How to Protect Yourself & What to Do if Victimized
Many of the offenders committing identity theft and forgery are drug abusers. In order to finance their addiction these offenders are stealing mail, dumpster diving behind businesses and breaking into cars, homes and businesses looking for any documents or articles that may contain this information. Your personal information is then being used to apply for credit cards, retail credit or to counterfeit checks with your account number.
It is important to protect your information at all times and ensure that any business that obtains your information in the course of doing business is questioned by you as to how they are going to protect or destroy that information once they have finished with it.
If you find that you have been victimized, refer to the information supplied on this site. Follow the steps outlined and keep a personal file on each incident to aid in clearing up your credit. Included on this site are downloadable forms and tip sheets that you may print and use at your discretion.
If someone has used your personal identifying information, such as your social security number, date of birth and name, to open lines of credit or to obtain services, you will first need to contact all 3 major credit reporting bureaus to place a "Fraud Alert" on your credit report. When you call the following toll-free numbers, this will notify businesses that you may be the victim of fraud. Request a copy of your credit report to review. Contact the following bureaus:
- Equifax Phone:800-525-6285
- Experian Phone: 888-397-3742
- Trans Union Phone: 800-680-7289
Review all of the information on your credit report and determine if the entry is a mistake or fraudulent.
The following information will assist us in investigating your case: a copy of your credit report listing the fraudulent accounts, collection notice or other documents that identify where the crime occurred, etc.
If you feel that you have been the victim of an Identity Theft somehow connected to Essex or Essex Junction Vermont, contact us at 802-878-8331 and request an Identity Theft report. A report may be taken over the phone. To assist you in the correction of your credit and to help ensure that you are not responsible for the debts incurred be the identity thief you will need to download and complete the Identity Theft Victim's Packet (PDF).
If your checkbook has been stolen in Essex or Essex Junction Vermont, call us at 802-878-8331.
If your stolen/lost checks are being used by someone forging your signature, you need to first contact your bank to close your account. You will also need to complete an Affidavit of Forgery at your bank for any forged check that has cleared. In many cases, the forged checks will be handled primarily by your bank. Your bank will credit your account once you complete the Affidavit of Forgery. They may send a copy of your Affidavit, along with the original check, back to the business that accepted the check.
It is now the responsibility of that business to file the police report since they lost either cash or merchandise. Please note that the actual crime occurs where the stolen/forged check was negotiated.
If you are a merchant that has received a forged check that was returned to you from the bank, the Essex Police Department requires that you are able to present the original check, with the Affidavit of Forgery completed by the account holder, as well as identify the employee who completed the transaction with the suspect. For more information please view the Bad Check page for more information on reporting bad checks. Please follow all instructions carefully. Please note that if there is a confirmed forgery in progress, with the suspect still at your location, immediately call 911.
Credit Card Fraud
The Essex Police Department will only take a report if the physical plastic card has been stolen or misused in Essex or Essex Junction, Vermont.
If only the credit card number has been compromised and you still have possession of the plastic card, immediately notify your bank or credit card issuer to cancel the card. You will also need to complete a dispute form for any unauthorized charges. The credit card company may issue you a "temporary credit" and send a "charge-back" to the business that accepted the card number, without seeing the physical card. The business, who now suffers the loss, will need to complete the police report, if they so desire.