Matters were relatively quiet in San Marino over the holidays, Chief of Police Tim Harrigan reported yesterday. “But we did have some more incidents of identity theft and internet fraud.”
It’s quiet, non-violent – and also, the fastest-growing crime in the nation.
“We have had several cases where suspects have in fact taken over the person’s identity, causing fraud and creating unimaginable chaos,” said Harrigan. Two separate incidents this past December cost San Marino residents almost $40,000 in fraudulent credit card charges.
“Many people do not realize how easily criminals can obtain our personal data without having to break into our homes,” said the Chief. “In public places, for example, criminals may engage in ‘shoulder surfing’ – watching you from a nearby location as you punch in your credit card number – or listen in on your conversation if you give your credit card number over the telephone to a hotel or rental car company.”
“Even the area near your home or office may not be secure,” Harrigan continued. “Some criminals engage in ‘dumpster diving’ – going through your garbage cans or a communal dumpster or trash bin – to obtain copies of your checks, credit card or bank statements, or other records that typically bear your name, address and even your telephone number. These types of records make it easier for criminals to get control over accounts in your name and assume your identity.”
“If you suspect you are the victim of identity fraud, contact the San Marino Police Department immediately for assistance,” Harrigan said. “If you feel something is not right about one of your accounts, it probably isn’t.”
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