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 | Crime Trends & Prevention
*Identity Theft *Internet/Email Scams  

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Identity Theft

In the course of the day you may write a check at the drugstore, charge tickets to a concert, rent a car, call home on your cell phone, or apply for a credit card. Chances are you don't give these routine transactions a second thought. But others may.  Identity theft is the fastest growing crime in America, affecting half a million new victims each year.


  • Do not give out personal information over the phone, through the mail, or over the Internet unless you have initiated the contact or know with whom you're dealing.
  • Shred all documentation, including preapproved credit applications, insurance forms, bank checks and statements you are discarding, and other financial information.
  • Create hard-to-guess passwords with at least eight characters and that include a mix of numbers and both uppercase and lowercase letters.
  • Pay attention to your billing cycles. Follow up with creditors if bills don't arrive on time. A missing credit card bill could mean an identity thief has taken over your credit account and changed your address.
  • Order your credit report at least twice a year from the three major credit bureaus:  Equifax (, Experian (, and Trans Union ( The Fair Credit Reporting Act allows you to get one free credit report from each of the major credit bureaus once per year. Visit
  • Invest in a locked mailbox for deliveries of mail. Suspects engaged in this crime usually drive around in neighborhoods and look for mail left at door steps or easily accessible items.


For more information, watch the following video:
CitiCABLE 3 - This Week In Torrance #10.08


Additional resources

Federal Trade Commission -

US Dept of Justice -