After the Crime - What should I do now?
If you have any reason to think a criminal may still be nearby, CALL 9-1-1 immediately. If there is any chance you have been injured, seek medical attention. Do not return to the scene of the crime until you know it is safe.
Always contact your local police department to report any suspected crime. If the crime is a burglary or theft, do not touch anything until police have had a chance to inspect the area.
For Violent Crimes
After a victim is safe, check for any injuries. In the aftermath of violence, people may not realize if they are injured.
Victims of violent crimes may take several days to be able to speak about what happened. They may remember more details after the initial shock of the event wears off. Contact the police if a victim has additional injuries, finds additional damages, or remembers more details.
Many victims blame themselves for the crime. Make sure a victim has support as they recover. Some victims find counseling or support groups to be helpful.
For Property Crimes
Check the area to see if any additional damage occurred. Document the cost to repair or replace items with receipts, bids or even advertised prices of the same item.
Contact your insurance company if appropriate. Florida law requires insurance companies to treat victims of crime who are 60 years or older differently. Ask if your insurance company waives any deductibles for senior victims of crime.
Taxpayers may be able to deduct losses from a theft or burglary from their taxes. Check with a tax professional or www.IRS.gov to find out whether you qualify.
For Fraud, ID Theft or Personal Document Theft
Many criminals continue to use your financial information even after the original fraud has been exposed. You should check your bank, credit card and other financial information carefully. Criminals often make small charges, as little as a few cents, to see if the victim will notice. If this goes unchallenged or unreported, they will take more. It is important to contact your bank or creditor if you see any issues, no matter how small.
Criminals may also contact you pretending to be investigating the fraud. They may ask for account information or personal information such as your social security number. The criminal then uses this to obtain credit with your information. NEVER GIVE YOUR SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBER OVER THE TELEPHONE. Some criminals claim there is a fee or tax associated with processing your fraud claim. This is a lie. Real investigators will not charge you.
You may also wish to check your credit report to see if it shows any accounts that you did not open. The federal government site www.annualcreditreport.gov is free and will not sell your information. You can use the site once every year to check all three national credit reporting agencies. It is not unusual for the agencies to have different information.