Madison County Sheriff Robert J. Hertz wants to educate the public to prevent them from falling victim to identity theft or scams.
Suspects in these types of scams often target senior citizens and the list below includes tips to safeguard your finances and identity:
- Do not believe the promise of large sums of money for your cooperation.
- Guard your credit card and bank account information carefully.
- Never throw away ATM receipts, credit statements, credit cards, or bank statements in a usable form.
- Never give your credit card number over the telephone unless you make the call.
- Reconcile your bank account monthly and notify your bank of discrepancies immediately.
- Keep a list of telephone numbers to call to report the loss or theft of your wallet, credit cards, etc.
- Report unauthorized financial transactions to your bank, credit card company and the police as soon as you detect them.
- Review a copy of your credit report at least once each year. Notify the credit bureau in writing of any questionable entries and follow through until they are explained or removed.
- If your identity has been assumed, ask the credit bureau to print a statement to that effect in your credit report.
- If you know of anyone who receives mail from credit card companies or banks in the names of others, report it to local or federal law enforcement authorities.
- Know who you are dealing with. If you have not heard of a person or company that you intend to do business with, learn more about them. Depending on the amount of money that you intend to spend, you may want to visit the business location, check with the Better Business Bureau, or consult with your bank, an attorney, or the police.
- Never provide credit card information or send money orders to an unknown source who reports a family member is jailed in a foreign country and needs money to be released. Consult with family members prior to giving any information to the caller.
- Do not respond to letters that promise thousands of dollars in return for a payment of a few hundred dollars. Often these letters indicate a payment is needed for tax purposes or processing fees. If you have truly won something it will not cost you anything.
Contact the Madison County Sheriff’s Office, or your local police department, if you suspect you have been a target or victim of identity theft or a scam.