Credit theft on the rise

The Grove City Division of Police would like to warn residents against leaving valuables unsecured.

According to the department, there has been a rise in the number of credit card thefts in recent weeks. It’s not ‘identity theft’ so much as it is a purse or wallet containing credit cards being stolen and then used.

Thieves look for easy targets, such as a bag lying on the front seat of a vehicle, an open garage door, or a purse in an employee room at work. They take the bag (or sometimes just the credit cards so you don’t notice right away) and then go on shopping sprees at self-checkout counters at the stores of their choice. The victim is left with possible identity theft, maxed-out credit cards, and sometimes ruined credit.

There is an easy solution to this problem. Be vigilant in securing purses or wallets within homes, vehicles, or workplaces. Follow these quick, easy steps to reduce your risk:

•Always hold your purse in a store. Never leave it in a cart, even if you plan to keep the cart close to you. It’s too easy for a thief to find an opportunity.

•Although this is not recommended, if you must leave your purse, wallet, or anything of value in a vehicle, be sure to secure it in the trunk. If unable to do this, hide it where it can’t be seen through the window (If hiding it in the trunk, do so before you reach your destination because many thieves sit and watch parking lots).

•Always lock your vehicle and roll up the windows when leaving it unattended.

•Never leave your garage door open and unattended. It’s an easy target, and many people forget it’s open. Thieves not only have access to your garage and whatever it contains, but also to your home and your family through the interior door.

•Make a list of your credit cards and their phone numbers (and don’t keep it in your purse or wallet), that way if you ever need that information, it is readily available. If you do become a victim of credit card theft, be sure to contact your credit card companies (as well as the police) right away to tell them it was stolen and put a hold on the account.

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