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Crime Prevention

Crime Prevention

Watch a video of the Police Department's crime prevention tips by clicking here.

Identity Theft

Cases of identity theft have been reported to the Winnetka Police Department. Guard your personal information to protect yourself from this crime.

Identity theft is a serious crime. If your identity is stolen and used by identity thieves, recovering your good name and good credit record could take years and result in significant financial loss. As with any crime, you cannot completely control whether you will become a victim, but you can minimize your risk by managing your personal information cautiously and with greater awareness of potentially risky situations.

Here are some simple precautions that can help protect you from identity thieves:

  • Don't give your Social Security Number or credit card numbers out over the telephone or by e-mail unless you know the caller personally or are confident that the organization you are dealing with is legitimate. Identity thieves can be skilled liars and may pose as bank representatives, Internet service providers, even government agents, so be careful!
  • Cancel unused credit cards.
  • Limit the number of credit cards and forms of identification you carry.
  • Place orders only with secure web sites. (Make sure the web address starts with "https" or look for a small icon that looks like a padlock in the corner of the page.)
  • Be careful when you dispose of mail and trash. Destroy copies of credit card receipts, financial statements, anything that has identifying information on it, before discarding them. Use a shredder, available from office supply and other stores.
  • Check statements from financial institutions - verify account information.
  • Never give your Personal Identification Numbers (PIN numbers) to anyone.
  • Report unexplained interruptions in mail service to your local post office.
  • Order a copy of your credit report once a year from the three credit bureaus.
  • If you use Internet banking, make sure you are using the real websites from your bank and credit card companies. Use only the links shown on your bills and statements, not ones provided on unsolicited emails.
  • Check all purchases and debits made on your accounts and verify them against receipts.

Credit reports can be ordered from the following agencies:

Equifax (1-800-685-1111)
Experian (1-888-397-3742)
TransUnion (1-800-916-8800)

Be alert to signs that someone may be fraudulently using your identity. Indications that this may be occurring include:

  • Not receiving bills or other mail, which may be the result of an address change made by an identity thief;
  • Receiving credit cards for which you did not apply;
  • Denial of credit for no apparent reason; and
  • Receiving calls from debt collectors or companies about merchandise or services that you didn't order.

If you are a victim of identity theft:

  • File a police report as soon as possible and obtain the report number for future reference.
  • Report the identity theft to the three credit bureaus listed above.
  • Report fraudulent use of your Social Security Number by calling the social Security Administration at 1-800-269-0271.
  • Contact your financial institutions. Consider obtaining new account numbers and PIN Numbers and having a code word placed on your accounts.

Identity theft is a crime that can take many forms and affect many areas of a victim's life. More information about identity theft can be obtained by contacting the Federal Trade Commission at 1-877-438-4338. Packets for reporting identity theft can be obtained from the Winnetka Police Department. During their investigation of burglaries, police often find that basic security measures have not been taken which made it easy for the burglar to enter the premises. They remind citizens that burglaries occur in every community and they should not take their homes' security for granted.

Property Security

CanStock-_Property_Security_GateHow good are the locks on your doors and windows? Does your shrubbery hide doorways or windows? Is your outdoor lighting adequate to discourage a would-be burglar from targeting your home? Are you aware of the importance of placing identifying information on items of value and/or recording their serial numbers in case they are stolen? Do you know what precautions to take when you go out of town?

If you aren't sure of the answers to any of these questions, contact the Winnetka Police at 847-501-6034 and request a security survey of your residence. There's no charge for this service. Police will conduct free business security surveys, too. The Police Department also has an engraving tool, available for loan, to assist in marking valuable items.

When a service person comes to your door, ask for identification - and check it carefully - before you allow him or her to come into your home. While it may seem unkind, a stranger asking for a drink, to use a bathroom or to make a telephone call should never be allowed in. Don't let yourself to be diverted by requests for supplies or assistance made by an unknown person at your door. This is a tactic frequently employed in order to gain entry into a home.

Be careful when using an Automatic Teller Machine! If you see someone who looks suspicious standing near an ATM, don't use it! Immediately put away any money obtained from an ATM. The police need your help! If you become aware of something that seems unusual - a stranger lurking about, items being moved out of a house or garage under unfamiliar circumstances, a stranger asking vague questions, etc. - call the police and make them aware of your observations.

Many criminals have been apprehended as a result of citizens' reports to police - it's impossible to know how many crimes have been prevented.

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