Crime Prevention A-Z

Identity Theft

Identity theft occurs when personal information has been compromised and used to commit fraud or theft.  During the course of the day, there are many occasions when checks are written, purchases are made with credit cards, or information is sent and received through the mail. These normal transactions can result in the theft of a person's credit identity.  You can minimize the risk by managing credit information carefully and responsibly. 

Identity can be gained through:

  • Stolen purses, mail, checkbooks, etc.
  • Subscribing to magazines, book clubs, CD/music clubs
  • Entering sweepstakes/contests/drawings
  • Rummaging through garbage for personal information
  • Access to Social Security Number.


  • Never leave checkbook in unoccupied car.
  • Cut up or shred voided checks and unused deposit/withdrawal slips.
  • Have new checks sent to your bank or credit union.

Credit Cards:

  • Keep number of credit cards to a minimum.
  • Cancel unused credit card accounts and cut or shred credit cards.
  • Always ask sales clerk to check your ID and thank those clerks who do.
  • Don't let credit card out of sight - at restaurants, pay at the cashier station.
  • Credit card transactions are not legal if the card is not signed.
  • Destroy all credit card applications by shredding or cutting up.

Remove the opportunity to be victimized by securing your personal information. Do not leave it within easy access for others to find.