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2010 Identity Theft PASSPORT Program Report

2010 Identity Theft PASSPORT Program Report

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Published by Mike DeWine

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Published by: Mike DeWine on Dec 21, 2010
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12/21/2010

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 November 1, 2010Re: Fiscal 2010 Identity Theft Annual ReportThe Honorable Ted StricklandGovernor, State of Ohio77 S. High St., 30
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FloorColumbus, OH 43215The Honorable Bill Harris The Honorable Capri CafaroPresident, Ohio Senate Minority Leader, Ohio Senate1 Capitol Square, 2
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Floor 1 Capitol Square, 3
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FloorColumbus, OH 43215 Columbus, OH 43215The Honorable Armond Budish The Honorable William BatchelderSpeaker, Ohio House of Representatives Minority Leader, Ohio House of Representatives77 S. High St., 14
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Floor 77 S. High St., 14
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FloorColumbus, OH 43215 Columbus, OH 43215Dear Colleagues,Identity theft is one of the most pervasive crimes in the United States. The Federal TradeCommission estimates it strikes nearly 10 million U.S. consumers and imposes $50 billion inunnecessary costs on the nation’s businesses each year.This fiscal 2010 Identity Theft Annual Report details my office’s work to provide information,education and support on this topic to Ohio consumers and law enforcement agencies.As you know, identity theft occurs whensomeone wrongfully obtains and uses anotherindividual’s personal data in a fraudulent or deceptive way, typically for economic gain.Thescope of the problem is difficult to gauge, especially because many more people are known to bevictimized by identity theft than to report it.
 
However, one thing is certain: The toll is heavy. Americans spend an estimated 300 millionhours annually addressing the fallout when their personal information — contained in credit cardand utility statements, bank records, tax returns, medical documents and more — slips into thehands of identity thieves.The FTC received 7,525 identity theft complaints from Ohioans in 2009, an 8.6 percent declinefrom the 2008 figure. The decline followed a national trend that saw total identity theftcomplaints filed with the FTC fall 11.5 percent, from 314,484 in 2008 to 278,078 in 2009.Ohio ranked 29
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per capita among the states in 2009, with 65.2 identity theft complaints filedwith the FTC per 100,000 people. In contrast, Florida ranked first with 122.3 complaints andSouth Dakota ranked last with 29.1 complaints per 100,000 people.None of Ohio’s metropolitan areas was among the top 100 nationwide in terms of complaintsfiled with the FTC. The three Ohio areas with the highest number of complaints per capita wereAkron, which ranked 115th;
 
Springfield, 126th; and Wooster, 137th.Phone and utilities fraud was the No. 1 type of identity theft Ohioans reported to the FTC in2009, accounting for 27 percent of all complaints. The other common types of complaints werecredit card fraud, 16 percent; government documents or benefits fraud, 12 percent; bank fraud, 9percent; employment-related fraud, 6 percent; and loan fraud, 4 percent. All other types of fraudcombined accounted for 22 percent of the complaints, while 6 percent of the filings involvedattempted identity theft.An early leader in helping citizens cope with identity theft, Ohio was among the first states in thenation to create an Identity Theft Verification Passport Program to help victims deal with theaftermath of identity theft.My Identity Theft Unit (part of the Crime Victims Assistance and Prevention Section) runs theprogram, which provides participants with a wallet-sized card that verifies their status as anidentity theft victim. The card — when presented to law enforcement, financial institutions,creditors and others — can help victims resolve problems more quickly.Since the Passport program was introduced in Ohio in late 2004, Attorney General’s Office staff members have conducted 982 training sessions for Ohio law enforcement personnel on how toassist victims through the Passport program. Approximately 860 of Ohio’s 980 law enforcementagencies have the equipment used to create Passport IDs for victims.Here is a look at some other telling developments during fiscal 2010 in my office’s fight againstidentity theft:
 
The Identity Theft Unit responded to more than 1,800 phone inquiries, mostly fromvictims or potential victims seeking help in responding to specific incidents.
 
The unit conducted more than 70 identity theft prevention and Passport presentations forlaw enforcement, financial institutions, senior groups, community organizations andvictim advocates across the state.

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