Identity theft reports in Oklahoma increase
Filed by Ben Allen in Local News.
February 28, 2013
This story was written by KOSU’s Carrie Horsley.
The number one type of identity theft in Oklahoma, government documents and benefit fraud, jumped nearly 20 percent in the last year. Residents reported more than 2,000 complaints, that’s a 22% jump overall.
Diane Clay, spokeswoman for the Oklahoma Attorney General’s Office, says most of the time they tell people if you didn’t initiate the contact with a company it’s most likely fraud,
“They’re getting more sophisticated so it’s getting harder and harder to tell the difference between what is a real communications from a company you do business with and what is a scammer.”
The Federal Trade Commission ranks the state 32nd in the nation for identity fraud. And there’s a unique challenge for residents of the state. Storms ripping through Oklahoma often allow thieves to nab valuable information without much effort.
Clay says people forget their houses are full of personal information.
“People now have access to documents that may have blown a couple of miles away but they have your Social Security number. They may have your credit card, things like that, that people need to pay attention to.”
In the last two years, the state has tried to become more preventative rather than track down the thief because advances in technology make that a harder task. Clay says that you can call the Attorney General’s Office to ask if a company is legitimate.