Teton County Sheriff's Office
Teton County Idaho - 230 N Main St., Driggs ID 83422, (208) 354-2323
Copyright © Teton County Sheriff's Office. All rights reserved.
Shred and destroy your documents: Dumpster diving is a proven method for thieves to gain access to your personal information by stealing discarded information.
Guard your mail: Protect your mailbox from thieves by replacing unlocked versions with a secure model. This simple task helps to reduce the chances of mail theft. As an added precaution,
Protect your children's information: These days, you are not the only person in your family at risk. More and more youth identities are being stolen so that thieves can commit employment or benefit-related fraud and get away with it for years before you even realize it
Watch your credit score: If a thief got a hold of your personal information, how would you know? One way is to keep a close eye on your credit report and watch for changes in your score.
What is Identity Theft?
Everyone has heard of it, but few people understand exactly how their identity can actually be stolen.
And with up to 10 million people becoming victims of identity theft each year, you can’t afford to not know about it. Once you know about how identity theft transpires, you are well on your way to protecting yourself against it.
How Identity Theft Occurs
Identity theft occurs when a thief steals a piece of someone else’s personal information and uses it to create an alternate identity for himself. How could he do that? Unfortunately, it is not terribly difficult. A thief may find your credit card number on the internet when you purchase something at an insecure site. Or, the thief could find your social security number on a poorly shredded document that you threw away in your garbage bin.
Thieves may even buy your personal information from a dishonest grocery clerk who wrote down your debit card number. There are numerous ways that thieves can get their hands on your information. Once your personal information has fallen into the hands of a dishonest person, identity theft is just a step away. A thief can easily use a stolen drivers’ license to create a fake one of his own with your information on it. They can take your credit card number and make purchases all over the internet. With your social security number a thief can acquire just about any other information that he wants about you. Obviously, learning about what is identity theft is no game.
Types of Identity Theft
- Credit card theft is perhaps the most well-known form of identity theft. When a thief steals your credit card he can use it to purchase almost anything. If only the number of your credit card (as opposed to the card itself) is stolen, the thief will likely use it to purchase items online, since internet shopping is becoming increasingly popular. The best way to prevent credit card theft is simply to keep your card in sight at all times.
- Skimming, whether on a handheld device or on a point-of-sale device (like a credit card machine at the checkout line), involves the theft of your credit or debit card information while being used during an otherwise legitimate purchase or transaction. Skimmers are small electronic devices that can be placed over the card slot of and ATM or handheld credit card device, like those used by waiters. Using a skimmer, a thief can collect your card number and information for later use, simply by having you swipe your card as you normally would. Everything appears normal, but your personal information has just been stolen.
- Driver’s license theft happens when someone steals your driver’s license information and fabricates a license for themselves. These thieves tend to commit traffic violations, so you’ll likely find out that your license identity has been stolen when a warrant is issued for your arrest. Keep your license with you at all times and this kind of identity theft is unlikely.
- Social security number theft can wreck havoc on your identity status, since a talented criminal can actually create a whole new identity with it. And these days, SSN theft is relatively easy because people write it on so many documents. A wise practice to get into is refusing to give out your social security number unless the person asking for it has a clearly established reason for needing it. You do not need to write it in on every document that asks.
- Criminal identity theft occurs when a criminal steals your identity for the purpose of pinning crimes he is planning to commit on you. He will use your personal information to fabricate documents and any false information that he needs. The first clue you will likely get that your identity has been stolen by a criminal is unfortunately an arrest.
- Medical identity theft can be one of the most dangerous types of identity theft. Oftentimes, people living high-risk lifestyles do not want to be tested for diseases like AIDS under their own identities. So they steal someone else’s medical identity, get tested, and leave you with a medical record indicating that you are HIV positive! This false information can be cleaned up from your medical records, but it can be difficult to accomplish.
If at any time you feel that you have been a victim of identity theft or if you have questions regarding identity theft. Please contact the Sheriff's Office at (208) 354-2323.
Identity Theft Protection