:: Why Join
:: In the News
:: Our Chamber
:: Membership Directory
:: Contact Us
:: Identity Theft Info
||ID theft...It COULD happen to you!
U.S. Postal Inspector informs members.
Scott West spoke to Chamber Members during the April Membership Luncheon. Scott West is a United States Postal Inspector, assigned to the Fort Worth Division, Tulsa domicile. Scott started his career as a Postal Inspector in August 2002, after completing an under graduate degree in business administration at the University of Central Oklahoma. Scott is one of two Postal Inspectors in Tulsa, OK, assigned to investigate identity theft in Eastern Oklahoma. Scott is also assigned to the Tulsa Metropolitan Commercial Crimes Task Force, a task force consisting of investigators representing the United States Secret Service, Postal Inspection Service and the Tulsa Police Department.
The U.S. Postal Inspection Service is the federal law enforcement branch of the U.S. Postal Service, with primary jurisdiction in all matter infringing on the integrity of the U.S. Mail. According to the Postal Service Transformation Plan, the mission of the Postal Inspection Service is to “protect the U.S. Postal Service, its employees and its customers from criminal attack and protect the nation’s mail system from criminal misuse.” The Postal Inspection Service has a long, proud and successful history of fighting the criminals who attack our nation’s postal system and those who misuse it to defraud, endanger or otherwis3e threaten the American public.
Most Identity theft involves the U.S. Mail. That’s why the U.S. Postal Inspection Service is a lead agency in investigating incidents of identity theft. Identity theft is a criminal offense. It occurs when a person knowingly transfers or uses, without lawful identification, a means of identification of another person with the intent to commit or the aid or abet any unlawful activity that constitutes a violation of federal law or that constitutes a felony under any applicable state of local law.
What is identity theft?
Identity theft occurs when a crook steals key pieces of personal identifying information, which may include a name, address, date of birth, Social Security number, and mother’s maiden name, to gain access to a person’s financial accounts. Armed with this information, an identity thief may open new credit or financial accounts , buy cars, apply for loans or Social Security benefits, rent an apartment, or set up utility and phone service – in someone else’s name.
Add these tips to your “must do” list to protect your identity:
1. Don’t leave mail in your mailbox overnight or on weekends.
2. Deposit mail in U.S. Postal Service collection boxes.
3. Tear up unwanted documents that contain personal information.
4. Review your consumer credit report annually.
Postal Inspectors also offer these tips for ID theft protection.
1. Report lost or stolen credit cards to the issuer immediately
2. Sign your new credit cards – before someone else does.
3. Memorize your Social Security number and passwords; don’t carry them with you. Don’t use your date of birth as your password.
4. Don’t ever leave receipts behind – at ATMs, on counters at financial institutions, or at gasoline pumps.
5. Check expiration dates on credit cards and contact the issuer if you don’t get a replacement before they expire. Ditto for monthly financial statements and bills.
6. Match credit card receipts against monthly bills and check financial statements for accuracy.
If you suspect you’re a victim of ID theft, take action:
1. If the crime involved the U.S. mail, report it ot your nearest U.S. Postal Inspection Service Office.
2. If the crime involved counterfeit credit cards or computer hacking, report it to the U.S. Secret Service.
3. Check whether the major credit reporting agencies have accounts in your name that were opened without your consent. Ask them to place a “fraud alert” on your file.
4. You may be advised to close some or all of your accounts. At the least, change your PIN codes and passwords immediately.
5. Keep a record of the names and phone numbers of people with whom you discussed your case, and of all reports and supporting documents.
6. Report ID theft online with the Federal Trade Commission at Federal Trade Commission or call its Identity Theft Hotline at 1-877-IDTHEFT. The FTC has counselors to help you resolve financial and other problems that can result from this crime.
Visit these Web sites for more information on ID theft:
U.S. Postal Inspection Service: www.usps.com/postalinspectors
Federal Trade Commission: Federal Trade Commission
U.S. Secret Service: www.secretservice.gov
Department of Justice: www.usdoj.gov/criminal/fraud/idtheft
Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation: www.fdic.gov/consumers