5 Simple Steps to Protect Yourself From Identity Theft

id-theftThis is Tax Identity Theft Awareness Week and the Tampa Bay Identity Theft Alliance wants to urge you to protect yourself from identity theft and take appropriate steps if you believe you are a victim. The Tampa Bay Identity Theft Alliance was formed in July 2012 and is comprised of 20 Tampa Bay federal, state and local law enforcement agencies and prosecutors. The goal of this specialized team is to investigate identity theft crimes and pinpoint vulnerabilities in personal and business transactions. There are five simple steps you can take to help lessen the odds of become a victim of identity theft:

  1. Do not throw away ATM receipts, credit statements, credit cards, or bank statements without first shredding them.
  2. Never give out personal information online simply because someone asks for it.
  3. Never give your credit card number or Social Security number over the telephone unless you initiated the call.
  4. Reconcile your bank account monthly and notify your bank of discrepancies immediately.
  5. Review a copy of your credit report at least once each year.

If you become the victim of tax-related identity theft, take the following steps immediately:

  • Flag your credit reports. Contact the three major credit bureaus: Equifax, Experian and TransUnion
  • File a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission at 1-877-ID-THEFT (1-877-438-4338)
  • File a report with the local police
  • If you received a notice from the IRS, call the number on that notice
  • Fill out the IRS Identity Theft Affidavit, Form 14039
  • Call the IRS Identity Protection Specialized Unit at 1-800-908-4490 if you think you are at risk due to a lost/stolen purse or wallet.

For additional tips on how to protect your identity, visit www.secureflorida.org, www.irs.gov/identitytheft or www.ftc.gov/idtheft. If you have information about fraudulent activity, contact Crime Stoppers of Tampa Bay at 1-800-873-8477.

Lockdown at Nature Coast Resolved Without Incident

news-update-Nature Coast Tech was placed on lockdown and deputies were dispatched to the school around 7:20 this morning after a suspicious person was reported to be walking near the school. The caller, who lives in Deerfield Estates, told dispatchers they observed a
teen walking along the fence line, possibly carrying a gun. The high school was immediately placed on lockdown while deputies conducted a search of the area. A short time later, deputies located a 10th grader who matched a description the caller gave to dispatchers. While the student told deputies he had walked through the area, he denied carrying a weapon. He told deputies the only item he was carrying was his cell phone, which he was texting on while walking to school. The teen was searched and no weapon was found. The student’s mother confirmed the family doesn’t own any weapons other than a paintball gun. The student has no criminal history. He was returned to class and the lockdown was canceled.

Man Threatens to Beat Elderly Woman After Car Accident

darbyWilliam Darby was involved in a car accident at the intersection of Spring Hill Drive and Finland Drive in Spring Hill yesterday. The other driver reported that after both vehicles came to rest at the intersection Darby opened the the driver’s side door of her Monte Carlo with a bat in his hand and told her that if her granddaughter was not in the vehicle he “would snatch her out of the vehicle and beat the s— out of her.” What she thought was a bat was actually the handle of a shovel, which she alleges Darby raised towards her face while she was still seated in her vehicle. Darby told deputies that he approached the woman’s car with the shovel in hand because he believed she had struck his vehicle on purpose and felt threatened. He said he opened her door and questioned her but when he realized there was no imminent threat he returned to his vehicle. Darby was charged with aggravated assault and burglary (conveyance). He was given a total bond of $11,000 due to his lack of criminal history and cooperation.

Female Badly Battered at Spring Hill Intersection

wardHernando County Sheriff’s deputies were called to the intersection of Linden Drive and Amherst Avenue in Spring Hill where a female had been battered around 5:00 p.m. yesterday. The victim said that a male, identified as Roderick Ward Jr., began arguing with her at the intersection. When he approached her in an aggressive manner three of the victim’s friends attempted to intervene but Ward punched the female multiple times causing a bloody nose and bump on the head, as well as knocking out one of her front teeth. The victim’s friends confirmed the story and two independent witnesses advised that Ward approached the female in an aggressive manner and she pushed him away and tried to retreat from the altercation before he began hitting her. Ward was located and admitted arguing with the victim but said that she engaged him first and pulled on his shirt. He was arrested for battery and held on a $2,000 bond.

Fugitive Found in Brooksville Threatens to Kill Cops

colonA man wanted for aggravated assault with a weapon was found in Brooksville yesterday, January 28, 2015. Deputies were dispatched to a house on Aubrey Avenue for a verbal disturbance around 8:00 a.m. One man involved in the argument, Tony Colon, was found to have a warrant out of Gloucester County New Jersey. While deputies attempted to place him into wrist restraints and arrest him, Colon became irate yelling, “I hate cops. I am going to kill as many of them as I can rape their wives and children.” He is being held without bond and awaiting transport back to Gloucester County.