Posted by Sharon Schendel on Jun 11, 2018
Detective Mike Sherbondy of the San Diego Police Department Economic Crimes division, visited our club on June 7, 2018 to talk about ways to avoid being the victim of identity theft.  He covered what constitutes identify theft, how personal information is stolen and used and what to do if identity theft strikes you.  In 2016 over 15 million people in the United States were victims of fraud in the 2016, at a cost of over 16 billion dollars.
Identity thieves typically steal personal information in the form of names, social security numbers, birth days, driver’s licenses, PINs and credit/banking account statements.  They use a variety of tactics, from the more complex, such as skimming credit cards, to the simple- stealing mail or wallets/purses. They can then use this information to set up fraudulent accounts, take out loans, or even obtain medical treatment.
Detective Sherbondy outlined several ways to guard against identity theft, including liming the number of credit cards you carry, regularly reviewing credit/bank statements, practicing good password management, and signing up for account alerts. He also recommended shredding pre-approved cred applications, receipts and bills, as well as mailing items from secure mailboxes and avoiding having mail sit in your mailbox.
He ended his presentation with actions to take if you do become a victim of identity theft. First, file a police report and close the affected accounts. Notify credit agencies such as Equifax, Experian and Trans Union. Then, contact all creditors by phone and in writing and keep a log of all your contacts as you deal with the theft and make copies of documents.