Identity Theft involves using someone's personal identifying information, such as their name, address, date of birth, or social security number in order to commit various frauds, including financial account takeovers, opening new bank accounts, purchasing automobiles, applying for loans, credit cards, and social security benefits, renting apartments, and establishing services with utility and telephone companies. Identity theft is defined in Florida State Statute 817.568.

The information contained in this web page provides recommendations by the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office Economic Crimes Unit, Federal law enforcement agencies, and the financial industry to help reduce the likelihood of becoming an identity theft victim. A list of resources and their telephone numbers is also provided.

How to avoid becoming a victim of Identity Theft

- Place outgoing mail in post office collection mailboxes or at your local post office. Do not leave your mail in an unsecured mailbox.

- Never give personal information over the telephone, unless you initiated the call. Release this information only when necessary.

- Shred pre-approved credit applications, credit card receipts, bills, and other financial information before throwing them away.

- Remove extra credit cards and Ids from your wallet, cancel the credit cards that you do not use, and maintain a list of the ones you do.

- Order your credit report from the three credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion) once a year to check for fraudulent activity or other discrepancies.

- Never leave receipts at ATMs, bank counters, trash receptacles, or unattended gas pumps. Keep track of all your paperwork. When you no longer need it, destroy it.

- Memorize your social security number and all your passwords. Do not record them on anything in your wallet or purse.

- Sign all new credit cards upon receipt.

- Save all credit card receipts and match them against your monthly bills.

- Be conscious of normal receipt of routine financial statements. Contact the sender if they are not received in the mail.

- Notify your credit card companies and financial institutions in advance of any change of address or telephone number.

- Never loan your credit cards to anyone else.

- Never put your credit card number or any other financial account numbers on a post card or on the outside of an envelope.

- If you applied for a new credit card and it hasn't arrived in a timely manner, call the bank or credit card company involved.

- Report all lost or stolen credit cards 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.

- Beware of mail or telephone solicitations disguised as promotions offering instant prizes or awards designed solely to obtain your personal information or credit card numbers.

What to do if you become a victim of Identity Theft

- Contact all creditors, by telephone and in writing, to inform them of the problem.

- File a police report with the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office by calling (904) 630-0500.

- Contact the Federal Trade Commission (1-877-IDTHEFT) to report the problem.

- Call each of the three credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion) fraud units to report identity theft. Ask to have a 'Fraud Alert/Victim Impact' statement placed in your credit file asking that creditors call you before opening any new accounts.

- Alert your banks to flag your accounts and contact you to confirm any unusual activity. Request a change of PIN and a new password.

- Keep a log of all your contacts and copies of all your documents.

- Contact the Social Security Administrator's Fraud Hotline (1-800-269-0271).

- Contact the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles to see if another license was issued in your name. If so, request a new license number and fill out the DHSMVs complaint form to begin the fraud investigation process.

Internet Safety
- Use caution when disclosing checking account numbers, credit card numbers, or any other personal identification information at any web site or on-line service unless you receive a secured authentication key from your provider.

- When you subscribe to an on-line service, you may be asked to provide personal identification information. When you enter any interactive service site, beware of con artists who may ask you to 'confirm' your enrollment service by disclosing passwords or the credit card number used to subscribe. Don't give them out!

Who to contact for a copy of your credit report

P.O. Box 105873
Atlanta, GA 30348-5873

Experian Information Solutions
P.O. Box 949
Allen, TX 75013-0949

P.O. Box 390
Springfield, PA 19064-0390

Where to report Identity Theft

Equifax Credit Bureau Fraud Department

Experian Information Solutions

TransUnion Credit Bureau Fraud Department

Federal Trade Commission

Jacksonville Sheriff's Office
(904) 630-0500

To return to the Economic Crimes Home Page click here or for more information,

Contact Us:

Jacksonville Sheriff's Office

Economic Crimes Unit

Police Memorial Building

501 E. Bay Street

Jacksonville, FL 32202

(904) 630-2177