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Chatham helps seniors at risk of fraud after laptop theft

Chatham County has expanded services and given advice to seniors put at risk by the theft a laptop computer belonging to a state employee in late October.

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PITTSBORO, N.C. — Chatham County has expanded services and given advice to seniors put at risk by the theft in late October of a laptop computer belonging to a state employee.

The Chatham County Council of Aging has offered advice to seniors calling their office at 919-542-4512. County officials said their clients have had a hard time getting through a state hotline (1-800-662-7030).

Last week, the state Department of Health and Human Services sent out a letter to seniors placed at risk of identity theft by the computer theft.

"You do not have to worry about this issue if you did not receive a letter from DHHS," said Angel Dennison, director of the Chatham County Council on Aging.

The laptop, stolen in the Atlanta airport, contained personal information about some clients receiving home and community services from the Division of Aging and Adult Services. The computer was password-protected.

Chatham county officials recommended that seniors who got the DHHS letter:

  • Obtain a free credit report from all three credit bureaus by calling 1-877322-8228, going to www.annualcreditreport.com or visiting the Council of Aging's offices in Pittsboro or Siler City.
  • Review the credit report carefully for any suspicious activity, such as unauthorized credit card changes. If you see any suspicious activity, contact the credit bureau and the credit card company to file a dispute.
  • Place a free, 90-day fraud alert on your credit report by calling TransUnion between 8 a.m. and 11 p.m. at 1-800-680-7289. You can also mail a request to: Equifax, Office of Fraud Assistance, P O Box 105069, Atlanta, GA 30348. Include proof of identity, such as a copy of a Social Security card or W-2 statement, and proof of address, such as a copy of a utility bill or current driver’s license.
  • Consider ordering a security freeze, which prevents your credit information from being accessed without authorization. The freeze can be ordered from any of the three credit bureaus.
  • Only if your Social Security number has been used by someone else should you need to get a new one.

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