Fraud & Identity Theft
The function of the Investigations unit is the follow-up investigation of cases of check forgery, counterfeiting, and credit card theft. Patrol officers take the initial reports on all these crimes, and are able to close most cases. The Detectives assigned to the Investigations unit are actively involved in specific follow-ups in certain cases which patrol officers cannot easily accomplish. They also assist in educating Dixon businesses and residents in fraud prevention.
Non-Sufficient Funds / Account Closed Checks
The Dixon Police Department participates in the Solano County District Attorney Bad Check Diversion Restitution Program. This Program attempts to collect on checks for merchants and private persons who have been victimized by bad check writers. The Program also acts as a clearinghouse for criminal prosecutions related to Non-Sufficient Funds (NSF) and closed account check cases. Such reports should be made directly to the Bad Check Diversion Restitution Program at 866-668-4690 or you can check online.
Interwoven with many cases of fraud and forgery is a new crime, identity theft. Starting with a stolen Social Security number and a mother's maiden name, identity thieves can open new accounts in your name and obtain goods, services, and money. You first become notified when the bills start arriving or creditors calling looking for bills to be paid.
The Dixon Police Department takes reports on identity theft when your identifying information is used to obtain goods and services within the city limits. If your information is used elsewhere, we can take a courtesy report, but investigative responsibility lies where the goods or services were obtained. Read what to do if you find yourself a victim of identity theft (PDF).
Ponzi Schemes & Other "Too Good to Be True" Frauds
Still a persistent problem, are the old fashioned 'Bunco' crimes. One such fraud involved the "Canadian Lottery." An elderly resident received a call from a man identifying himself as a Canadian Lottery official. The caller told the victim he was a winner of the lottery and he needed to send a check to Canada for payment up front for taxes in Canada. Report such calls immediately to the Police Department. The common theme in all such frauds is that the victim is asked to give money up front for a prize or a gift. Also beware of Investments which promise excessive returns with relatively little investment.
Often part of other crimes, forgery of checks is a huge problem. Criminals will steal checks or counterfeit checks by using easily obtained commercial software. The checks are then forged and passed by criminals using counterfeit identification. Banks do not guarantee forged documents, so the business that accepts the check suffers the loss.
Credit Card Fraud
Credit card fraud is another huge problem, which leads to higher costs passed onto consumers. Criminals use stolen credit cards- a now growing problem of counterfeit credit cards. Since identification is normally not required, this is an easy crime to commit. Normally the credit card company absorbs the loss, providing the physical credit card was used at the point of sale.
If no credit card is presented, such as in a mail order or Internet transaction, the merchant takes the loss. Checking the card to see if it is lost or stolen does not protect the merchant in those cases. Control your credit cards closely, and if lost, report them immediately to your credit card company.