Identity theft is the fastest-growing white-collar crime in America today. About 10 million people were victims in 2003. Identity thieves steal key pieces of a victim's identifying information (e.g., Social Security number, driver's license number, or credit card and bank account numbers). This information is then used to commit crimes such as fraudulently withdrawing savings, buying a car or other merchandise, and opening credit accounts or a cell phone plan in a victim's name.
The bad news is that there's no sure way to guarantee that you won't become a victim of identity theft. Increasingly, "insiders" (e.g., disgruntled employees) who have access to financial databases are committing identity theft. Often they sell victims' personal data to street criminals who use it to commit fraud or theft. It can sometimes take months for victims to find out, especially if bills are diverted to a phony address.
Nevertheless, there are precautions that everyone can take to limit identity theft opportunities and/or to spot evidence of identity theft quickly. The North Fond du Lac Police Department will provide education and training on identity theft prevention at no cost to individuals or groups. Interested persons should contact the Village Police Department at 920-929-3760.