Big Bear, CA, April 10, 2012, 5:00pm – In order to raise community awareness, the Big Bear Sheriff’s Station is offering a free seminar on identity theft and common fraud scams on Wednesday evening, April 11th.  Our local Sheriff’s Department has received an increased number of reports of scams and identity theft over the past three months.  Identity theft occurs when someone uses your personally identifying information, such as your Social Security number, without your permission to commit fraud or other crimes.  “Scam” is a term that covers a variety of crimes, ranging from bogus Internet auctions to the infamous Nigerian advance fee fraud schemes.  According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, an estimated 8.6 million households in the U.S. experienced some form of identity theft in 2010 with the direct financial loss estimated at $13.3 billion.  And, according to the Federal Trade Commission, California ranks third in the nation per capita for identity theft.  Although senior citizens were once considered to be the most common victims, the 18 to 29 year old age bracket accounts for almost 30% of all identity theft complaints.  All Valley residents are invited to learn more about how identity theft is committed, common Internet scams, techniques to avoid becoming a victim and information on what to do if you are victimized.  Seating is limited to 100 attendees on Wednesday at 6pm in Hofert Hall at City Hall building in Big Bear Lake located at 39707 Big Bear Blvd.