Woodland woman arrested

Published 4:45 pm Wednesday, January 22, 2014

WOODLAND – A Woodland woman faces Identity Theft charges following her arrest here Tuesday.

Northampton County Sheriff Jack Smith reported that 48-year-old Susan Renee Fitch was arrested and charged with two counts of Identity Theft.

Susan R. Fitch

Susan R. Fitch

The Sheriff said that on Dec. 6, 2013, the victim in this case reported to Northampton Sheriff’s Captain Chuck Hasty that while reviewing their credit report they noticed a account that was in collection and several other store accounts they knew nothing about.

“During the investigation, Captain Hasty discovered there was a second victim in the case that had passed away in 2010,” Smith said.

Fitch was taken to the Northampton County Sheriff’s Office for processing where she was given a $2,000 bond and a court date of Jan. 23.

Northampton Sheriff’s Sgt. Jonathan Jenkins and Woodland Police Officer Clarice Hagborne arrested Fitch in Woodland.

Smith said identity thieves steal a victim’s personal information to commit fraud by opening accounts for services and/or credit cards.

“They can hurt your credit and cost you money, time and reputation,” Smith stressed.

To prevent identity theft, Smith advised citizens to follow these tips:

Don’t carry your Social Security card in your wallet or write it on your checks. Only give out when it absolutely necessary.

Protect your PIN numbers. Never write a PIN on a credit/debit card or on a slip of paper kept in your wallet.

Watch out for people around you; use your free hand to shield the keypad when using debit/credit cards at gas pumps or paying at stores; as well as while visiting an ATM.

Collect mail promptly; ask the post office to put your mail on hold when you are away from home for more than a day or two or have a neighbor/family member collect it.

Pay attention to your billing cycles. If bills or financial statements are late or do not come to your mailing address, contact the company.

Get your receipts and compare them with account statements. Watch for unauthorized transactions.

Tear up or shred unwanted receipts, credit offers, account statements, expired cards, etc., to prevent dumpster divers getting your personal information.

Store personal information in a safe place. Don’t leave it lying around.

Don’t respond to unsolicited requests for personal information in the mail, over the phone or online.

Install firewalls and virus-detection software on your home computer.

Check your credit report once a year.

Those who feel their identity has been compromised are urged to immediately contact their bank/credit union or financial institution as well as your local law enforcement agency.