Some of the ways criminals use identity theft for financial gain are obtaining credit card accounts, opening utility services, creating counterfeit checks, making ATM withdrawals, obtaining a car or personal loan, obtaining government benefits or student loans, and the list goes on.
Some of the ways you can help reduce or prevent identity theft are to use good consumer knowledge and use only reputable businesses. One way to find if a business is using good practices is refer to the Better Business Bureau web site at BBB.org. You can research local businesses for fraudulent complaints. Second, you should never provide you personal information via the internet unless the site is secure. To verify if a site is secure, you should be able to locate a “padlock” icon in the lower right hand corner of the web page, or located in the right hand corner of the web address bar. Last, and the most important, is to never allow anyone to have or use your credit cards, debit cards or checks. While you may be comfortable with the person using them in a particular instance, it will could possibly leave you liable for any losses after that point should they use them again without your permission. Remember to destroy all discarded mail and bills with your personal and credit information. A shredder is the best means of destroying this type of paperwork.
The Virginia Beach Economic Crimes Unit suggests that if you or any family member is a victim of Identity Theft you should report it in the city for which you call your residence. To further assist the detective in investigating your case, you will need to complete the following when you are ready to file the report with the Virginia Beach Police Department.
Alert the bank regarding the fraud immediately. The banking institution will put you in contact with a fraud investigator assigned to that bank. Normally you will be asked to file a report with your local police agency. The bank will then have you sign an affidavit of facts related to your case and may refund your account for the losses.
If you have further information or wish to report these types of cases please call the Economic Crimes Unit at 385-8101.