Identity Theft

What is Identity Theft?
While the use of a credit or debit card to obtain money, goods, services, or any other thing of value or benefit, or to initiate a transfer of funds, may constitute Identity Theft under Wisconsin Statute 943.201 (Unauthorized use of an individual's personal identifying information or documents) such a transaction would also constitute a Theft under statute 943.20 or a Forgery under statutes 943.48 or 943.41. Following an investigation by law enforcement, the determination of which crime to prosecute would be at the discretion of the District Attorney.
 What kind of personal Identifying Information is used?
  • Individual's name
  • Individual's address
  • Individual's telephone number
  • Unique identifying drivers license number
  • Individual's Social Security number
  • Individual's employer or place of employment
  • Employer Identification number
  • Maiden name of an individual's mother
  • Identifying number of a depository account
 What if someone uses my Credit Card/Debit Card?

This does not fall under Identity Theft. Credit Card/Debit Card fraud comes under Wisconsin State Statute 943.41, Financial Card crimes.

 What if someone uses my Bank Check?


This is not Identity Theft. When someone utters as genuine or possesses with intent to utter as false or as genuine any forged writing or object is guilty of Forgery. This falls under Wisconsin State Statute 943.38, Forgery.

 How is my personal information being obtained by an Identity thief?

  • They steal wallets and purses containing your identification, credit and bank cards.
  • They steal your mail, including your bank and credit card statements.
  • They complete a change of address card to divert mail to another location.
  • They rummage through your personal or business papers.
  • They pose as your landlord, employer or anyone who has a legitimate need for the information.
  • They get business or personal records at work.
  • They find personal information in your home, during a burglary or home repair.
  • Personal information you use on the Internet.
  • Through personal information obtained through "inside" sources. An employee may be paid by a thief to obtain information about you that appears on an application for good, service or credit.

 How do Identity thieves use my personal information?

  • They open new credit card accounts using your name, date of birth and social security number. When they use the credit card and don't pay the bill, it shows up on your credit report.
  • They establish phone, or wireless service, or cable service in your name.
  • They open bank accounts in your name and write bad checks on that account.
  • They use counterfeit checks or debit cards, and drain bank accounts.
  • They apply for auto and car loans.
  • They apply for rental properties using your personal information.

Where can I get more information on Identity Theft? 

If you have Internet access, you can go to: Wisconsin Department of Justice or United States Department of Justice.

What if I already reported this to another police department? 

If you have already reported your case to another Law Enforcement Agency, the Milwaukee County Sheriff's Office will not interfere with their investigation.

What will the Milwaukee County Sheriff's Office Criminal Investigation Division do when I call the Identity Theft Hot Line? 

An initial complaint form will be completed. You will be asked basic questions referring to your complaint.

The following information will be requested at the time of your call:

  • Name
  • Date of birth
  • Social Security number
  • Address
  • Home phone number
  • Business/cell phone number(s)
  • Place of employment
  • Do you know how your Identity was stolen?
  • Internet
  • Social Security card
  • Credit Card
  • Bank Accounts
  • Utilities
  • Telephone accounts
  • Other means
  • When did you first notice the theft?
  • How much money has been billed to you?
  • How do you think you Identity was stolen?
  • Where are the purchases being made (Milwaukee/out of state)?
  • Have you closed your bank or credit card accounts?
  • Have you contacted the three reporting Credit Bureaus
    Equifax: 1-800-525-6285
    Experian: 1-888-397-3742
    TransUnion: 1-800-680-7289
  • You will need to inform the credit bureaus you are a victim of Identity Theft and you request your accounts be "set up for a fraud alert".

All reports received from the credit bureaus, banks and credit card companies should be saved for the investigation of your case.

Have you contacted the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Identity Theft Hotline?


If your Checks have been stolen or misused, you can contact:

SCAN: 1-800-262-7771

Telecheck: 1-800-710-9898, or 927-0188

CrossCheck: 1-707-586-0431

Equifax ChecksSystems: 1-800-437-5120

International Check Services: 1-800-526-5380

 If you believe someone is using your SSN to apply for a job or to work, you can contact:

Social Security Administration Fraud Hot Line: 1-800-269-0271.

To verify the accuracy of "your" reported earnings and request a copy of "your" social security statement, call: 1-800-772-1213 (follow-up all calls in writing).

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