Internet Safety & Identity Theft Prevention

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Internet Safety_coverSafeguard yourself against the internet and online relationships involving personal risk or criminal activity.

Internet Safety Tips:

  • Consumers need to remember that even though something is on the internet, it may not be legitimate -- no matter how impressive or professional the website may appear.
  • Do not provide ANY personal/financial information, account passwords, PIN numbers, etc. to anyone online or over the phone unless you can verify the legitimacy of the request.
  • Be especially careful about communications with strangers. Do not respond to unsolicited e-mails, IMs, text messages, or phone calls from sources that are unknown to you.
  • Keep your operating system, anti-virus software, and anti-spyware and firewall software up to date.
  • If you are planning on getting together with a potential buyer or seller, get a phone number, tell a family member or friend where you will be meeting, and/or let them tag along.
  • If you have scheduled a home delivery or pick up, ask someone to be there with you. If they were not invited or scheduled to make a call, do not open your front door, and never let them in to your home.

Online-dating Service and Chat Room Safety Tips:

The internet is an efficient way to distribute and gather information globally, but can involve risk of online scams and other related criminal activity. You can minimize your risk if you follow a few basic safeguards.Online dating involves risk both online and ultimately, in person. Follow our safety tips for navigating these new relationships. Be aware and stay safe in your contact with strangers whether in person or online.

  • Find a reputable online dating service.
  • Choose a non-identifiable screen name.
  • When you are ready to chat outside of the dating site, use a separate e-mail and IM account for online communications.
  • When you do meet, do it in a very public place, preferably with a friend or family member. If you go alone, make sure someone knows where you are meeting.
  • Save copies of your online dating conversations.

Identity Theft Prevention Tips: 

Identity Theft_cover

  • 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.

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. 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

Russian Internet Safety Brochure