Albany -- The federal government is giving hometown police some new ammunition in the war on Identity Theft. The Secret Service has sent electronic how-to kits to 40,000 local police departments.
The kits contain a video tape, CD rom, and manuals for Police on Identity theft. They include questions to ask and things to look for in conducting investigations, the best way to seize electronic evidence, and advice on how to detect bogus credit cards and I.D.'s.
U.S. Secret Service Resident Agent Stanley Burruss said "It's really designed for the Police Officer or the Deputy Sheriff. It can be shown at roll call, so that they become familiar with what's going on with identity theft. What to look for when they are out there dealing with citizens."
Incidents of identity theft have topped the government's list of consumer complaints for three straight years. Improved technology makes it tougher to catch thieves.
The Secret Service says if you are a victim of identity theft, contact the three major credit bureaus to place a fraud alert and victim statement on your credit report.
Review your credit reports and close any accounts you believe have been tampered with. Change your PIN number on existing accounts.
Contest all fraudulent accounts, by contacting the Federal Trade Commission. File a police report and be persistent.
Police say many people do not report Identity Theft crimes, because they don't know how, or are embarrassed.
Here are the major credit reporting agencies in the nation-
order your report: 800/685-1111 or log on: www.equifax.com report fraud: 800/525-6285 and write to: p.o. box 740241 Atlanta, Ga 30374-0241
Experian order your report: 888/397-3742 or log on: www.experian.com report fraud: 888/397-3742 and write to: p.o. box 9532 Allen, Tx 75013
Transunion order your report: 800/888-4213
or log on: www.transunion.com report fraud: 800/680-7289 and write to: p.o. box 6790 Fullerton, Ca 92634-6790