Crime Prevention and Identity Theft

What is Identity Theft?

Identity Theft is the unlawful use of someone’s personal and/ or financial information.  The goal of the identity thief is usually to sell personal and financial information, or use that information to fraudulently obtain accounts, credit cards, utilities, medical services, cash, goods and services, etc. 

At some point during your daily life, your personal and/ or financial information can become vulnerable.  It is important to be proactive in keeping personal and financial information as private as possible.  Shredding your unneeded personal and financial documents helps accomplish this. 

Keep an eye on credit cards at businesses, and be aware of card skimming technology.  Skimmers are devices that read card numbers, and can be easily attached to smartphones.  Skimmers can also be placed on legitimate card-reading machines, such as tampered fuel pumps and ATMs.

Ask for credit cards without RFID (radio frequency identification), or use a wallet that protects RFID credit card information.  RFID technology allows thieves access to your credit card number simply by standing next to you with an RFID reading device. 

Identity theft presents many challenges for local law enforcement.  Perpetrators of this type of crime usually operate outside of the victim’s home jurisdiction.  The best opportunity for law enforcement to begin the investigation is to determine point the at which the victim’s personal and/ or financial information was compromised.  The identity theft may be connected to another crime, such as a car break-in or purse theft.

Identity Theft Follow-up Procedures

If you suspect that you’ve had your identity stolen, especially if you are experiencing financial losses, it is important that you call your local law enforcement immediately.  Depending on the type of fraud, there may be time limits that affect the victim’s financial liability.  Morton County residents outside the city of Mandan should call the Sheriff’s Office at 701-667-3330.  Mandan residents should call the Mandan Police Department at 701-667-3250.

Victims of identity theft MUST do their own follow-up to minimize and correct the financial damage.  Notify your financial institutions, including (but not limited to) your banks, creditors, utilities, insurance companies, etc. 

For your information, the Social Security Administration’s Inspector General fraud hotline is:

Victims should call all three credit bureaus and request fraud alerts to be placed on their identities.  A 90-day alert will be put in place, unless you request the “extended” alert of 7 years.  The extended alert may offer more peace-of-mind, but must be specifically requested.  The three credit bureaus may be reached at the following numbers:

Equifax:  1-800-525-6285
Experian:  1-888-397-3742
TransUnion:  1-800-680-7289

The next step that victims MUST take is to complete an Identity Theft Affidavit.  This is an 8-page federal government form that must be completed by the victim.  The national home agency for Identity Theft is the Federal Trade Commission, or FTC.  The FTC has a dedicated website to assist Identity Theft victims complete the affidavit.  Please go to the following address:

Upon completion of the affidavit, make sure to print a copy.   Take or send a copy of this affidavit to the investigating officer.  The officer’s police report, together with the Identity Theft affidavit, make up the Identity Theft Report.

Once the Identity Theft Report is complete, the victim is entitled by law to access a free copy of their credit report.  To access the free credit report, go to:

As a preventive measure, the public has a resource to check the status of their childrens’ identity.  Go to:

Four Basic Rules of Gun

Owning, possessing, and using a firearm is a large responsibility.  The following rules are a starting point for preventing accidental injury and death involving firearms. 
  • Treat all firearms as if they were loaded
  • Always point the muzzle in a safe direction
  • Be sure of your target and what is beyond it
  • Keep your finger off the trigger until you are ready to shoot


Residential burglary prevention

Lock up your buildings and vehicles.  Most of the time, this is all it takes to deter burglary and theft.  Thieves will usually look for things which can be easily carried away and consumed or converted into cash.  When they encounter difficulty, they usually move on to something easier.

Make your home look lived-in.  When you're gone, consider using timers to activate lights and AM FM radio.  Keep the curtains drawn, and consider window coverings on garage windows to conceal the absence of vehicles.  Motion lights add security to dark areas.  Keep trees and shrubs trimmed.  Make sure the lawn is cut or the driveway is shoveled while you're gone.  Have mail, newspapers, and deliveries held.  Vacant homes that are on the real estate market should be checked regularly. 

Use caution when talking about your movements.   Don't announce to people that you're leaving town, including on Facebook, other social media, or your answering machine.

Report any suspicious activity in your neighborhood to the Office.  Please provide a description of the suspicious behavior.  We rely on help from public to be proactive against criminal activity. 

Homeowners who live outside of Mandan may request house checks when they leave their homes for long periods.  To request a house check, stop by the Morton County Law Enforcement Center and complete a written request. 

Property Identification

It is a good idea to maintain an inventory of personal property in the event a crime report and/ or insurance claim are needed.  A listing of serial numbers and photographs of property may be helpful.  Firearm owners should log the make, model, caliber, and serial numbers of firearms.