How do you protect yourself against identity theft or fraud?
I got a text from Colleen on Monday night telling me she got a call from a Money Mart employee in Torrance about a person trying to cash a check I had written to them.
I called the Money Mart and spoke to the employee; we quickly realized this person had somehow stolen a check(s) from me. I called the Torrance Police and they dispatched a unit to the Money Mart. Luckily, the individual was still at the Money Mart and the police questioned him, and then the police called me and asked if I had given this individual a check and also verified my identity.
They came to conclusion a crime was committed and arrested the suspect.
This whole process from the time Colleen send me a text to his arrest took about 15-20 minutes, and it provided some valuable information about how to protect yourself.
First off a huge THANK YOU to the Torrance Police Dept for being so swift to act in the matter; they were professional, courteous, knowledgeable and swift!
Secondly, a strong community of people caring and doing the right thing: Colleen, thanks for texting me right away; the Money Mart employee who googled my name and called Elite to verify the check was valid.
Thirdly how did this guy get a check from me? I concluded he either got it from my mailbox or from the trash. I proceeded to check both areas and realized, it is pretty easy for someone with the “will and motivation” to check my trash without being noticed.
So from now I will shred instead of manually tear any documents with sensitive information, especially those balance transfers checks you get in the mail every week or month; this is what the criminal probably got from my trash or mailbox and used at the Money Mart. Such an easy way to help protect yourself.
It’s unsettling to know, that a criminal knows your name and address. Does he have friends or family that could retaliate against me? I can’t control or worry about that, however, what I can control is how I protect myself and my family.
By have a secure home and perimeter; being prepared for an intruder, shredding documents to avoid identify theft/fraud, being aware of my surroundings at all times, talking with your family about what to do in case of a disaster or intruder.
These are some of the points we need to think about and not get complacent because we believe this will never happen.
Let me know if you have experienced anything like this and how you have dealt with it. If you have any good websites please list them here as well.
Thanks for reading.
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Redondo Beach, CA 90277
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Hermosa Beach, CA 90254