“Identity theft is one of the fastest growing crimes in our country and in our state affecting many citizens and businesses annually,” said Attorney General Jim Hood. Hundreds of Mississippians are victimized by identity theft each year. In Fiscal Year 2012, the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division opened 315 identity theft related cases, compared to 229 in Fiscal Year 2011.
Identity thieves gain access to this information in several different ways which include stealing wallets, stealing mail, rummaging through trash, or through deception or interception via the Internet or via telephone. Once the identity thief has a consumer’s personal information, it is often used to empty the victim’s personal and business bank accounts, to establish new credit lines and even to change to the consumer’s billing address.
While total prevention is not always possible, there are several steps consumers can take to better protect their personal information from identity thieves. The Attorney General continues to recommend the regular shredding of personal documents before they are discarded. Buying a shredder for your home is an inexpensive and yet extremely valuable investment highly recommended by the Attorney General. The AG also regularly hosts throughout the year, with a variety of partners, FREE consumer shred days. The next such event will be an event on in the central Mississippi area on October 20 at Watson Quality Ford (6130 I-55 North) in Jackson, 7:30am-12:30pm. This event is in partnership with the Better Business Bureau of Mississippi, Cintas, Credability and other private partners such as Brown Bottling Group, McAlister’s Deli and the Mississippi Braves.
“My primary goals are to help prevent future identity thefts and vigorously prosecute the criminals who profit from these crimes,” said Attorney General Hood.
More information about protecting your identity can be found at www.agjimhood.com <http://www.agjimhood.com> . Any questions or concerns can be addressed by the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division at 601-359-4230 or toll free at 1-800-281-4418.