Financial, Identity & Online Crimes
This page has information on how you can protect yourself against financial crimes. We will also post new scams & frauds we learn about to better inform you about them.
New Scam Targeting Charter Customers (11/2013)
A new scam is targeting Charter customers. The callers are posing as Charter representatives offering rewards for early payments. However these payments that you make are not going to Charter but rather to the scammers pockets. For more information visit: http://bit.ly/18W0ZmU
“Grandparent”/“Spring Break” Scams Will Return (March 2013)
As we enter spring break weeks, a common re-occurring scam will return. The common scam referred to as the “Grandparent” or “Spring Break” scam is when someone calls a relative, typically a grandparent or elderly relative, and claim that their grandchild needs help. The scammer will usually pretend to be a law enforcement officer from Canada or Mexico and say that they have arrested the grandchild and that they require a money order for their relative to be released. When the person is questioned for details they will usually be very vague. The caller may even pretend to be the grandchild asking for help, but this is less common.
Regardless, if you receive a call like this you should take steps to check if it’s valid. One way is to call other family members to verify that the relative is indeed in another country. You can also ask for the person calling to verify the police department information with call back numbers. You can also check the phone number they are calling from and do an online search to verify that number is associated with a law enforcement agency.
For more information about this scam, visit the US State Department website at: http://travel.state.gov/travel/cis_pa_tw/financial_scams/financial_scams_5608.html.
SNE/Weathershield ID Theft Complaint (02/20/12)
02/20/2012: In 2011 a local business had their system compromised and numerous employees had their personal information stolen. This information is now being used for various reasons to include filing tax documents with their information, causing the victim to be unable to file their taxes. If you are the victim of a crime like this, or any ID theft crime, please contact our office so we can complete a report. Because this matter encompasses numerous jurisdictions we are working with a central investigator on this matter as well as the Federal government. Below you will find some resources that may be of assistance to you.
Brochure: Take Charge: Fighting Back Againist ID Theft (pdf)
Brochure: ID Theft Prevention and Victim Assistance (pdf)
Form: Reporting ID Theft to the IRS (pdf)
Form: 14039: IRS Identity Theft Affadavit (pdf)
Identity theft is the using of another person’s name,Social Security number, driver’s license number, birth certificatie, credit card, address, telephone number or any other form of identifying information to obtain credit, money, goods, services, employment or anything else of value or benefit without that persons consent.
Is It A Problem?
Yes, and a fast growing one at that. Identity theft is the #1 consumer complaint to the FTC with over 255,565 complaints in 2005. 7% of the U.S. adult population has been victimized and there was a 5.1% increase in 2005 in the State of Wisconsin. It totals to a $53,000,000,000 loss to the economy. 61% of victims will not notify police of the crime and the average arrest rate is under 5%.
How Do Thieves (Obtain) Personal Info?
Thieves have many different ways of getting this information including; theft of wallet/purse, “dumpster diving”, inside sources, mail theft, online data, submitting change of address forms, finding personal information while in your home, shoulder surfing/eavesdropping.
How Do Thieves (Use) Personal Info?
Open credit card accounts (26%), starting up phone/utility services (20%), bank fraud/EFT (18%), employment/illegal immigrants (10%), purchase vehicle w/ficticious loan, evade citation/arrest/criminal record, illegal entry into the U.S.
The largest victim age group is 18-29 years of age. There has been a steady rise in theft of the ID of children. Sometimes it could be 6-12 months between the ID theft and the date noticed by the victim. 85% of victims discovered crime when turned down for loan or receive letter/call from a collection agency. The average victim spends 600 hours, $1,400 in out-of-pocket expenses, and nearly $16,000 in lost income to straighten out financial matters.
How To Protect Yourself
The most important thing to remember is to “Manage Your Personal Information Wisely”. When someone is asking you for personal information, determine why they need it and what it will be utilized for. Make sure to pay attention to your billing cycles. Guard your mail from theft if possible, otherwise use the post office for more critical pieces of mail. Avoid using your mother’s maided name, DOB, last 4 digits of SS#, or series of consecutive numbers when assigning passwords. Minimize the number of credit cards you carry (1-888-5-OPTOUT). Make sure to not carry your Social Security # or P.I.N. # in your wallet or purse, don’t give out personal information on the telephone, mail or internet unless you initiated contact or you are sure whom you are speaking with. Make sure to keep personal information in a safe place.
SHRED discarded personal records and documents and verify that your employment records are kept in a secure location. Order copies of your credit report yearly from the each of the credit reproting agencies: www.annualcreditreport.com or call 1-877-322-8228.
What If You Become A Victim?
First off, immediatly report the crime your local law enforcement agency. Contact the fraud department from EACH of the 3 credit reporting bureaus:
Trans Union: 1-800-680-7289
Place a fraud alert and a victim statement asking creditors to contact you. Obtain a free copy of your credit report and review it. Contact creditors for any fraudulent accounts opened or tampered with. Document and keep records of all correspondences.
For more information, visit www.privacy.wi.gov