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updated: 11/28/2012 10:15 AM

Unwanted merchandise signals ID theft in St. Charles

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A package containing a new Apple electronic device arriving on the doorstep is typically grounds for celebration.

But in St. Charles, two recent unexpected packages signaled identity theft.

In the last week, two separate homeowners reported receiving packages -- one a MacBook laptop and another an iPhone -- that they never ordered.

Police believe someone opened a line of credit with the homeowner's information and ordered the electronics online with the plan to intercept the packages before homeowners could bring them into the house.

St. Charles police are warning residents to report immediately any packages that arrive that were not ordered by the homeowner.

"We're unsure about how they got the personal information from the victims," said Paul McCurtain, the St. Charles police spokesman. "It's very possible that there's more (incidents) and not just in our community."

Police warn residents to protect themselves from identity theft with a few simple tips:

• Shred any trash that includes charge receipts, credit card applications, medical statements, checks and bank statements and direct credit card offers.

• Occasionally check your credit report at Equifax (800) 525-6285, Experian (888) 397-3742, or Trans Union (800) 680-7289.

• Notify police and credit card companies, banks and the social security office if your purse or wallet is stolen.

• Never respond to emails that ask you to verify user names, passwords and other personal information.

For more information, contact the St. Charles Police Department at (630) 377-4435.

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