The Attorney General’s Office has compiled a new website in the effort to combat identity theft. The site takes information the office has made available previously in other forms and puts it all in one place.
Chief Counsel for Consumer Protection Doug Ommen says it teaches individuals about some of the ways ID theft can happen. That can include online “pharming,” or taking a person to a website that is a copy of the one they wanted to go to, such as a bank or credit website. Then when that person attempts to log in to the copycat website, his or her login information can be stolen. Other topics defined include “phishing,” “skimming” and “dumpster diving.”
Missourians can also learn how to tell if they have been victims of ID theft. Often such a discovery is not made until a credit application is denied or unexplained charges show up on a credit or debit card.
The website also explains how to repair damage done. An important step in that process is contacting companies where purchases have been made or other business has been transacted with the use of a stolen ID. Sample letters are available to help guide victims in that process.
Ommen says ID theft was among the top 10 types of complaints the Attorney General’s Office dealt with last year. The Federal Trade Commission estimates as many as nine million Americans are victimized each year.
Find the new website here. The Attorney General’s Office also makes available an Identity Theft Hotline at (800) 392-8222.