Montana Attorney General Tim Fox is urging Montanan’s to take steps to prevent identity theft. He recommends consumers make sure personal information stays secure by utilizing safety best practices.
Fox and the Office of Consumer Protection say people can protect themselves from identity theft by checking the legitimacy of websites, taking advantage of privacy settings and shredding documents that contain personal information.
According to the Montana Board of Crime Control, the number of fraud cases in Montana increased over 50% in the past four years; between 2014 and 2015 reports of identity theft grew the largest increasing by 39 percent. In both 2014 and 2015 there were almost 1,500 cases of identity theft in Montana.
Identity theft is the number one fraud offense in Montana and can happen to anyone.
“Identity theft can and does happen to people from all different backgrounds,” said Fox. “Con artists target senior citizens, business owners, and everyday users of technology with equal malice. Fortunately, consumers are gaining awareness of many of the tricks scammers use to steal personal information thanks in part to observations like Data Privacy Day, which has taken place since 2008.”
If you are a victim of identity theft the Office of Consumer Protection suggests contacting local law enforcement and notifying your financial institutions.