Attorney General Mike Cox Launches Identity Theft Awareness Weeks Sept. 12-25
September 13, 2005
LANSING – Attorney General Mike Cox announced today a two-week statewide campaign to raise awareness of identity theft among Michigan’s senior citizens. From September 12 until September 25, Cox is providing educational materials and prevention tips to seniors via radio, newspaper, Internet, videos, DVDs, and community-based informational kiosks.
“Identity theft is one of the fastest-growing crimes in the United States, claiming more than 9 million victims for a total loss of $5 billion in 2004,” said Cox. “Identity thieves are targeting seniors and people living in residential care facilities and my office is working hard to provide the tools to combat identity thefts from occurring. During these next two weeks, my office will continue its two-year effort to raise awareness of identity theft’s dangers and to provide Michigan residents with the weapons to fight it.”
The final phase of Cox’s two-year “It’s MI Identity” initiative features a multi-faceted marketing campaign designed to reach Michigan residents 55 years and older. The centerpiece of the two-week campaign is a 60-second radio commercial airing on stations in Flint, Grand Rapids, Kalamazoo, Lansing, Marquette, Saginaw and Traverse City. Detroit residents can also read about the initiative in the Michigan Chronicle. In addition, more than 1,500 informational kiosks have been set up in libraries, credit unions and nursing homes across the state. Cox also developed a 20-minute educational video in cooperation with the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP), free copies of which are available by contacting Cox’s office.
Launched in November 2003 as a two-year project, Cox’s “It’s MI Identity” initiative used a $300,000 federal grant to determine the extent of victimization in resident care facilities, to develop effective prevention tools, and to serve as a model program for state and local law enforcement across the country.
Implemented by Cox’s Health Care Fraud Division, the three-prong approach includes public outreach, law enforcement training and offering credit reports at facilities to determine potential victims.
To date, more than 9,000 residents have been invited to participate in a credit report day and credit report days have been held in 81 facilities statewide. In addition, more than 250,000 brochures have been distributed, and 1,237 police officers and prosecutors from 77 counties and 236 agencies have been trained in ID theft investigation and prosecution.
Since March 1, Michigan residents can order free copies of their annual credit report by mail from: Annual Credit Report Request Service, P.O. Box 105281, Atlanta, GA 30348-5281; by telephone at 1-877-322-8228; or online at www.annualcreditreport.com.
For more information on Identity Theft Awareness Weeks, including a detailed Consumer Alert about free credit reports, information on preventing identity theft, or to report suspicious activity on your credit report, contact the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division online at www.michigan.gov/ag, toll-free at 1-877-765-8388, or write to: Consumer Protection Division, P.O. Box 30213-7713, Lansing, MI 48909.
To report on identity theft, patient abuse, or Medicaid fraud in a resident care facility, call the Attorney General’s 24-hour Hotline at 800-24-ABUSE (800-242-2873); e-mail email@example.com; or visit the Attorney General’s Web site at www.michigan.gov/ag.
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