Pascagoula police offer tips to avoid identity theft

By Patrice Clark - bio | email

PASCAGOULA, MS (WLOX) - You better show some identification if you want to use a credit card at Julian Richard's shoe shop.

"That pretty much eliminates somebody else from stealing that card and using that card for someone's disadvantage later," Richard said.

The Pascagoula businessman says he's been taken advantage of many times.

"I have been caught with some credit cards that were no good and I had eat them myself."

According to Pascagoula Police Investigator Shannon Broom, there were dozens of identity theft cases in Pascagoula last year. He says shopping centers and grocery stores are two hot spots for this kind of criminal activity.

"Identity theft is a pretty serious problem. You even have some cases where folks are stealing people's credit information by having scanners actually in the retail places. They will scan your credit card, and actually they are making a copy of your information contained in the magnetic strip," Broom said.

To avoid being a victim, Broom recommends that you don't carry too many checks and credit cards at one time.

"The less information you have in that purse or wallet, the better the chance of people not being able to take your identity. I think the safest way is to make purchases through cash."

Investigator Broom says it's also a good idea to watch who you give your information to online. He says while many Internet sites are legitimate, others are a big gimmick.

"If the deal is too good to be true, there may be a problem."

If you suspect that you've been a victim of identity theft, Investigator Broom suggests that you go to your bank and get a credit report. He also recommends that you call your local law enforcement agency.