Identity Theft & Fraud Schemes

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Identity Theft_coverDon’t let thieves trash your name. Find out what thieves do. Find out what you can do to stop them! 

What You Can Do:
  • Consider replacing your current mailbox with one that has a lock, and never leave outgoing mail sitting in a non-secure mailbox.
  • Shred all papers with your personal information and credit card information.
  • Shred all credit card applications and old credit cards. You can opt-out of pre-approved credit offers by calling 888-5-OPT-OUT.
  • Carry with you only ID and credit cards that you need. 
  • Keep all other credit cards and your social security card at home, in a secure place or in a lockbox at your bank.
  • Consider placing a “security freeze” on your credit file that restricts creditors from granting credit without calling you to remove the freeze.
  • Do not give personal information over the telephone, through the mail or over the internet, unless you are the one who has initiated the contact.
  • Review your bank statement monthly.
  • Review your credit report twice a year.
To order your report online or by phone, call or visit the web sites of the three major credit bureaus:

Equifax:  www.equifax.com or (800) 685-1111
Experian:  www.experian.com or (888) 397-3742
TransUnion:  www.transunion.com or (800) 493-2392

If You Are a Victim:

  • Immediately call all credit card issuers and let them know you have been a victim of identity theft.
  • Immediately report identity theft to your local law enforcement agency.
  • Once you have a crime report filed, contact the major credit reporting agencies and place a 90-day security alert or permanent freeze of your credit report.
What Thieves Do:

  • Steal personal information from your trash.
  • Steal personal information from your mailbox and apply for new credit cards in your name.
  • Steal discarded applications for pre-approved credit cards and fill them out.
  • Steal your wallet or purse to obtain social security numbers and credit card numbers.
  • “Phish” by sending a legitimate looking e-mail that directs you to a phony website that looks legitimate and asks for your personal and financial data.

Fraud Schemes

While many people are struggling to make ends meet in these tough economic times, some people are responding with criminal schemes that take advantage of others. Many law enforcement agencies report an increase in the number of reported scams and fraudulent schemes. The timing of this increase seems to correspond to our nation's deepening economic struggles. 

The Federal Bureau of Investigation has two website features that offer tips on ways to ways to both identify and avoid scams. You can find the FBI's tips on fraud schemes at:

We strongly encourage you to look over the tips offered by the FBI and share them with people you know who might be the targets of scam artists. More than anything, caution is advised when offered any new product, service, prize, or deal. Sadly, our difficult economic times seem to have encouraged these criminals.

For more information:

City of West Hollywood Public Safety Department: (323) 848-6414  TTY (323) 848-6496
West Hollywood Sheriff’s Station: (310) 855-8850

Other helpful phone numbers:
Social Security Administration Hotline: (800) 269-0271
Federal Trade Commission: (877) Idtheft (438-4338) 

Russian Identity Theft Brochure