Colorado Attorney General John Suthers has released an Identity Theft Repair Kit to help combat the growing threat of identity theft in the state. The 21-page booklet will provide useful information on how to prevent identity theft and what to do if you become a victim.
“Identity theft is the fastest growing crime in America,” commented Attorney General Suthers. “I, myself, have been a victim, and no Coloradan is immune. We hope to have these repair kits in the hands of Colorado citizens as soon as possible. The detailed checklist for victims will be invaluable.”
The Attorney General has partnered with Lakewood-based FirstBank Holding Co. to ensure the booklet can be provided cost-free to Coloradans. FirstBank will distribute more than 20,000 of the repair kits through its 118 Colorado branch locations. The company will also pay the printing costs for the booklet, estimated at more than $14,000.
“As Colorado’s largest locally-owned banking organization, FirstBank was a logical partner for the Attorney General’s Office in this endeavor,” said FirstBank Chief Operating Officer David Baker. “We are excited to be a part of this effort, and look forward to helping Attorney General Suthers spread the word about preventing this crippling crime.”
The booklet was produced by the Attorney General’s Office over the course of several months. Among the booklet’s tips for preventing identity theft:
*Never provide personal identifying information during a telephone call you did not initiate. Banks and credit card companies do not call to “verify” account information.
* Do not carry your social security card in your purse or wallet, and never have the number printed on your checks, driver’s license, or other financial documents.
* If any organization uses your social security number for identification purposes, call or write and ask that a different number be used.
* Never respond to pop-up messages on your computer claiming a problem with your credit card or other account.
* Use a cross-cut shredder to dispose of any personal documents you no longer need.
* Password protect all credit card accounts that allow it.
* Control access to your credit history by calling 888-5-OPT-OUT.
* Never leave outgoing mail in an unsecured mailbox overnight.
* Arrange to pick up new checks at your bank instead of having them delivered.
* Take all credit card and ATM receipts with you after any transaction.
* Write a letter to any financial institution you do business with and ask that they not share your information with third parties.
The repair kit also contains a 10-step checklist for victims of identity theft. It includes credit bureau phone numbers and online contacts, information on how to file a report with the FTC, and other relevant instruction.
“Education is our greatest weapon in the fight against identity theft,” the Attorney General said. “No single measure can end the ID theft epidemic, but these repair kits will give Coloradans the tools they need to strike a blow against this dangerous breed of white-collar criminal.”
For more information on preventing identity theft, or to procure an electronic copy of the ID Theft Repair Kit, visit http://www.ago.state.co.us/idtheft/IDTheft.cfm.
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