How To Make A Report
If the crime is in progress, call 911. If you are reporting an old forgery, credit card/debit card abuse, worthless check or identity theft, call 409-880-3862 to make the report over the phone between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, excluding holidays. You can also file a report online at any time by going to the Beaumont Police Department Police to Citizen (P2C) website.
When sending any documents to the Beaumont Police Department, please be sure to include your case number. Documents received without a case number will be returned.
Please complete the Financial Crimes Statment in additional to all other required documentation. If at all possible, we prefer that you mail or fax all information to the address/fax number listed below. Because of the volume of work done daily, it is very hard to see victims on a face to face basis. If you must bring information into our office, please call ahead for an appointed time, so that we can make sure there is ample time to see to your specific needs. Once we have received the above documents, your case will be reviewed to determine if there is sufficient information available to proceed with an investigation. The investigator assigned your case will notify you if further information is required. Your cooperation is appreciated.
Beaumont Police Department Fraud Unit
P.O. Box 3827
Beaumont, Texas 77704
Phone: (409) 880-3830 (Hours 8:00 am – 5:00 pm Monday through Friday, excluding holidays)
Fax: (409) 880-3895
In order to file a worthless check complaint, the following procedure must be followed:
The check must have been returned from the bank marked either “Insufficient Funds,” “Account Closed” or “Stopped Payment.”
A “Worthless Check Notice” (10-day) letter must be sent by certified mail, return receipt requested. Mail the letter to the address shown on the check and address it to the person who signed the check. This is state law and required for all worthless check cases. If the claim stub (green card) is returned, signed and dated, then the 10-day waiting period starts from the date the letter was claimed. However, you may bring in the unclaimed letter along with the check as soon as it is returned to you.
You must complete one “Felony Check Statement” for each check you wish to file charges. You must either be able to pick the person who passed the check out of a photo line-up or has taken proper identification at the time the check was passed. If the check is less then $1,500 you must file your case directly with the Jefferson County District Attorney’s Office and not the Beaumont Police Department. If the check is $1,500 or more, you should call 409-880-3862 to make the report over the phone between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, excluding holidays. You can also file a report online at any time by going to the Beaumont Police Department Police to Citizen (P2C) website. You are required to complete one offense report for each check. After completing your offense report and obtaining a case number, you must download and complete the “Felony Check Statement”. You will be contacted by a detective to provide the documents and original evidence.
The following checks are not accepted for investigation by the Beaumont Police Department:
Third Party Checks
Checks Accepted for Payment on Account
Rent or Mortgage Checks
Post Dated Checks
Credit/Debit Card Abuse
The following individuals/institutions may report credit/debit card abuse to the Beaumont Police Department:
Cardholder: If the card was stolen in the commission of a robbery, theft or burglary, be sure and list the card and number in the original offense report you make with the Beaumont Police Department. It is not necessary to make a separate report at this stage. If only the card or card number was stolen, then you may make an offense report for credit/debit card abuse.
Merchant/Financial Institution: You may file a report if the offense has not already been reported. If the cardholder provides you with a case number specifically for credit/debit card abuse, use that case number for all purposes, including submitting merchant forms and other additional information.
The Beaumont Police Department will only investigate offenses where the card was physically passed in the Beaumont city limits or if used online and the items purchased were shipped to or the benefit gained at an address within the Beaumont city limits. All other reports will be cleared as unfounded and not assigned to a detective.
After completing your report online and receiving a case number, write the case number on all forms before mailing. Submit all required forms at one time. The forms and report will be reviewed and assigned to detectives based upon factors that affect the ability to file the case with the Jefferson County District Attorney’s Office.
Merchant Form — A Merchant Form must be completed by the merchant at each location the card was used.
Credit-Debit Card Affidavit — The account holder must complete and provide this form before any case is investigated. This form must be notarized.
Non-Consent Form — This form is required in all cases.
The person reporting a forgery is normally the person or business that is going to suffer the financial loss. That person or business will either have the original returned check or a bank certified copy in lieu of the original document. Just because a check was passed/drawn on your account does not mean you are the person that will be reporting the offense.
You must have the original returned check or bank certified copy to make an offense report. Only checks physically passed within the Beaumont city limits will be investigated. The checks must have been passed in person and the suspect either positively identified or known to the victim.
After completing your report online and receiving a case number, write your case number on all forms before mailing. Submit all required forms at one time. Do not mail any original checks or other evidence. The forms and report will be reviewed and assigned to detectives based upon factors that affect the ability to file the case with the Jefferson County District Attorney’s Office. If your case is accepted for investigation, you will be contacted by the detective.
NOTICE TO MERCHANTS — The account holder may have already completed an offense report for the actual theft of the checks. This theft case is not normally investigated. Each merchant must make their own offense report for forgery.
Merchant Form — The merchant or financial institution, who is normally the victim, must complete one Merchant Form for each forged check being submitted. If you are submitting 10 checks, you must submit 10 Merchant Forms.
Affidavit of Forgery — The merchant must obtain an Affidavit of Forgery from the account holder. Multiple checks may be listed on one form. An Affidavit of Forgery is a notarized sworn statement attesting that the signature which appears on the questioned document is indeed a forgery and not authorized by the account holder. This form must be notarized.
Non-Consent Form — This form is required in all cases.
Identity theft occurs when a crook steals key pieces of personal identifying information, which may include name, address, date of birth, SSN and mother’s maiden name, to gain access to a person’s financial accounts. Armed with this information, an identity thief may open new credit or financial accounts, buy cars, apply for loans or Social Security benefits, rent an apartment, or set up utility and phone services in someone else’s name.
The following individuals may report identity theft to the Beaumont Police Department:
A. If you live in the Beaumont city limits and have learned you are the victim of identity theft regardless of where the suspects are located, you may make an offense report.
B. If you live outside the Beaumont city limits but have documented information that the address used by the suspects in the commission of the offense is located within the Beaumont city limits, then you may make an offense report.
The only cases that will be assigned to a detective for investigation are the cases where the suspect is documented as being within the Beaumont city limits and you provide that information in the offense report. All other cases are considered informational cases only which aid the victim in resolving the many issues that arise from these crimes. The Beaumont Police Department will not automatically forward any reports to other law enforcement agencies. If you choose to make a report with the Beaumont Police Department when the suspects are located elsewhere, it is your responsibility to report the offense to the other agency as well.
About Identity Theft
It is important to remember that the victim of identity theft is a person whose identity has been fraudulently assumed by another with the intent to obtain credit, goods, or services without the victim’s consent. No financial loss is necessary. Identity theft includes the criminal assumption of someone’s name, address, credit card information, driver’s license, social security number, and other personal data. Criminals use this information to impersonate their victims, spending as much money as they can in as short a time as possible before moving on to impersonate someone else.
Even though victims are usually not required to pay their imposters’ bills, they are often left with a bad credit report and must spend months and even years regaining their financial health. In the meantime, they have difficulty writing checks, obtaining loans, renting apartments, and even getting hired. Stealing wallets used to be the best way identity thieves obtained credit card numbers and other pieces of identification. Now more sophisticated means are commonly used:
Accessing your credit report fraudulently by posing as an employer, loan officer or landlord and ordering a copy;
Stealing mail from your mailbox to obtain newly issued credit cards, bank and credit card statements, pre-approved credit offers, or tax information, and;
Dumpster diving in your trash containers for discarded credit card and loan applications.
Identity Theft Prevention Tips
The Beaumont Police Department suggests the following crime prevention techniques to avoid becoming a victim of Identity Theft:
To minimize the amount of information an identity thief can steal, do not carry extra credit cards, a social security card, birth certificate or passport in your wallet or purse, except when needed.
To reduce the amount of personal information that is in circulation consider the following:
Remove your name from the marketing lists of the three major credit reporting bureaus, i.e., Equifax, Experian (formerly TRW) and Trans Union. This will limit the number of pre-approved offers of credit that you receive. These offers, if thrown away in the trash, are potential targets of identity thieves who will use them to order credit cards using your identity.
Sign up for the Direct Marketing Association Mail Preference Service and the Telephone Preference Service. By doing this, your name is added to computerized name deletion lists used by nationwide marketers.
Have your name and address removed from telephone books and reverse directories.
Install a locked mailbox at your residence or business to reduce mail theft or use a post office box.
When you order new checks, do not have them sent to your home address. Have them sent to a post office box or arrange to pick them up at your bank.
When you pay bills, do not place the envelopes containing your checks in your home mailbox for the letter carrier to pick up. If stolen, your checks can be altered and cashed by identity thieves. It is best to mail your checks and other sensitive mail at the post office rather than your home or neighborhood mailbox. Write checks with a fine-point permanent marker.
Pay bills with an electronic bill payment service.
Reduce the number of credit cards you actively use to a bare minimum. Carry only one or two credit cards in your wallet. Cancel all unused credit card accounts. Even though you do not use these accounts, account numbers are recorded in your credit report along with other data that can be used by identity thieves.
Keep a list and/or photocopy of all your credit cards, account numbers, expiration dates and telephone numbers of the customer service and fraud departments in a secure place (not your wallet or purse) so you can quickly contact your creditors in case your credit cards are stolen. Do the same with your bank accounts.
Never give out your credit card number or other personal information over the telephone, unless you have a trusted business relationship with the person or company and you have initiated the telephone call. Identity thieves have been known to call their victims with a fake story that goes something like this, “Today is your lucky day! You have been chosen by the “Jane and John Doe Sweepstakes Committee” to receive a free trip to Europe. All we need is your credit card number and expiration date to verify you as the lucky winner.”
Order your credit report once a year from each of the three major credit bureaus to check for inaccuracies and fraudulent use of your accounts. Make sure that you recognize every line of information established in your file.
Always take credit card receipts with you. Never throw them in a public trash container.
Watch the mail when you expect a new or reissued credit card to arrive. Contact the issuer if the card does not arrive.
When creating a password or Personal Identification Number (PIN), do not use the last four digits of your social security number, date of birth, middle name, the name of your family pet, consecutive numbers or anything else that could easily be discovered by identity thieves.
Ask your financial institution to add extra security protection to your account. Most will allow you to use an additional code (a number or word) when assessing your account. Do not use your mother’s maiden name, as that is all too easily obtained by identity thieves.
Memorize all your passwords. Do not record them on anything in your wallet or purse.
Protect your social security number. Release it only when absolutely necessary (tax forms, employment records, most banking, stock, and property transactions). The social security number is the key to your credit and bank accounts and is a prime target of identity thieves.
Do not have your social security number printed on your checks. Do not let merchants write your social security number on your checks because of the risk of fraud.
Order your Social Security Earnings and Benefits Statement once a year to check for fraud.
Carefully review your credit card statements for unauthorized use.
Do not throw preapproved credit offers in the trash or in a recycling container without first shredding them. The discarded credit offers can be used by identity thieves to order credit cards in your name and to have the credit cards mailed to their address. Do the same with other sensitive information like credit card receipts. Home shredders can be purchased at many office supply stores.
Demand financial institutions to adequately safeguard your data. Request a special password that only you would know. Memorize all passwords. Discourage your bank from using the last four digits of the social security number as the PIN they assign to customers
When you fill out loan applications, find out how the company disposes of them. If you are not convinced that they store them in locked files and/or shred them take your business elsewhere. Some car dealerships, department stores, car rental agencies, and video stores have been known to be careless with customer applications.
When you pay by credit card, ask the business how it stores and disposes of the transaction slip. Avoid paying by credit card if you think the business does not use adequate safeguards.
Store your canceled checks in a safe place. In the wrong hands, they can reveal a lot of information about you. Never permit your credit card number to be written on your checks. It places you at risk of fraud.
Any entity involved in handling personal information should train all its employees, from the top to the bottom, on responsible information-handling practices. Persuade the companies, government agencies, and nonprofit agencies with which you are associated to adopt privacy policies and conduct privacy training. Employees should be trained to check picture identification cards when accepting credit cards.
Identity Theft Victim Tips
If you become the victim of identity theft, it is important to act immediately to stop the thief’s further use of your identity. Unfortunately, at this time victims themselves are burdened with resolving the problem. It is important to act quickly and assertively to minimize the damage. In dealing with authorities and financial institutions, keep a log of all conversations, dates, names, and telephone numbers. Note the time spent and any expenses incurred. Confirm conversations in writing.
Provide your police report number to expedite reporting the crime. Send correspondence by certified mail (return receipt requested). Keep copies of all letters and documents. Sometimes victims of identity theft are wrongfully accused of crimes committed by an imposter. If a civil judgment has been entered in your name for actions taken by an imposter, contact the court where the judgment was entered and report that you are a victim of Identity Theft. If you are wrongfully prosecuted of criminal charges, contact the state Department of Justice and the FBI. Ask how to clear your name.
The Beaumont Police Department suggests you also do the following:
Report the crime to all police and sheriff departments with jurisdiction in your case immediately. Give them as much documented evidence as possible. Obtain a copy of all police reports. Keep the telephone number of your fraud detective/investigator handy and give it to creditors and others who require verification of your case. Credit card companies, banks, and insurance companies may require you to show the report in order to verify the crime. Some police and sheriff departments have been known to refuse to write reports on such crimes. Be persistent!
Immediately contact (by telephone and in writing) all creditors with whom your name has been used fraudulently. Obtain replacement cards with new account numbers for your own accounts that have been used fraudulently. Ask that old accounts be processed as “account closed at consumer’s request.” (This is better than “card lost or stolen,” because when this statement is reported to credit reporting bureaus, it can be interpreted as blaming you for the loss.) Carefully monitor your mail and credit card bills for evidence of new fraudulent activity. Report it immediately to credit grantors.
If you have had checks stolen or bank accounts set up fraudulently, notify your bank. Report the fraud to check verification companies. Place stop payments on any outstanding checks that you are unsure of. Cancel your checking and saving accounts and obtain new account numbers. Ask the bank to issue you a secret password that must be used in every transaction (not your mother’s maiden name). Write a form letter that can be mailed or faxed whenever you receive an inquiry about fraudulent checks written from your bank account. The letter should give a brief description of what happened, check numbers and check manufacturer (obtained from your bank), bank account number, case number (assigned by police or the law enforcement agency with jurisdiction), the name of the police or sheriff detective/investigator handling your case, and the name and telephone number of the customer service representative at your bank.
You may be asked by banks and credit grantors to fill out and notarize fraud affidavits, which are costly. The law does not require that a notarized affidavit is provided to creditors. A written statement and supporting documentation should be enough (unless the creditor offers to pay the notary). Overly burdensome requirements by creditors should be reported to federal government authorities.
The Secret Service has jurisdiction over financial fraud cases but it usually does not investigate individual cases unless the dollar amount is high and/or you are one of many victims of a fraud ring. To interest the Secret Service in your case, you may want to ask the fraud department of the credit card companies and/or banks, as well as the police or sheriff detective/investigator to notify the particular Secret Service agent they work with regarding your case.
Call the Social Security Administration (SSA) to report fraudulent use of your Social Security number. Also, order a copy of your Social Security Earnings and Benefits Statement and check it for accuracy. As a last resort, you might want to change your number. The SSA will only change it if you fit their fraud victim criteria. Caution: This step should be reserved for only the most extreme situations. You must be sure to notify all credit grantors and credit reporting bureaus of your new Social Security number.
Notify the local Postal Inspector if you suspect an identity thief has filed a change of address with the post office or has used the mail to commit credit or bank fraud against you. Notify the local Postal Inspector if you suspect mail theft. Theft of mail is a felony. (Call the local Postmaster to obtain the telephone number). Find out where fraudulent credit cards were sent. Notify the local Postmaster for that address to forward all mail in your name to your own address. You may also need to talk with your mail carrier.
If you have a passport, notify the passport office to be on the lookout for anyone ordering a new passport fraudulently. |
Call electrical, gas and water utilities. Alert them to the possibility that someone may attempt to open new service using your identification.
You may want to change your driver license number if someone is using your license as identification to pass bad checks. Call the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to see if another license has been issued in your name. Place a fraud alert in your DMV records. Go to your local DMV office to request a new driver license number. Also, fill out a DMV complaint form to begin the fraud investigation process. Send supporting documents with the completed form to the nearest DMV investigation office. Be persistent!
You may want to consult an attorney to determine legal action to take against creditors and/or credit bureaus if they are not cooperative in removing fraudulent entries from your credit report or if negligence is a factor. Call the local Bar Association to find an attorney who specializes in consumer law and the Fair Credit Reporting Act.
Pay attention to your own mental health. Victims of identity theft often report they are somehow to blame. They often feel violated, even powerless, due to the fact that few, if any, of the authorities they have notified of the crime step forward to help them. Psychological counseling may help you deal with the stress and anxiety commonly experienced by victims. Discuss your situation with a trusted friend, spiritual advisor or counselor.
Do not give in and do not pay any bill or portion of a bill, which is the result of Identity Theft. Do not cover any checks, which were written and/or cashed fraudulently. Your credit rating should not be permanently affected, and no legal action should be taken against you. If any merchant, financial institution or collection agency suggests otherwise, simply restate your willingness to cooperate, but do not allow yourself to be coerced into paying fraudulent bills. Write to your state and federal legislators. Demand stronger privacy protection and fraud assistance by creditors and credit reporting bureaus.
Finally, speak with the detective investigating your case, he or she may be able to assist you in obtaining a fingerprint comparison if the suspect has ever been arrested or has used your name during an arrest. You may be able to obtain information regarding any warrants connected to the arrest, this may also help in reestablishing your credit or obtaining a new social security number.
Credit Reporting Bureaus
Contact credit reporting bureaus for names and telephone numbers of credit grantors with whom fraudulent accounts have been opened. Ask the credit reporting bureaus to remove inquiries that have been generated due to the fraudulent access. You may also ask the credit reporting bureaus to notify those who have received your credit report in the last six months in order to alert them to the disputed and erroneous information (two years for employers). Immediately call the fraud units of the three credit reporting bureaus, i.e., Equifax, Experian (formerly TRW) and Trans Union. Report the theft of your credit cards or numbers. Ask that your accounts be flagged. Also, add a victim’s statement to your report, up to 100 words. (“My Identification has been used to apply for credit fraudulently. Contact me at (telephone number) to verify all applications.”) Be sure to ask how long the fraud alert is posted on your account, and how you can extend it if necessary. Be aware that these measures may not entirely stop new fraudulent accounts from being opened by an imposter. Ask the credit bureaus in writing to provide you with free copies every few months so you can monitor your credit report.
Remember, if you have been denied credit you are entitled to a free credit report. If you are the victim of fraud, be sure to ask the credit reporting bureau for a free copy of your credit report. In 1997, a law became effective requiring credit reporting bureaus to provide credit reports free of charge to victims of identity theft.
SOCIAL SECURITY ADMINISTRATION
If your Social Security number has been used fraudulently, report the problem to the Social Security Administration (SSA) at 800-269-0271. You may also order your Earnings and Benefits Statement by calling the SSA at 800-772-1213. For extreme cases of Identity Theft, they may be willing to change your Social Security number.
DIRECT MARKETING ASSOCIATION
To remove your name from mailing lists (Direct Marketing Association) write to:
Mail Preference Service
P.O. Box 9008
Farmingdale, NY 11735 To remove your name from telephone lists (Direct Marketing Association) write to:
Telephone Preference Service
P.O. Box 9014
Farmingdale, NY 11735
REPORTING THEFT OR FRAUDULENT USE OF CHECKS
To report a theft or fraudulent use of your checks call:
International Check Services (ICS): 800-526-5380
ChexSystems (Regarding closed checking accounts only): 800-328-5121 or 800-428-9623
When Identity Theft occurs, you need to act quickly, know what to do, who to contact and fully understand your rights under the law. Identity Theft exerts great emotional distress on its victims. Damage containment in each fraud case depends on how deeply the imposter has invaded your personal, professional and financial life. There are many preparatory actions one can take to prevent Identity Theft.
The information on this Web site is meant to educate consumers. You can never be too careful, prepared, or aware. Share this information with family and friends. Schedule family discussions, ensure everyone is aware and prepared in the event an identity thief strikes.
Identity Theft Related Links
Federal Trade Commission
Social Security Administration
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: I keep receiving “hot check” notices from merchants. What am I supposed to do?
A: Contact the merchant and advise them that someone is forging your checks and supply them with the police report number and have the merchant send the original check to the Financial Crimes Unit.
Q: Why is the original document required to file charges?
A: We have to be able to tie the suspect to the forged check. This is often done by processing the prints on the forged check and comparing them to the suspect. No charges can be filed if the suspect cannot be linked to the check.
Q: My checks or credit cards were stolen in the mail. Can I report them stolen?
A: Yes, however, you must report this to the U. S Postal Inspector. They have jurisdiction for investigating thefts involving the U. S. mail.
Q: What if my checks or credit cards are stolen from my purse?
A: If your checks are stolen from anywhere other than the mail, call 409-880-3862 to make the report over the phone between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, excluding holidays. You can also file a report online at any time by clicking here.
Q: What do I do if someone uses my identity to open a charge account or checking account in my name?
A: You may reduce your risk of being victimized if you do the things listed below.
Charge or Credit Account:
Immediately contact the issuer of the credit, the credit card company, such as American Express or Visa, a department store, or a bank. We also recommend contacting someone who works in the “LOSS PREVENTION” department for the company, instead of someone in their customer service department.
When your American Express, Visa, or any other card is used to purchase merchandise, you should also contact the store where the card was used. Again, contact someone who works in “LOSS PREVENTION” for the store and not someone in customer service.
Contact all three (3) of the credit reporting companies and report the incident to each of them. (Please refer to phone numbers provided below)
Q: How do I contact the credit bureaus or the check verification companies?
A: Credit Bureaus:
Trans Union Fraud Victim Assistance 800-680-7289
TRW/Experian Consumer Fraud Assistance 800-301-7195
Equifax Consumer Fraud Unit 800-525-6285
B: Check Verification Companies:
National Processing Co. 800-526-5380
*** Make ALL your notifications by telephone, and in writing.
Q: How can I reduce my risk of becoming a victim of fraud?
A: You can reduce the risk of becoming a victim of fraud by following the advice below:
Don’t use your birth date or mother’s maiden name as a password for your accounts.
Avoid writing your account numbers on your checks when paying your credit card bills. If a criminal steals your monthly bank statement, these canceled checks will give the criminal all the information he or she needs to commit fraud.
Protect your Social Security number. Be careful to whom you give it. Do NOT put it or your driver’s license number on your checks.
Shred your credit card receipts and bank statements before throwing away in the trash.
Request credit reports from each of the credit bureaus, checking for discrepancies, on a regular basis.
Q: My driver’s license was stolen and someone is using my number. What do I do?
A: If your driver’s license number is compromised you must contact the Texas Department of Public Safety. Their phone number varies depending on where you live. You can find their phone number in the BLUE pages of the telephone book under “State Government”. You should call the office nearest to your residence.