Identity Theft

By: Ali Gorman
By: Ali Gorman

The Blackman Township Department of Public Safety is holding two suspects on charges identity theft and attempted fraud. A 51-year-old Jackson man attempted to buy a Cadillac Escalade at the Les Stanford Auto Dealership in Blackman Township.

Police say after employees at the dealership noticed some inconsistencies on the suspect's credit report, they called the local police. The police say the suspect had a flawless driver's license except that it read "restrictions: none" and the picture showed a man in glasses.

Authorities linked the information on the driver's license to a doctor in the Detroit area. They spoke with the doctor and verified this was identity theft. The suspect was then taken into custody.

The second suspect is a 28-year-old man from the Detroit area that had dropped the man off at the car dealership and then was waiting for him in the parking lot of a local mall. Police say they found another application for a new car inside the accomplice's car. They also say two cell phones had been purchased with the same doctor's identity.

Police do not think this was an isolated incident. They say the scam was very organized and there may be more victims and suspects involved. They are warning to protect yourself from identity theft with these reminders:

  • Request a copy of your credit report every year from the three credit bureaus.
  • Always shred personal information before throwing it in the trash.
  • Never give out personal information over the phone unless you know who is using it.
  • Place mail in post office drop boxes instead of leaving in your mailbox for pickup.

    The Blackman Township Police will be continuing this investigation.

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    ID Theft

    • Identity theft is a crime in which the imposter obtains key pieces of information such as Social Security and driver's license numbers to obtain credit, merchandise and services in the name of the victim.

    • The victim is left with a ruined credit history and the time-consuming and complicated task of regaining financial health.

    • It is a dual crime, committed against an individual whose name and good credit history was ruined and against businesses who lost cash and merchandise.

    Prevention Tips

    • Carefully destroy papers you don't need, especially those with sensitive or identifying information. Buy and use a good, cross-cut paper shredder.

    • Guard your Social Security Number. Don't carry your social security card with you. That also includes any cards or badges that may include this number on it. Resist giving it out unless necessary. Don't put SSN on checks.

    • Check all three of your credit reports once a year. This is one of the best ways to find out if someone is using your information without your knowledge. In most cases it will cost about $8 for each report unless you are a victim of financial crime or turned down for a job or credit due to your credit report.

      TransUnion: 800-888-4213 (fraud div.- 800-680-7289)
      Experian: 888-EXPERIAN (fraud div.- 888-397-3742)
      Equifax: 800- 685-1111 (fraud div.- 800-525-6285)

    • Block your name from marketing lists- 888-5OPTOUT. This is cut down on the number of pre-approved credit card offers you receive.

    • Guard your personal information. Carry as little as possible in your wallet. Get credit cards with your picture on them. Be alert to shoulder surfers listening for information. Cancel any credit cards you no longer use. That means contacting the company, not just cutting up the card. Keep confidential information in a locked area.

    • Be suspicious of telephone solicitors. Never give out information unless you have initiated the call. You should never need to give a social security number to a sales clerk.

    • Watch what happens to your credit card when you give it to a clerk. The instances of double skimming are on the rise. Double skimming occurs when the clerk not only charges you for your purchase but also runs your card through a computer scanner. Later this information is downloaded on a counterfeit card and used by imposters.

    • Demand that the businesses you frequent take good care of your information and find out how they protect you from ID theft.

    Source: www.idtheftcenter.org (Identity Theft Resource Center Web site) contributed to this report.


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