When your personal identification information (name, social security number, driver license number, etc.) has been used fraudulently to open credit accounts, bank accounts, obtain loans, utilities, telephone services, etc., without your knowledge or permission, you are the victim of the crime of identity theft. If you believe that your identity has been stolen, you should take the following steps:
- Immediately contact the company or financial institution's fraud department where your information was used and alert them of this fraudulent account.
- Have the account closed or cancelled.
- File an immediate offense report with the law enforcement agency holding jurisdiction where the identity theft occurred and obtain a case number. The location of jurisdiction is where the account(s) were opened or services provided. If your identity has been assumed outside of Walton County and you wish to file an information report with the Walton County Sheriff's Office, you may do so. The report will be forwarded to the jurisdiction where the crime occurred.
- Contact the three credit reporting companies listed below to report this identity theft complaint. You will need to confirm that a fraud alert is placed on your personal credit file. This alert should help prevent any future acts of fraud involving your personal identification information where a credit check would be conducted with the three credit bureaus.
To prevent yourself from becoming a victim you can:
- Try to use ATM machines you are familiar with and ones located in banks.
- Look around before conducting a transaction. If you see anything suspicious cancel the transaction and go elsewhere.
- Try to use the ATM before dark. If you must use the ATM after dark make sure it is in a well-lit location.
- Never walk away from the ATM with cash still in your hand. Don't be distracted by counting your cash while walking away.
- When making a transaction from your car open the window as little as possible and keep your doors locked.
- Work with your bank to have your social security check or other regular income direct deposited into your bank account.