Residents learn how to protect against identity theft

Beth Rumsey
Staff Writer

State Attorney General Greg Zoeller visited Ripley County on Tuesday, March 1 to teach residents how to take action to prevent them from becoming victims of identity theft, scams and frauds.

Outreach Service team members visited various locations in the county to provide information on free services available.

Residents at Buckeye Village in Osgood learned the importance of placing their phone number on the state and national “Do Not Call” registry. According to Holly Lester, Outreach Service, a person can register up to five numbers with the state list. The number to call for the state registry is 888-834-9969. The national registry number is 888-382-1222.

Lester also explained the importance of knowing what is on one’s credit report. “Your reputation can be based on the information in a credit report,” she said.

All three consumer reporting companies must provide a free copy of an individual’s credit report once a year upon request. You can request your copy from all three companies by visiting

www.annual at no cost. Those who do not have internet access can call 877-322-8228 to request a free report.

The Attorney General’s office can help those who have become a victim of identity theft. The ID Theft Unit provides investigative services to help promote the prosecution of identity thieves.

Individuals can place a security freeze on their credit reports free of charge. The security freeze is a consumer right provided by Indiana law and is the most effective way to protect against ID theft, according to Lester.

A security freeze, or credit freeze, can block someone from opening a new account or obtaining credit in your name. It also keeps new creditors from accessing your report without authorization.

Other tips to prevent ID theft include do not share personal information with a company you do not know; be aware of missing bills or unexpected mail such as credit cards or account statements; and shop with cash when visiting festivals, fairs or sporting events.

Report ID theft to the local police department and the Attorney General’s ID Theft Unit as soon as you become aware that your personal information has been stolen.

The Consumer Protection Services also helps Hoosiers to find any unclaimed property. According to Lester, 99% of the property is money from bank accounts or utility deposits left behind when a person moves without leaving a forwarding address.

More information on services provided by the Attorney General’s office can be found on the web at www.indiana or by calling 800-382-5516.

State Attorney General Greg Zoeller visited Ripley and Dearborn counties on Tuesday to help residents to learn more about protecting themselves against identity theft, scams and frauds. His first stop was at the Ripley County courthouse to speak with the office holders about various concerns. Pictured above from left, Assessor Shawna Bushhorn, Attorney General Zoeller, Prosecutor Ric Hertel and Deputy Prosecutor Ryan King.