Police offer ID theft advice

Published 12:09am Sunday, November 17, 2013

With the holiday season quickly approaching, the Selma Police Department is warning residents to take extra safety precautions when shopping to avoid identity theft.

Identity theft usually spikes during the holidays, according to the Better Business Bureau, but Selma Chief of Police William Riley said a few simple steps can prevent a financial crisis.

“This time of year we see a lot of crimes of opportunity,” Riley said. “Criminals operate in pairs a lot of times. You always have to be aware of what is going on.”

Riley said not keeping track of your credit cards and financial information often leads to theft. As a preventative measure, he recommended carrying your credit card in your front pocket. He also said shoppers should check their front pockets after leaving stores.

If you spot an unfamiliar transaction on a bank statement, Riley said to immediately call the bank.

“They will immediately start putting a hold on your account,” he said. “Some banks will cancel your current card and send a new one to you overnight.”

After contacting the bank, he said victims should call the police department.

Identity theft isn’t the only crime that occurs during the holidays, he said. Selma residents should also be wary of theft.

“If you just got a brand new 65-inch television, you might not want to put the box in front of your house with the garbage,” Riley said. “A criminal might see that box and say ‘hey they have a brand new flatscreen TV; I’ll wait until they leave to break in.’ It’s important to enjoy the holidays, but enjoy them safely.”

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