The CCSO’s Financial Crimes Section (FCS) and Cyber Crimes Unit are led by Lt. Mel Gaden.
This team of experienced detectives worked more than 1,000 cases in 2014 which gives you an idea of how prevalent financial crimes, especially those perpetrated using technology, have become in our county – and everywhere.
Financial crime takes many forms. The most common financial crime currently is phone scams which our agency issues warnings about on a regular basis. Unfortunately, there are many other forms of financial crime as well.
It seems that almost every day there are new scams appearing by email or on the web from folks trying to get your money. We encourage you to visit these sites for on-line reporting of Internet crimes, for getting general information or to learn more about crime prevention. If you are a victim of Internet fraud or identity theft make an on-line report via the Internet Fraud Complaint Center. Here are some additional resources:
- National White Collar Crime Center
- Federal Bureau of Investigation
- Computer Crime Section of US Justice Department
- United States Postal Inspection Service
- United States Customs Service
- United States Secret Service
- Florida Department of Law Enforcement
How does it occur?
- In public places, criminals may engage in “shoulder surfing” – watching you from a nearby location as you punch in your Personal ID (PIN) or credit card number.
- Utilizing your debit or credit card at a business that provides open Wi-Fi to customers.
- Some criminals engage in ”dumpster diving” – going through your garbage cans or commercial dumpsters – to obtain copies of your checks, credit card or bank statements or other records that may bear your name, address or telephone number.
- Criminals may simply steal your wallet or purse.
- Criminals may open up a new credit card account, using your name, date of birth and Social Security number. When they use the credit card and don’t pay the bills, the delinquent account is reported on your credit report.
- Criminals may pilfer bank statements, credit card statements, pre-approved credit card applications, etc., from your mailbox.
Protecting Your Identity
- Dispose of your personal information properly. Shred unwanted copies of credit card receipts and loan applications before you discard them.
- Don’t carry your passport, birth certificate or your social security card with you. Don’t give out your social security number to anyone and don’t put it on your checks.
- Don’t give out any personal information on the phone unless you are absolutely certain it is for a legitimate purpose.
- Annually, obtain a copy of your credit report and check it for errors.
- FREE YEARLY CREDIT REPORT (877) 322-8228 or www.annualcreditreport.com.
- Be aware of skimming devices that are attached to ATM’s and credit card readers at gas pumps, etc. If it looks like a device has been attached, alert the bank or store personnel.
- Don’t be bullied. Some scammers will call you acting like someone from a company or bank you do business with. They will try to scare you by telling you about unauthorized withdrawals or purchases. If they ask you for personal information or for money…that is a red flag!
Already a Victim of Identity Theft?
- If you are the victim of identity theft, take the following measures.
- When dealing with authorities and financial institutions, keep a log of all conversations, including dates, names and phone numbers. Confirm conversations in writing. Send correspondence by certified mail – return receipt requested. Keep copies of all correspondence.
- File a report with your local law enforcement agency providing as much documented evidence as possible. Obtain a copy of the report and the name and telephone number of your fraud investigator. Provide it to creditors and others who require verification of your case.
- Immediately contact the fraud units of the main credit reporting companies (Experian, Equifax, Trans Union Corporation)
- Contact all creditors immediately with whom your name has been used fraudulently – by phone and in writing. Obtain replacement cards with new account numbers for those that have been fraudulently used. Ask that old accounts be processed as “account closed at consumer’s request.” Carefully monitor your mail and credit card bills for evidence of new fraudulent activity. Report such fraudulent activity immediately to credit grantors.
Social Security Number Misuse
Call the Social Security Administration (SSA) to report fraudulent use of your social security number (800-269-0271). The SSA will only change it if you fit their fraud victim criteria. Order a copy of your Social Security Earnings and Benefits Statement and check it for accuracy (800-772-1213).
For more information, contact the Federal Trade Commission