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  • What is Identity Theft?
  • How it happens
  • Preventing ID Theft
  • If you become a Victim

What is identity theft?

ID theft, which it is commonly called, is when a person assumes the identity ofanother, without that person’s consent for the purpose of making a profit or in some cases concealing their own identity. ID theft is one of the fastest growing crimes in the United States. Identity theft claims over one billion dollars in illegal profits at the cost of U.S. victims alone.IDtheft According to the FederalTradeCommission (FTC), over 9 million Americans have their identities stolen each year. The victim is usually alerted their identity was stolen by; unauthorized charges on a credit card statement, contact from a collection agency, turned down for a house or automobile loan, or when they review their credit report. In some cases, the victim does not detect that their identity has been stolen until after a year or more after it occurred.

The criminal in an ID theft case will gather key pieces of information about their victims:

  • Name and Address
  • Date of Birth
  • Social Security Number
  • Driver’s License Number
  • Bank Account Information
  • Credit/Debit Card Numbers

They use this information to obtain merchandise, credit, and services in the person’s name they have stolen. After this occurs, the victim is left to correct his or her damaged credit history and the difficult task of attempting to regain their good credit standing. In addition, identity theft criminals will use their victim’s name for other criminal activities like fraud, con games and related crimes.

What should you do if you become a

victim of ID Theft?

If you happen to become a victim of identity theft, contact the credit reporting agencies (TransUnion, Equifax, Experian) and have them put a fraud alert on your account. There are two types of fraud alerts: an initial alert, which is good for 90 days and used if you suspect you have been or about to be a victim of identity theft. The second type is an extended alert, which is good for seven years and is only used if you have been a victim of identity theft and you can provide an identity theft report to the credit reporting agencies. Each alert will allow you to have free credit reports in a 12 month period. The initial report allows you to have one credit report and the extended allows you to have two free credit reports. In addition, if you want them to, they will remove your name for up to five years from telemarketing list that offer pre-screened credit offers. Furthermore, close any accounts that have been compromised, file a police report and file a report with the Federal Trade Commission

If you practice what was listed above, this should help to prevent you from becoming a victim of identity theft.

For more information on Identity Theft please visit the following links:

FederalTradeFederal Trade Commission:

IDtheftResourceIdentity Theft Resource Center®




*For ways to protect yourself from Identity Theft please click the following link:


Helpful publications (Click to view. Please feel free to print):

ID Theft Booklet Identity Theft (published by Federal Reserve Bank of Boston)



DeterDetectDeter * Detect * Defend (published by FTC)



DontbeVictimDon't Be a Victim (published by Carroll County Sheriff's Office)



PhishingPhishing: Internet Pirates (published by the Federal Bank)



*Nothing can totally and completely prevent identity theft. However, being prepared may possibly help to prevent it or minimize the damage if you should become a victim.  Staying alert, aware of changes, and using good common sense may just help more than you know!

Carroll County Sheriff's Office • 100 North Court Street • Westminster, Maryland 21157
410.386.2900 or 1.888.302.8924

Equal Opportunity Employer

The Carroll County Sheriff’s Office is committed to recruiting initiatives that reflect a fair and impartial representation of minority groups and females among its employees and applicants in approximate proportion to the minority composition of the Carroll County community.