Identity Theft  —>Also, a Guide to Elder Financial Abuse 

To get your free credit report once a year visit

How to keep it from happening
Identity theft is something that continues to grow because thieves have a number of methods when it comes to stealing your identity. There are many ways old and new to collect your personal information, here are a few:

  • Stealing your wallet or purse

  • Phishing

  • Using a data storage device to ‘skim’ information from an ATM Machine

  • Going though your trash (also known as “dumpster diving”)

  • Stealing/diverting your United States Postal Mail

  • Home invasion

  • Plain old snooping

Now that they have it how do they use it?
Now that they have your information thieves can make purchases using our credit card information, they may even call the credit card issuer and change the mailing address so it will take some time for you to catch on. Thieves can also open a new credit card account, establish phone or wireless service, open a bank account and start writing bad checks. Purchasing a vehicle and taking out a loan in your name is also common. They could give out your name to the police during an arrest, not show up for court, then the arrest warrant contains our name.

How to tell you that there is another you
Good ways to tell there is another you is unexplained charges or withdrawals on your financial accounts, bills fail to arrive, credit cards are received for which you did not apply, your credit is denied for no apparent reason. Another good way to tell is if debt collectors call about unpaid merchandise that you did not purchase, or credit card accounts that have gone unpaid.

How to deny access to your personal information

  • When creating passwords: avoid using easily attained information like your mother’s maiden name, your birth date, address or phone number, etc.

  • Secure personal information in your home, under lock and key if necessary.

  • Unless YOU initiate the contact, don’t give out personal information over the phone, internet or mail.

  • Shred ALL mail with personal information, including pre-approved credit card applications.

  • Do not carry your Social Security card in your wallet. Keep it in a secure place with your other personal information.

With so many of us spending time online today, it’s also important to take the following precautions:

  • Update your virus protection software for your computer on a regular basis.

  • Do not open files sent by strangers.

  • Refrain from clicking on links or downloading programs from E-Mail addresses you don’t recognize and even those you do recognize (like your bank or credit card).

  • Use a firewall program to stop unwanted access, especially if you use a high-speed internet connection (cable, DSL, etc.).

  • Be sure any web site you are making a purchase from is secure. A lock icon on the browser status bar is one indicator.

What to do if you become a victim
Place a fraud alert with one of the three credit bureaus. This will help prevent any additional accounts from being opened in your name. By law, when you contact one to place a fraud alert, the company must contact the other two. When you place a fraud alert, you’re entitled to a free copy. Be sure to check your credit report for any questionable activity. To get a free copy of your credit report once a year visit

Close accounts you suspect have been tampered with. When opening new accounts, implement Personal Identification Numbers (PIN’s) and passwords.

FILE A REPORT WITH YOUR LOCAL POLICE, or the police in the community where the theft took place. Get a copy of the police report for future reference.

File a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) at (877) 438-4338.

Be sure to keep records of all conversations related to your reporting of the theft along with copies of any correspondence. For more detailed information on identity theft, visit the Federal Trade Commission’s web site.

Halloween Safety Tips

Trick- or-Treating

  • Trick-or-Treating is always safer and more fun with a group of people or your mom or dad. Never go alone.

  • When Trick-or-Treating with friends, tell your mom and dad your route.

  • Give older children a set time to return home.

  • Trick-or-Treat in your own neighborhoods where you know the people youre getting candy from.

  • Go to homes with porch lights on.

  • Take along change to call home if there is a problem.


  • Wear bright colored clothing so you are more visible at night. Add reflective tape to your outfit for better visibility.

  • Wear costumes that fit well and dont block your view.

  • Avoid baggy costumes that could get caught on bushes and fences.

  • Avoid long costumes and oversized shoes that could cause you to trip and fall.

  • Paint your face instead of wearing masks.

  • If you wear a mask, make sure the eyeholes are large enough so that you can easily see out of it. Make sure your mask doesnt restrict you from seeing, breathing or hearing. It is important for you to be able to see and hear cars.

  • Wigs and beards should be properly fastened so they dont block your view or make it hard to breath.

  • Capes and other costumes, which could choke you or cause you to get tangled up, should be fastened with Velcro instead of tying them with string.

  • Don’t carry any sharp objects such as knives, swords and other costume accessories. Costume accessories should be made out of flexible material.

Watch for Traffic While Trick-or-Treating

  • Carry a flashlight with you to light up your path and to make yourself more visible.

  • Walk on sidewalks, if there are no sidewalks, walk as close to the curb as you can, facing traffic.

  • Trick-or-Treat on well-lit streets.

  • Look both ways before crossing the street. Never run between parked cars.

  • Cross streets at intersections and crosswalks and obey all traffic signs.

Eating Your Candy

  • Eat a good meal before you go out, so youre not so tempted to eat candy while youre Trick-or-Treating.

  • Dont eat your candy while youre Trick-or-Treating, wait until you can inspect each piece at home with your parents.

  • Dont eat any candy that is unwrapped or looks suspicious.

  • Report anything suspicious found in your candy to your parents, such as tacks, pins, broken glass, pills, etc. Then your parents can contact the police.

At Home

  • Turn on an outside light so Trick-or-Treaters can find their way to your door.

  • At home, remove all obstacles from your yard, porch or sidewalk to prevent falls.

  • Keep open flames away from your doorstops, driveways and sidewalks to avoid contact with costumes.

Please follow these safety rules. We want to see everyone have a Safe and Happy Halloween. Remember to report any suspicious activity to the Pevely Police Department. Call 911 for Emergencies and any of the following numbers for non-emergencies, 475-5301, 475-5302 and 475-4498.

Stranger Danger – Teach Your Children

A stranger is someone you do not know or do not know very well.

  • Strangers can be men or women.

  • They can be tall or short.

  • They can be fat or thin.

  • They can be old or young.

  • Most strangers are nice.

  • But some strangers are nasty and like to hurt children.

Never go with a stranger.

  • Never get in a car with a stranger.

  • Never take things such as candy, money or gifts from a stranger.

  • Never speak to strangers, provide assistance or give personal information to them.

  • Never go with a stranger to help look for a lost pet or play a game.

  • Never be afraid to say no – say no. Never go!

  • Never go off on your own. Always play with other children.

  • Never play near public toilets or vacant buildings.

  • Never take shortcuts through woods, back streets or empty lots.

Always stay at lest two arm lengths away from strangers, so you have room to back up and run away.

If you are frightened by a stranger run home and tell your mom or dad. If you cannot run home tell someone you trust. You can trust a policeman or policewoman, your teacher, or a grownup you know.

If a stranger approaches you in a car, try to remember the license plate number and tell your parents immediately.

Safety Tips

  • Be sure you know where your children are at all times and when they are supposed to return home.

  • Know whom your children’s friends are, where they live and how to get in touch with them.

  • Never leave a small child alone, at home or in the car, even for just a few minutes.

  • Talk to our children about Stranger Danger, but don’t frighten them. Let your kids know they can talk to you about safety issues and concerns they have.

  • Teach your children that bad people don’t necessarily look mean, they often will smile and act friendly. Teach your children no to be tricked!

  • Discuss with your children how to identify safe adults who they can go to when they are in danger, people like police and firemen.

  • Encourage your children to talk to you about places they don’t feel safe. If they feel unsafe walking to school, help them find new routes or walk with them. Don’t hesitate to talk with the school principal or the police if there is a serious problem.

  • Use role playing and “what if” scenarios so children can practice what to do and how to respond in different situations.

  • Decide a secret code word to use in emergency situations. If you can’t pick up your children yourself, make sure the person you send uses the code word. Your child should never go with anyone who does not know the code word.

  • Give your children whistles to blow on if they fall in danger. The whistles will help attract attention and may prevent a crime.

  • Avoid clothing and toys with your child’s name on it. A child is less likely to avoid someone who knows his/her name.

  • Always accompany young children to the bathroom in a public place.

If In Danger, Your Children Should Know

  • Run away and ask a safe adult for help.

  • What safe places they can go to, a police or fire station, the library, a store or a friend’s house.

  • That if a stranger follows or grabs them, they should yell real loud. Teach them to shout, “I don’t know you” or something similar, so people know they are in trouble. Tell your children it is okay for them to fight back and make as much noise as they can.

  • That if anyone touches them in their private areas, they should say “NO”. Explain that they should tell you about these kinds of incidents as soon as possible.

  • Go to the nearest cashier if lost or separated in a store or mall.

If They Are Home Alone, Your Children Should Know

  • Know how to reach you.

  • Know how and when to call 911.

  • Keep the door locked at all times.

  • Never let anyone inside, even if they know the person, if you did not give permission in advance.

  • Never open the door to a stranger. Never tell anyone on the phone they are alone.

  • Do not tell callers their name, phone number or address.

  • Take a message, but hang up right away if they don’t like what someone is saying on the phone.