Identify Theft On The Rise In Michigan - WLNS TV 6 Lansing - Jackson | Your Local News Leader

Identify Theft On The Rise In Michigan

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They say it can happen anywhere, at anytime, to anyone: identity theft. 

A new study from the Federal Trade Commission says identity theft is up nationally and it's even up higher across Michigan.

It's one of those things you don't really think about until it happens to you. But the Federal Trade Commission found that in 2011 identity theft went up 11 percent across the nation and up 18 percent here in Michigan.

In fact Michigan ranks 13th in the number of complaints filed last year.

32% of identity theft complaints in Michigan came from government documents or benefits fraud.

Michigan State Police and the Attorney General's office say they're not really surprised by this because financial crimes are the kind of crimes they're seeing increase at the fastest rate as the economy continues to recover.

They also attribute it to the growing use of technology, which cuts out that face to face interaction, making it even more important to stay alert.

"It's more important than ever that were absolutely vigilant on our own credit. We need to look at our own credit reports. We can do that free up to 3 times a year. On the flip side of that you have to be very careful about where your information is going in the first place," said John Sellek, Attorney General Spokesperson.

"The best advice is protect your personal identification...know the person you are talking to. Know the person or institution you are talking to when you initiate the contact with that institution or person... things are already a lot more safe," said Inspector Gene Adamczyk, Lansing - Michigan State Police.

It may also be good to consider keeping only what you need in your wallet, not leaving your mail out for days and shredding any account information before you throw it out.

The Attorney General's office says senior citizens are actually one of the biggest targets.

If you are a victim of identity theft or want to find out more about preventing it visit the FTC's and Michigan State Police's websites.

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