RESIDENTS WARNED OF IDENTITY THEFTS

November 16, 2001 11:00 pm

The Curry County Sheriffs Department and the Brookings Police Department are warning residents about a series of identity thefts happening in the area.

Authorities are aware of at least 20 victims in which the suspects used stolen social security numbers to purchase various items over the phone. Those items included cell phones and computer purchases.

The social security numbers were likely obtained by people asking for it over the phone or by stealing a persons mail.

Any resident who thinks they have been a victim should lodge a report with their local law enforcement agency. The Sheriffs Department is also urging possible victims to do the following:

Obtain a credit report from the following three credit reporting agencies:

Equifax, P.O. Box 105873 Atlanta, GA 30348-5873, (800) 997-2493.

Experian Information Solutions (formerly TRW), P.O. Box 949, Allen, TX 75013-0949, (888) 397-3742.

TransUnion, P.O. Box 390, Springfield, PA 19064-0390, (800) 916-8800.

Once a report is received, a person should check it for mistakes and report any to the credit agency.

A person should contact the bank and explain that he or she may have been a victim. A victim may want to close accounts and open new ones.

A person should contact credit card companies and tell them he or she has been a victim. A person may request that a photo I.D. be presented when a card is used, or terminate the card and get a new one.

A person should contact and file a report with the Federal Trade Commission, which has counselors available to answer questions. A report can be filed at the Web site http://www. 111.fte.gov.

Authorities encourage potential victims to report identity theft immediately because suspects usually steal the information and use it until they get credit rejections.