Archive for Thursday, December 2, 2004

Basehor chief warns of identity theft risks

December 2, 2004

Let numbers from the Federal Trade Commission tell the story: each year identity theft costs consumers and corporations a combined $53 billion. Approximately 40 percent of all victims spend at least a month trying to correct records such as credit reports and bank statements. Only one of every 20 crimes results in an arrest.

These are among the numerous points Basehor police chief Terry Horner tried to reinforce during two seminars this month.

The seminars, given to residents at the Hickory Villa senior center and during a meeting of the Basehor Veterans of Foreign Wars meeting, falls in line with a continuing education program the police department has recently emphasized to inform the public about safeguarding themselves against crimes.

"We just want to bring the information to the public," Horner said. "Anyone that feels like they're being scammed should call the police department."

Horner also listed ways residents can help defend themselves against identity theft, which the trade commission lists as the fastest growing crime in the United States. Perhaps the easiest way, Horner said, is to routinely check credit reports.

"That's one of the fastest ways you can learn," he said. "There could be things out there you don't even know about yet."

Another way to combat the crimes is by shredding mail. Horner advised purchasing a low cost paper shredder for all mail bound for the trash can. It may seem like a drastic step, but buying the machines is better than the alternative -- later learning that a "dumpster diver" obtained your information and used it for fraud.

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