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Normal PD offers tips for Identity Theft Awareness Week

Written by on February 2, 2024

Image courtesy of the Federal Trade Commission.

NORMAL, Ill. – This week was National Identity Theft Awareness Week, an annual event meant to help people avoid getting their information stolen.

According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), data breaches, lost wallets and hacked online accounts are all potential ways to get your identity stolen. Normal police officer Brad Park gives some tips on how to stay safe.

“I think the main thing is to not share important information whether it’s online, in person or through the mail,” Park said. “Also, all the online scams we’re seeing where […] you’re allowing someone to connect to your computer and they’re trying to get your banking information.”

According to the FTC, they received 5.7 million reports of identity theft in 2023, and many cases go unreported. According to Park, while the police and FTC can help you if your identity is stolen,  the likelihood of people who commit identity theft being caught is extremely rare.

According to Park, someone will usually learn their identity has been stolen when they’re notified about a credit card being opened in their name or payments they did not make. Park also suggests that people periodically check their credit report to see if there’s anything suspicious.

Additionally, Park suggests that you check with trusted people in your life if you think something is suspicious.

“Generally, if you talk it out, if it’s raising red flags for you it will raise red flags for other people,” Park said. “Hopefully, you can stop it at that point so nobody gets victimized.”

Resources to prevent and deal with identity theft can be found at FTC.gov and IdentityTheft.gov.