Ask a Trooper: 3 Identity Theft Scams Every Royal Oaker Should Be Aware Of

The first thing I will tell you this week is there was no
reported cattle rustling in the area.  I
think we have caught all the cattle rustlers in the area.  However, 12.6 Million Americans were
victimized by Identity Theft in 2012. 
This is the second highest total since the Federal Trade Commission
began counting victims in 2003.  The
identity thieves made off with over $3 billion as well. 

Overall, roughly 1 in 20 consumers were
victims of some form of identity theft
WOW, right.  Did this information
get your attention?  These stats are
staggering and I don’t feel it is ever a bad time to remind everyone or make
those unaware, aware to monitor your checking, credit card, and personal
finance accounts.

First, what is identity theft?  Identity Theft occurs when information of a
real, living, person, or real entity is, used for some type of criminal
gain.  Whether it’s used to hide from
authorities, establish bogus residency, or for financial gain.  Identity thieves use a variety of methods to
attempt and steal your information.  We
know places of business are attacked through computers in an attempt to steal
information electronically.  Our
financial institutions though work hard to protect our information and keep it
safe from cyber-attacks.   The next place
to steal information is directly from us whether were aware of it or not. 

One scam commonly used is the thief
telephones you claiming to be an investigator. 
They ask if you have authorized an expensive purchase.  Naturally you respond “no”, they then ask permission
to investigate on your behalf.  To begin
the “investigation” they start to solicit personal information.  In the end, the thief is able to make
unauthorized purchases on your accounts by the information they’ve obtained.

A second scam is the thief sends an
e-mail claiming to be the Internal Revenue Service.  The fake IRS then informs you of an
E-Audit.  The fake IRS solicits all your
tax information via e-mail. 

A third scam is someone claims to
be the police and a family member has been arrested in an out of country or in
another state.  They advise that you must
post a bond for your family member to be released.  You may even get to talk to the family member
briefly to be more convinced.  They then
advise you were to send the money in order to free your family member.  They may also in another scenario advise you
they are from your bank and need to talk to you about a suspicious
purchase.  They begin to solicit
information about your account and you.

Now these are just a few scams and
tricks but there are things we can do to help protect ourselves.  First, if a government agency or a financial institution
contacts you, you do not have to immediately start answering questions.  I know this may sound silly but hang up the
phone, go to the phone book, and call the department or bank back.  If they are looking for you they will get you
to the correct person.  Do not respond to
suspicious e-mails again you can always contact the soliciting agency directly
if you believe there is a concern.  Check
your credit history once at least once a year. 
If you note anything suspicious or unusual do some further
checking.  Someone may have stolen your
information without you being aware. 
Protect and secure your purse and wallet.  Don’t leave your purse or wallet in an
unsecured location.  As I have mentioned
it only takes a few seconds for someone to walk off with those items.  If you think you have been a victim of
identity theft call the police.  Did you
know only 1 in 4 people contact the police to report identity theft.  Finally, if the person becomes threatening on
the phone give them your security advisor number (810) 227-1051, at the
Michigan State Police Brighton Post. 
Tell them to contact Sgt. Thompson or Sgt. Sura at the post.  We would be glad to talk with anyone trying
to steal your identity.  Maybe together
we can start to round up these identity thieves.

If you have a questions or comments please email them to, or mail them to Ask A Trooper, Michigan State Police –
Brighton Post, 4337 Buno Road, Brighton, MI  48116.

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