With the New Year around the corner, this is the time to make sure you are not a victim of identity theft and fraud.
The Palm Beach County Clerk & Comptroller’s office offers free services to help ensure your safety. The office houses the county’s trove of sensitive information.
“We take that responsibility to heart,” said Clerk & Comptroller Sharon Bock.
It’s also what worries Bock the most.
“I'm asked frequently what keeps me up at night, clearly hacking keeps me up at night,” said Bock.
Her office works tirelessly to help safeguard county residents' personal information.
“There will always be an identity thief out there the way there used to be thieves for checks, thieves for pocketbooks,” explained Bock.
The first line of defense: go to MyPalmBeachClerk.com, click on Court Records and type your name to see what comes up.
“Make sure that there is nothing in there that has your name, Social Security number or any information that would be deemed confidential under the law,” said Bock.
Sign up for the free Property Fraud Alert program that tracks real estate records and alerts you to possible fraud. “Make sure there isn't a lien in there that someone nefariously put in,” said Bock.
And if you know someone who is a ward of the state, such as a child or elder, and you suspect someone is taking advantage of them, email or call the Guardianship Fraud Hotline.
“We will actually investigate, subpoena and make sure that this ward or person under guardianship is protected both financially and physically,” said Bock.
Remember, if anyone claiming to be from a government agency asks for your Social Security or credit card information, Bock says, “Do not answer an email that asks for sensitive information, just delete it.”