It’s a silent crime of sorts, without you knowing someone can steal your name, your money, your credit and essentially your life and officials say identity theft is only on the rise.
"We had about 1,000 reports last year, and that was just the number of reports. A lot of elderly people have money withdrawn from their bank accounts and never report it," Attorney General Jim Hood said on Thursday.
Miss Attorney General Jim Hood was in town Thursday to promote a new law that took effect yesterday. It’s aimed at protecting you against ID theft. Local law enforcement says it’s a giant step in battling this growing crime.
ID theft is on the rise nationally as well as locally. Hopefully this new law does is allow the AG's office to issue Identity Passports. The passports are similar to a driving license but different in that you can show to anyone, law enforcement or even the back and prove you are who you say you are.
The law is also harsh on the criminal. It has increased the jail time for offenders from five to 15 years. It also makes the offender to pay restitution to the victim and pay double the costs of the investigation and it helps with the investigation, allowing the Attorney General's office to serve subpoenas to suspects.
"I think we are in a good place with this law. We are going to do everything we can and spare no expense extraditing these individuals back to Mississippi and prosecute them and set an example of them," Hood said.
Don't rely on the law and law enforcement to protect you, take your own precautions. Be cautious in sharing personal information on the phone and Internet, shred trash that has personal information or financial numbers on it and regularly check your credit report and financial statements, and always report unusual things to law enforcement. That way you will not wake up with sharing your name and possible your life with someone else.