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Steps You Can Take to Prevent Identity Theft

December 6, 2007

I’m sure a lot of you have been reading this week about a Center City couple, dubbed the modern day “Bonnie and Clyde” who were busted in an identity theft scam that included numerous victims.  This case caught my interest because they not only looked like many of my neighbors and friends and went to schools that many of my neighbors and friends attended, but they lived only one block away from me. 

The couple lived in a $3,000-a-month apartment in Center City with no physical means of support and had copies of door keys to about 30% of the building’s apartments as well as copies of the mailbox keys of every resident at their building.  They also wrote phony checks and stole their neighbors’ personal information. 

In this day and age, it has become increasingly difficult to keep all of our information private.  But there are steps we can take to prevent identity theft:

  • When entering a PIN number or a credit card number in an ATM machine, at a phone booth, or at any public place, watch for “shoulder-surfers.”
  • Don’t give out your social security number.
  • Check your credit report annually. By checking it regularly, you will notice any unusual discrepancies before they become a major problem.
  • Monitor your credit card bills for charges that you haven’t made. This is the best way to tell if someone else is charging on your card.
  • Buy a shredder and shred all papers before tossing them into the trash. Many identity thieves go through dumpsters, and it’s not difficult for them to get your information from bills and credit card statements, old credit cards, medical statements, or even junk-mail solicitations for credit cards and mortgages.
  • Don’t give personal information over the phone unless you initiated the call.

I’m sure there are other steps you can take to prevent identity theft, but the ones I mentioned seem to make common sense.

Last but not least, people who think they may have been victimized by the above-referenced “Bonnie and Clyde” couple are asked to call police at (215) 686-3093.

One Comment leave one →
  1. Abbie permalink
    December 10, 2007 3:50 am

    This is great advice! Also, if you are interested in additional information, the FTC has comprehensive information, forms and contact numbers (

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