identity Theft:
- Never throw away ATM receipts, credit statements, credit cards, or bank statements in a usable form.
- Never give your credit card number over the telephone unless you make the call.
- Reconcile your bank account monthly and notify your bank of discrepancies immediately.
- Keep a list of telephone numbers to call to report the loss or theft of your wallet, credit cards, etc.
- Report unauthorized financial transactions to your bank, credit card company, and to the police as soon as you detect them.
- Review a copy of your credit report at least once each year. Notify the credit bureau in writing of any questionable entries and follow through until they are explained or removed.
- If your identity has been assumed, ask the credit bureau to print a statement to that effect in your credit report.
- If you know of anyone who receives mail from credit card companies or banks in the names of others, report it to local or federal law enforcement authorities.
For more information: (Source FBI)- Identity Theft webpage
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