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Crime & Courts

St. Charles police warn of scams using residences

ST. CHARLES – Electronics delivered to two St. Charles residences in the last week are believed to be cases of identity theft, the St. Charles Police Department said Monday.

And it's "very likely" other city residents could receive a similar package as well, police spokesman Paul McCurtain said.

Both packages were addressed to the residents, but they did not order the items – an Apple MacBook laptop and an iPhone, McCurtain said.

The residents contacted the company that shipped the merchandise and determined someone had established a new line of credit in their names, he said.

Police noted the residents did not authorize the lines of credit, which appeared to be opened this month.

McCurtain said police believe the suspect or suspects planned to intercept the delivery and collect the packages before the residents got home from work. The residents, however, were home for the UPS delivery and reportedly found the items soon afterward.

McCurtain said the residents made arrangements to return the items, which were ordered online, before calling the authorities.

Police, however, encourage citizens to immediately call 911 if they get a package they didn't order, McCurtain said. This way, he said, police could start their investigation sooner and possibly conduct surveillance on the item.

Police do not know where the residents' personal information was obtained, McCurtain said.

He offered these identity theft prevention tips:

• Shred trash containing personal information, including charge receipts, credit card applications, medical statements, checks and bank statements, and direct mail credit card offers.

• Occasionally check your credit reports by calling Equifax at 800-525-6285, Experian at 888-397-3742 or Trans Union at 800-680-7289.

• Notify the police and your credit card companies, banks and Social Security office if your purse or wallet is stolen.

• Never respond to emails that look like legitimate requests from financial institutions to verify usernames, passwords and other information.

For information, visit the St. Charles Police Department, 211 N. Riverside Ave., to talk with an officer or request an identity theft victim packet.

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