Identity Theft Prevention

Vancouver Police Department
What is Identity theft?

Identity theft involves acquiring key pieces of someone's identifying information, such as name, address, date of birth, social security number and mother's maiden name, in order to impersonate them. This information enables the identity thief to commit numerous forms of fraud which include, but are not limited to, taking over the victim's financial accounts, opening new bank accounts, purchasing automobiles, applying for loans, credit cards and social security benefits, renting apartments, and establishing services with utility and phone companies.

What to do if you become a victim:

  • Make a crime report with your local law enforcement agency.
  • Set up a folder to keep a detailed history of this crime.
  • Keep a log of all your contacts and make copies of all documents.
  • Notify the US Postal Inspector if your mail has been stolen or tampered with:
  • US Postal Inspection Service (see phone listing under Federal Government)
  • Us Postal Inspection Service - Local Post Office (see phone listing under Federal Government)
  • Contact the Federal Trade Commission to report the problem: The FTC is the federal clearing house for complaints by victims of identity theft. The FTC helps victims by providing information to help resolve financial and other problems that could result from identity theft. Their hotline telephone number is 1-877-IDTHEFT (438-4338).
  • This website also has very valuable information and 4 easy steps to follow once you have become a victim. This website is full of other information on identity theft.
  • Call any one of the three credit bureaus' fraud units to report identity theft. Ask to have a "Fraud Alert/Victim Impact" statement placed in your credit file asking that creditors call you before opening any new accounts.
  • Request that a copy of your credit report be sent to you.
  • Visit and obtain victim advocate information and prevention tips
  • also provides valuable resources for victims of internet crimes as well as educational information to prevent these types of crimes. 
Credit Bureaus

PO Box 74021,
Atlanta GA 30374-0241

To order your report call: 1-800-685-1111
To report fraud call: 1-800-525-6285

PO Box 949,
Allen TX 75013-0949

To order your report call: 1-888-397-3742
To report fraud call: 1-888-397-3742

Trans Union
PO Box 390,
Springfield PA 19064-0390

To order your report call: 1-800-888-4213
To report fraud call: 1-800-680-7289

  • Alert your banks to flag your accounts and contact you to confirm any unusual activity. Request a change of PIN and a new password
  • If you have any checks stolen or bank accounts set up fraudulently, report it to the following companies:

      National Check Fraud Service - (843) 571-2143

      SCAN - (800) 766-2748

      TeleCheck - (800) 710-9898 or 927-0188

      CheckRite - (800) 766-2748

      CrossCheck - (707) 586-0551

      Equifax Check Systems - (800) 437-5120

      International Check Services - (800) 526-5380

  • Contact the Social Security Administration's Fraud Hotline: 1-800-269-0271
  • Contact the state office of the Department of Motor Vehicles to see if another license was issued in your name. If so, request a new license number and fill out the DMV's complaint form to begin the fraud investigation process.
  • Obtain description of suspect (if known)
  • Obtain witness information:

      Persons who accept application
      Apartment Managers

  • Evidence: Gather all documents and supply them to your local police agency at the time of the initial report or supplemental report.
  • Attach all documents showing your financial loss
Prevention Techniques
  • Protect your incoming and outgoing mail. Remove items from your mailbox as soon as possible. Do not leave outgoing mail in your mailbox, instead deposit it in your nearest US Postal Service mailbox.
  • Shred and completely dispose of all personal documents with your personal information on it. This information includes credit card offers, sales receipts, ATM receipts, old bank statements, credit card statements, doctor bills and invoices and carbon copies of checks.
  • Rather than having new check books sent to your home, request that new checks that are ordered through your bank be delivered to the nearest branch and pick them up yourself
  • If you have a rural mailbox, purchase one that is secured with a key
  • Be aware of where your personal information is kept and who has access to it
  • Review your bills, including utility and bank information
  • Order a credit report once a year and verify that all accounts are accurate
  • Close any credit accounts that are not in use. (old accounts can be accessed by criminals and new charges can be made without your knowledge)
  • Notify the credit bureaus that you want to OPT-OUT. By opting out, you can reduce the number of credit care offers you get in the mail
  • Don't give out your personal information to anyone unless you initiate the contact
  • Do not use your Social Security Number unless it is required
  • Remove any unused credit cards as well as your Social Security Card from your wallet
  • Lock your car doors and do not leave any personal information in your vehicle while it is parked unattended.

The Federal Trade Commission website has some excellent tips to keep your personal information safe. Please take a moment to read and implement crime prevention in this area. has information to empower victims of internet crime and also provides excellent prevention information.