Avoiding Identity Theft

There are over 1.5 million records housed in the Broome County Clerk's Office. While we are vigilant to not include personally identifying information (date of birth, social security number, address, etc.) in our on-line records, from time to time we are made aware of personal information that is found on our public website. In cases such as these we immediately remove the document in question, redact the identifying information and rescan the document into the public website. If you see an instance of personal information that is contained in one of our on-line documents, please call the County Clerk's Office at 607.778.2255 or 607.778.2451 to report it.

We also require those who insist on filing documents that contain personal identification information to sign a waiver stating that they do not wish to redact the sensitive information. The waiver is filed along with the document.

Identity theft is a serious crime and people whose identities have been stolen can spend a great deal of time and money cleaning up the mess. During an identity theft, the thief obtains some piece of your sensitive information from an everyday transaction and uses it without your knowledge to commit fraud or theft.

Identity theft can occur in a variety of ways:

  1. Dumpster Diving: rummaging through trash looking for bills or other papers with your personal information on it.
  2. Skimming: stealing credit or debit card numbers by using a special storage device when processing your card.
  3. Phishing: pretending to be financial institutions or companies and sending internet spam or pop-up messages to get you to reveal personal information.
  4. Changing Your Address: diverting your bills to another location by filing a change of address form at the post office.
  5. “Old Fashioned” Stealing: taking wallets, purses, mail, tax information, new checks or personal records from employers.

You can greatly reduce your chances of becoming a victim of identity theft by making some simple changes:

  1. Shred documents that contain your personal information when you are finished with them.
  2. Don’t give out personal information over the phone or Internet unless you know the merchant is legitimate or that the transmission line is secure.
  3. Guard your mail. Pick up your mail promptly. Mail important documents directly from the post office. If you are out of town, have mail held at the post office until you return.
  4. Choose secure passwords that contain a combination of numbers and letters.
  5. Check financial statements and credit reports regularly for unauthorized or suspicious transactions.
  6. Shred all ATM and bank receipts and don’t leave credit card receipts behind. Always check your monthly statement.

If you suspect that someone has been using your personal information unlawfully, you need to take immediate action to minimize damage.

  1. Report any fraudulent activity to the appropriate law enforcement jurisdiction.
  2. Report the problem to the creditor associated with the fraudulent activity.
  3. Contact your credit card issuer or bank to report the suspected activity.
  4. For misuse of your Social Security number call 1-800-269-0271.
  5. For misuse of your Driver’s License call NYS DMV License and Registration Crimes Unit, (518) 473-6464 and request form FI-17, Report of Unauthorized Use/Duplication of License or Registration.
  6. Call the fraud help lines of the three major credit bureaus and ask them to “flag” your file with a “fraud alert”.
    • Trans Union Fraud Victim Assistance Department, (800) 680-7289
    • Experian Consumer Fraud Assistance, (888) 397-3742
    • Equifax Consumer Fraud Division, (800) 525-6285