In the wake of the Target breach which was discovered last month involving the compromising of millions of Americans’ credit and debit card data, some local law enforcement agencies are stepping up their efforts to protect their communities from identity theft.
One of these groups is the Michigan State Police, who announced the unveiling of an identity theft awareness campaign last week. Beginning this month, the community service troopers of the Michigan State Police Metro Post in Oak Park are making themselves available to the community to give “identity theft awareness seminars.” The Troopers plan to give presentations at town hall meetings, civic and service organization meetings, business luncheons, and various other get togethers.
In the presentations, Troopers will educate and provide awareness tips to concerned consumers and victims of identity theft. State police officials say they’re launching this campaign “in response to the security breach at a major retailer which exposed the sensitive financial information of many Michigan citizens.”
In addition to the education piece, Michigan law makers are stepping up efforts to curb financial crime as well. Michigan Governor Rick Snyder recently signed a new identity theft provision into law that attempts to curb the use of illegal skimmers commonly used by thieves to steal credit and debit card information. As of the turn of the New Year, it is now illegal in Michigan to sell, purchase, or use so-called “skimmer” devices. Skimmers are installed on ATM’s and other credit card readers. Under the new law, offenders could face felony charges punishable by up to five years in prison and a $100,000 fine. This bill was part of a package that also aims to increase punishments for other types of identity related crime. The state legislature passed these bills with unanimous support. According to FTC data, Michigan is currently the state with the 4th highest rate of consumer complaints related to identity crime (behind Florida, Georgia, and California) with 12,075 reported cases of identity theft last year. According to this data, 1 in 200,000 Michigan residents were victimized.
We at the Identity Theft Resource Center applaud the efforts of law enforcement communities like this one who’ve taken an interest in stepping up their awareness and enforcement around identity crime. One of the biggest challenges a victim of identity theft can potentially face is gaining the assistance of their local law enforcement communities. Awareness campaigns coupled with more effective laws and stronger punishments are beneficial not only because they help deliver vital information to concerned consumers and victims, but they also serve to make members of law enforcement themselves more aware of the issues identity crime can create and promotes a more proactive role on the part of law enforcement in the mitigation and clean-up of these crimes.
For more information about how law enforcement can help you with an identity theft issue, or for more general information on identity theft and financial fraud, please don’t hesitate to contact our call center at (888) 400-5530 or visit our website at www.idtheftcenter.org.
“Michigan Police Ramp Up ID Theft Awareness Campaign“ was written by Matt Davis. Matt is Director of Business Alliances at the Identity Theft Resource Center. We welcome you to post/reprint the above article, as written, giving credit to the author and linking back to the original posting.