“I’m calling from [pick any bank]. Someone’s been using your debit card ending in 2345 at [pick any retailer]. I’ll need to verify your Social Security number — which ends in 8190, right? — and full debit card information so we can stop this unauthorized activity…”
So the caller ID shows the name of your bank. And the caller knows some of your personal details.
Two tools you can use to make identity theft less likely have just become available for free today (Friday), Sept. 21, thanks to a new federal law: credit freezes and year-long fraud alerts. Here’s what you should know:
Security freezes, also known as credit freezes, restrict access to your credit file, making it harder for identity thieves to open new accounts in your name. Starting today, you can freeze and unfreeze your credit file for free. You also can get a free freeze for your children who are under 16.
A 56-year-old town resident told Darien police last Wednesday that more than $50,000 had been taken out of one of her accounts in January. The woman had an account with CHET (Connecticut Higher Education Trust), a state-sponsored way to save for college expenses, but she didn’t have any online access to it set up. In January, she told police, someone did set up access to her account, without her knowing it, and transferred out more than $50,000 from it — stealing the money from her. Darien police have opened an investigation, although they haven’t found any local connection to the crime. The CHET fraud department is investigating the matter, and Darien police will help them, if needed, police said in an announcement.
Just hours after police found numerous unlocked vehicles were entered on Herman Avenue and nearby Allen O’Neill Drive, a Herman Avenue resident was contacted by a Target store in New York City on Friday and asked if she could confirm that she was applying for a store credit card. That was how the Darien woman who answered the phone found out that she was still being victimized from a case of identity theft that happened in December. The fact that vehicles in her neighborhood had just been entered — a situation that sometimes leads to identity theft — turned out to be a complete coincidence. The woman’s car had not been entered. The woman went to Darien Police Headquarters and told them about the incident later that morning.