Identity Theft Thwarted

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It could have turned the holiday season into a blizzard of red tape and heartache. Instead, a sharp employee at the QVC home shopping network thought a name on an order sounded suspicious and called Amy Von Somogyi of Payson.

Von Somogyi was asked by the QVC employee if she had placed an order for a camcorder to be sent to James Bond in Norfolk, Va.

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Amy Von Somogyi is keeping a close watch on her credit cards these days, and has the credit reporting companies doing the same. Recently Von Somogyi was the victim of identity theft, but an alert employee at a home-shopping network suspected something was amiss when “James Bond” tried to make a purchase with one of her credit cards.

Oddly enough, only 20 minutes earlier Von Somogyi had been channel surfing, stopped on the QVC channel to check the price it was asking for the camcorder, but she had not placed an order. In fact, it had been a couple of years since she had ordered anything from the company.

The name “James Bond” was a red flag for the QVC operator.

When Von Somogyi said she had not made the order, it was canceled. The Payson woman said it took her an hour to cancel the bank card the individual had been able to use.

She has no idea how they were able to get her card number. She said she was told by the Payson Police Department that the people who are professional identity thieves are able to take a scrap of financial information about someone, then use the Internet to get more material until they have enough to steal their identity and use up their financial resources.

“The police said those people don’t care. They feel they can’t be caught,” Von Somogyi said.

She only had to cancel the one card, but she is being especially vigilant.

Vigilance is exactly what Sgt. Tom Tieman of the Payson Police Department recommends.

“Watch where you have your Social Security number. Be careful giving it out. Care is needed when using credit cards. People need to take care of their personal property,” he said.

Tieman said there have not been many cases of identity theft in the area, but those that have occurred were usually the result of women leaving their purses in their cars, men leaving wallets on the dashboard.

He said when the Internet is used to make purchases, people need to be sure they are dealing with a reputable company.

Other tips for avoiding identity theft offered by Von Somogyi include making a list of every credit card and piece of identification you carry with you, the account numbers where applicable and the phone number to call to cancel the cards in the event they are stolen. It would work just as well to make copies, she said.

Every piece of mail that comes to you with account numbers, your bills, offers for new credit cards, bank statements, should be destroyed once you are finished with them, she said.

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