After the Crime - What should I do now?
If you think a criminal may still be nearby, CALL 9-1-1 immediately. If you are injured, seek medical attention. Do not return to the scene of the crime until you know it is safe.
Always contact your local police department to report any suspected crime. If the crime is a burglary or theft, do not touch anything until police have had a chance to inspect the area.
For Violent Crimes
After the victim is safe, check for any injuries. They may be in shock and not realize that they are injured.
Victims of violent crimes may take several days to be able to speak about what happened. They may remember more details after the initial shock of the event wears off. Contact the police if a victim finds more injuries or property damages, or remembers more details.
Many victims blame themselves for the crime. Make sure a victim has support as they recover. Some people find counseling or support groups to be helpful.
For Property Crimes
Check the area for damaged property. Document the cost to repair or replace items by finding receipts or advertised prices for the same item.
Contact your insurance company if appropriate. Florida law requires insurance companies to treat victims of crime who are 60 years or older differently. Your insurance company may be required by Florida law to waive your deductible. Call the Elder Rights Center at (561) 684-5885 for more information.
Taxpayers may be able to deduct theft or damage losses from their taxes. Check with a tax professional or www.IRS.gov to find out whether you qualify.
For Fraud, ID Theft or Personal Document Theft
Many criminals continue to use your financial information even after the original fraud has been exposed. Check your bank, credit card and other financial information carefully. Criminals often make small charges, just a few cents, to see if the victim will notice. If this goes unchallenged or unreported, they will take more. It is important to contact your bank or creditor if you see any issues, no matter how small.
Criminals may also contact you and pretend to be investigating the fraud. They may ask for account information or personal information such as your social security number. The criminal then applies for credit using your information. NEVER GIVE YOUR SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBER OVER THE TELEPHONE. Some criminals claim there is a fee or tax associated with processing your fraud claim. This is a lie. Real investigators will not charge you!
Taxpayers may be able to deduct fraud and scam losses from their taxes. Check with a tax professional or www.IRS.gov to find out whether you qualify.
You should also check your credit report to see if it shows any accounts that you did not open or addresses that you do not recognize. These could be signs of fraud or identity theft. The federal government website, www.annualcreditreport.gov is free and will not sell your information. You can use the site to get your free annual credit reports from each of the three national credit reporting agencies. It is not unusual for the agencies to have some different information.