Identity theft is the unlawful use of another person’s personal information, such as name and date of birth, credit card numbers, Social Security number, or driver’s license information for the purpose of committing fraud or some other form of deception. It is one of the fastest growing forms of criminal conduct in the United States. The Federal Trade Commission has estimated that 43% of fraud committed in the United States in 2002 was related to identity theft. Although the unauthorized use of another person’s identity is in itself a crime under federal and Massachusetts law, it is almost always a means of committing other crimes such as bank fraud, check fraud, credit card fraud, Internet fraud, the fraudulent obtaining of loans, or the avoidance of criminal prosecution.
The first step in the compromising of a person’s identity may be the theft of trash, the skimming of a credit card, the obtaining of information via the Internet, or some other technique that may not even be detected by the victim. In other cases, the theft of an identity may begin with the theft of a wallet or purse, or the interception of mail. Early detection of identity theft can minimize the amount of financial loss and the extent of damage done to the victim’s credit.
It is the policy of the Hanover Police Department to investigate all instances where a citizen’s identity has been compromised for an unlawful purpose.
- In each case of reported identity crime, whether the victim resides in this community or a fraudulent transaction occurs here, a police officer will conduct an investigation and immediately file a report.
- Officers investigating instances of identity theft will provide victims with information that will assist them in repairing their credit and diminishing the amount of theft.
- The department will refer to other law enforcement agencies information about fraudulent transactions occurring in their jurisdiction.
- The department will seek to educate the public about the issue of identity crime, including methods for preventing it.
If you believe you have been a victim of identity theft, please visit the police station to speak with an officer.