Oxford Police offer ways to protect your personal identity following recent arrests
Following the Sept. 2 arrest of Matthew Brown for obtaining for unlawful use, personal identity information, Oxford Police Department has some guidelines for protecting personal information.
Brown, 27 of Oxford, was arrested following a victim’s report that his credit card information has used to order Landshark Delivery. After an investigation, OPD discovered five more victims, but according to Capt. Hildon Sessums, the number could be even higher as the investigation continues.
“We’re trying to figure out how (Brown) got this information, but we know… it didn’t matter if they were local. The guy who reported it was not local, he was from Georgia and had only been to Oxford a few times. But we also found victims that had never been to Oxford, that lived out in Texas,” Sessums said. “This guy was getting information, setting up accounts with an address. I guess he slipped up and just ordered food one night.”
Scenarios of identity theft are all too common in the LOU community, Sessums said.
However, he said, there are a few easy ways to protect oneself from identity theft. Criminals become more advanced every day, so it’s not always foolproof, but staying informed is a good place to start, he said.
“A good idea is to always do a yearly credit check on yourself. The government allows you to do a free credit report check, like freecreditreport.com,” Sessums said. “Just find out if you have any open accounts that you have not opened. Then you can go from there with your credit card company.”
According to Ramsey Solutions, victims of identity theft have a few options when it comes to repairing the damage. The first step is to notify banks and credit card companies, and close all accounts. From there, report any suspicious charges and accounts to the three credit bureaus, Experian, Equifax and Transunion, both over the phone and in writing.
Placing a fraud alert and freeze on credit reports is also a good option, Ramsey Solutions said. A freeze will not impact credit scores. The final step is reporting the identity theft to local authorities, providing information such as date ranges, dollar amounts and physical copies of receipts or bank account activity logs.
“There’s not a day that goes by, I don’t think, that we don’t take an identity theft report,” Sessums said. “You just have to protect yourself, protect your information, never give it out to strangers.”
Those who suspect they may be a victim of Brown’s or another suspected identity theft are encouraged to call OPD at 662-232-2400.
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