Protect your Good Name
Guard against Identity Theft
Cases of identity theft have been reported to the Winnetka Police Department.
Guard your personal information to protect yourself from this crime.
Identity theft is a serious crime. If your identity is stolen and used by
identity thieves, recovering your good name and good credit record could take
years and result in significant financial loss. As with any crime, you cannot
completely control whether you will become a victim, but you can minimize your
risk by managing your personal information cautiously and with greater awareness
of potentially risky situations.
Here are some simple precautions that can help protect you from identity
- Don't give your Social Security Number or credit card numbers out over
the telephone or by e-mail unless you know the caller personally or are confident
that the organization you are dealing with is legitimate. Identity thieves
can be skilled liars and may pose as bank representatives, Internet service
providers, even government agents, so be careful!
- Cancel unused credit cards.
- Limit the number of credit cards and forms of identification you carry.
- Place orders only with secure web sites. (Make sure the web address starts with "https" or look for a small icon that looks like a padlock in the corner of the page.)
- Be careful when you dispose of mail and trash. Destroy copies of credit
card receipts, financial statements, anything that has identifying information
on it, before discarding them. Use a shredder, available from office supply and other stores.
- Check statements from financial institutions - verify account information.
- Never give your Personal Identification Numbers (PIN numbers) to anyone.
- Report unexplained interruptions in mail service to your local post office.
- Order a copy of your credit report once a year from the three credit bureaus.
- If you use Internet banking, make sure you are using the real websites from your bank and credit card companies. Use only the links shown on your bills and statements, not ones provided on unsolicited emails.
- Check all purchases and debits made on your accounts and verify them against receipts.
To order credit reports:
Equifax - www.equifax.com -
Experian - www.experian.com -
TransUnion - www.transunion.com -
Be alert to signs that someone may be fraudulently using your identity.
Indications that this may be occurring include:
- Not receiving bills or other mail, which may be the result of an address
change made by an identity thief;
- Receiving credit cards for which you did not apply;
- Denial of credit for no apparent reason; and
- Receiving calls from debt collectors or companies about merchandise or
services that you didn't order.
If you are a victim of identity theft:
- File a police report as soon as possible and obtain the report number
for future reference.
- Report the identity theft to the three credit bureaus listed above.
- Report fraudulent use of your Social Security Number by calling the social
Security Administration at 1-800-269-0271.
- Contact your financial institutions. Consider obtaining new account numbers
and PIN Numbers and having a code word placed on your accounts.
Identity theft is a crime that can take many forms and affect many areas
of a victim's life. More information about identity theft can be obtained by
contacting the Federal Trade Commission at 1-877-438-4338, or at their Web
Packets for reporting identity theft can be obtained from the Winnetka Police
During their investigation of burglaries, police often find
that basic security measures have not been taken which made it easy for the
burglar to enter the premises. They remind citizens that burglaries occur in
every community and they should not take their homes' security for granted.
How secure is your property?
How good are the locks on your doors and windows? Does your shrubbery hide
doorways or windows? Is
your outdoor lighting adequate to discourage a would-be burglar from targeting
your home? Are you aware of the importance of placing identifying information
on items of value and/or recording their serial numbers in case they are stolen?
An engraving tool can be borrowed from the Winnetka Police Department - Call
847-501-6034. Do you know what precautions to take when you go out
If you aren't sure of the answers to any of these questions, contact the
Winnetka Police at 847-501-6034 and
request a security survey of your residence. There's no charge for this service. Police will conduct free business security surveys, too.
Never let a stranger in!
When a service person comes to your door, ask for identification - and check
it carefully - before you allow him or her to come into your home. While it
may seem unkind, a stranger asking for a drink, to use a bathroom or to make
a telephone call should never be allowed in. Don't let yourself to be diverted
by requests for supplies or assistance made by an unknown person at your door.
This is a tactic frequently employed in order to gain entry into a home.
Be careful when using an Automatic Teller Machine! If you see someone who
looks suspicious standing near an ATM, don't use it! Immediately put away any
money obtained from an ATM.
The police need your help! If you become aware of something that seems unusual
- a stranger lurking about, items being moved out of a house or garage under
unfamiliar circumstances, a stranger asking vague questions, etc. - call the
police and make them aware of your observations.
Many criminals have been apprehended as a result of citizens' reports to
police - it's impossible to know how many crimes have been prevented!