Identity Theft on the Rise in North Dakota

Chris Gallegos
8/10/2007 – A new study just released has placed three North Dakota cities on a list no city wants to be on. Bismarck, Fargo and Grand Forks rank among the top ten cities in the growth of identity theft.

The statistics are alarming. Nearly ten millions Americans are victims of identity theft resulting in a loss of 56-billion dollars a year.

And now one study says North Dakota is one of the “hot spots” in the country.

US Bank Sales and Services Manager Darrel Eberle says they know what to look for.

“We`re always on the lookout for things like that,” said Eberle.

He says they are pretty fortunate they don`t see much in the way of ID theft, but they always educate all of their clients on this topic. This is a topic the Attorney General`s office has been working on for at least the past three years.

“One of his top priorities in consumer protection is preventing identity theft and assisting identity theft victims,” said Parrell Grossman, Director of Consumer Protection and Antitrust Division in the Attorney General`s office.

The Attorney General`s office was a key player in passing a security freeze option for North Dakota residents.

“Before that creditor opens a new account or credit card or bank account, they are going to need access to the consumer`s credit history,” said Grossman.

The Attorney General`s office says one of the more common ways thieves steal people`s identity is because they don`t shred paperwork properly before they throw it away. They say the best way to protect yourself is to be vigilant with your personal information.

Avoid such things like giving out your security information and account numbers and make it a point to check your credit history at least once a year.

“This is a crime that is increasing exponentially and we`re very concerned North Dakota consumers become aware of the crime,” added Grossman.

So that they become aware of how to prevent it.

To get more information on how to protect yourself from identity theft or to learn more about the AG`s security freeze option, you can log onto www.ag.nd.

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