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HBPD Crime Prevention Information

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Identity Theft

  1. Someone is using your identifying information (name, date of birth, social security number, driver's license number, etc.) to obtain goods, services, credit, and/or open fraudulent bank accounts


    This guide provides victims of identity theft with the major resources to contact. Victims themselves have the ability to assist greatly with resolving their case. It is important to act quickly and assertively to minimize the damage.

    In dealing with the authorities and financial institutions, keep a log of all conversations, including dates, times, names, and phone numbers. Confirm conversations in writing. Send correspondence by certified mail (return receipt requested). Keep copies of all letters, documents, and police reports.


  2. Once you discover you are a victim of identity theft you should notify the following:


    Credit Bureaus.
    Immediately call and write the fraud units of three credit reporting companies - Experian, Equifax, and Trans Union. Report the theft of your credit cards or numbers. The phone numbers are provided at the end of this brochure. Ask that your account be flagged. Also, add a victim's statement to your report, up to 100 words, such as, "My ID has been used to apply for credit fraudulently. Contact me at (your own telephone number) to verify all applications." Insist that the flag is put at the front of your credit report. Be sure to ask how long the fraud alert is posted on your account, and how you can extend it if necessary. Be aware that these measures may not entirely stop new fraudulent accounts from being opened by the imposter.

    Ask the credit bureaus in writing to provide you with a free copy of your credit report every few months so you can monitor it yourself.

    Ask the credit bureaus for names and phone numbers of credit grantors with whom fraudulent accounts have been opened. Ask the credit bureaus to remove the inquires that have been generated due to the fraudulent access. You may also ask the credit bureaus to notify those who have received your credit report in the last six months in order to alert them to the disputed and erroneous information (two years for employers).

    Contact all creditors immediately with whom your name has been used fraudulently by phone and in writing. Get replacement cards with new account numbers for your accounts that have been used fraudulently. Ask that old accounts be processed as "account closed at consumer's request." This is better than "card lost or stolen." When this statement is reported to credit bureaus, it can be interpreted as blaming you for the loss.

    Carefully monitor your mail and credit card bills for evidence of new fraudulent activity. Report it immediately to credit grantors.

    Creditors requirement to report fraud. You may be asked by banks and credit grantors to fill out and notarize fraud affidavits, which could become costly. The law does not require that a notarized affidavit be provided to creditors. A written statement and supporting documentation should be enough (unless the creditor offers to pay for the notary).

  3. Law Enforcement.

    Report the crime to the law enforcement agency with jurisdiction in the case. Give them as much documented evidence as possible. Get a copy of your police report. Keep the report number of your police report handy and give it to creditors and others who require verification of your case. Credit card companies and banks may require you to show the report to verify the crime. Some police departments have been known to resist writing reports on such crimes. Prior to January 1, 1998, the creditors (credit card companies, banks, etc.) were the only legal victims of Credit Fraud/Identity Theft. California Penal Code Section 530.5 went into effect on January 1, 1998, thus giving legal standing to individual victims. Some police departments have not yet received training in the new laws of Identity Theft. Be Persistent!


  4. Stolen Checks/ATM and Credit Cards.

    If you have had checks stolen or bank accounts set up fraudulently, report it to the check verification companies. Put stop payments on any outstanding checks that you are unsure of. Cancel your checking and savings accounts and obtain new account numbers. Give the bank a secret password for your account (not your mother's maiden name).

    Other thefts of identity. Imposters may use your social security or driver's license number if issued a traffic citation or arrested. If you are wrongly accused of a crime or a civil judgment has been entered in your name without cause, contact the court where the judgment was entered and report that you are a victim of identity theft. If you are wrongfully prosecuted for criminal charges, contact the court where the case was filed and notify your local police.


  5. Elder Financial Abuse

    There are many people who target senior citizens and their money. Telemarketing fraud, bank examiner schemes, faulty home repairmen, etc. Extra care should be taken to protect your assets and identity. Mail should not be left at a residential mailbox for pickup by the mail carrier. Thieves take the mail and change the information so they can cash them. Personal information should be shredded before placing it in the trash. Thieves go "dumpster diving" to obtain information to open accounts in your name. Obtain a copy of your credit report regularly to make sure someone is not using your name to open accounts. If you need help with your finances, use a trusted family member or friend.


Equifax: PO Box 105069, Atlanta, Georgia 30348.
Report Fraud: Write to above address giving your social security number, date of birth, and copy of utility bill or drivers license to verify current address. Call (800) 685-1111 for more information.

Experian: (formerly TRW) PO Box 1017, Allen, TX 75013
Report Fraud or Order a Credit Report: (888) 397-3742
To Opt Out of pre-approved offers of credit and marketing lists call (888) 567-8688.

Trans Union: PO Box 390, Springfield, PA 19064
Report Fraud: (800) 680-7289
Consumer Relations: (800) 916- 8800 and write to Fraud Victim Assistance Division, P.O. Box 6790, Fullerton, CA 92834- 6790.
Order a Credit Report: (888) 680-7293.

Remember, if you have been the victim of credit fraud (15 USC 1681j(b)) or denied credit (15 USC 1681j(c)(3)) you are entitled to a free credit report. If you are a victim of fraud, be sure to ask the credit bureaus for free copies. They will provide them.

Social Security Administration:
Report Fraud: (800) 269-0271
Write: SSA Fraud Hotline, PO Box 17768, Baltimore, MD 21235
Fax (410) 597-0118

To remove your name from mail and phone lists:
Direct Marketing Association:

Mail Preference Service, PO Box 9008, Farmingdale, NY 11735
Telephone Preference Service, PO Box 9014, Farmingdale, NY 11735

To report fraudulent use of your checks:
Check Rite: (800) 766-2748
CrossCheck: (800) 843-0760
Chexsystems: (800) 428-9623
Equifax: (800) 437-5120
International Check Svcs: (800) 526-5380
SCAN: (800) 262-7771
Telecheck: (800) 710-9898

Other Useful Resources: Federal Government Information Center: (800) 688-9889 for help in obtaining government agency telephone numbers.

Federal Trade Commission (877) FTC-HELP for help in any type of consumer complaint - specifically identity theft and referrals to local law enforcement. FTC Consumer's Page

Useful Internet Locations:
Federal Trade Commission
L.A. County Dept. of Consumer Affairs

Victims of Crime

Victim's Financial Help

Hermosa Beach Police Dept. 540 Pier Avenue, Hermosa Beach, CA 90254 - (310) 318-0360

If you have been the victim of a crime that meets the required definition, you or others may be eligible to receive payment from the California State Restitution Fund for losses directly resulting from the crime.

To learn about eligibility and receive an application to receive payments, call:

Victims of Crime Program at (800) 777-9229
County Victim Witness Assistance Center at (310) 222-3599
Victims of Crime Website:
Victims Legal Resource Center @ 1 800 Victims

For more information:

Auto Theft

One vehicle is stolen every 21 seconds in the United States. Stolen cars, vans, trucks, and motorcycles cost victims time and money--and increase everyone's insurance premiums. They're also often used to commit other crimes. Don't become a victim of this serious crime.



Etch the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) on the windows, doors, fenders, and trunk lid. This helps discourage professional thieves who have to either remove or replace etched parts before selling the car. Copy the VIN and your tag number on a card and keep it in a safe place. If your vehicle is stolen, the police need this information.

Install a mechanical locking device--commonly called clubs, collars, of j-bars--that locks to the steering wheel, column, or brake to prevent the wheel from being turned more than a few degrees. Use it!

Investigate security systems if you live or work in a high-theft area or drive an automobile that's an attractive target for thieves. You may get a discount on your auto insurance.

Look into CAT (Combat Auto Theft) and HEAT (Help Eliminate Auto Theft) partnership programs where individuals voluntarily register their cars with the police, and allow the police to stop the car during certain hours when they normally would not be driving (such as midnight to 5 a.m.). All participants display decals in a designated area on their vehicles.


Carjacking--stealing a car by force--has captured headlines in the last few years. Statistically, your changes of being a carjacking victim are very slim, and preventive actions can reduce the risk even more.


It works like this. A car, usually with a driver and at least one passenger, rear-ends or "bumps" you in traffic. You get out to check the damage. The driver or one of the passengers jumps in your car and drives off.

If you're bumped by another car, look around before you get out. Make sure there are other cars around, check out the car that's rear-ended you and who's in it. If the situation makes you uneasy, stay in the car and insist on moving to a police station or busy, well-lighted area to exchange information.


Safer Seniors

As people grow older, their chances of being victims of crime decrease dramatically. But a lifetime of experience coupled with the physical problems associated with aging often make older Americans fearful. Though they're on the lookout constantly for physical attack and burglary, they're not as alert to frauds and con games--in reality the greatest crime threat to seniors' well-being and trust. Want to conquer fear and prevent crime? Take these common-sense precautions.





Crime Prevention for People with Disabilities

Disabled persons face many physical challenges. This could make them vulnerable to would-be assailants who assume the disabled are incapable of protecting themselves.







Many con artists prey on people's desires to find miracle cures for chronic conditions and fatal diseases. To outsmart those con artists, remember these tips:


HB Crime 2005   HB Crime 2004    HB Crime 2003    HB Crime 2002    HB Crime 2001

1998-2003 HB Crime Stats    HBPD Community Policing   

1998-2003 HB Crime Stats Compared to Manhattan Beach

HB Pier Plaza Reporting    HBPD Crime Prevention Info

The Hermosa Beach Neighborhood Association

  Home Page    HB Web Community    Surveys & Forums    HB History 

  City of HB Info    HBNA Photo Gallery    HB Crime Info    HB Weblinks