February 3, 2006
Jefferson City, Mo. — Attorney General Jay Nixon is kicking off National Consumer Protection Week (Feb. 5-11) by offering new tools to Missourians who are victims of identity theft and other types of consumer fraud. Beginning Feb. 6, consumers will be able to go to www.ago.mo.gov and fill out and submit consumer complaints online.
“This is another way to make government more effective and more efficient,” Nixon said. “Last year, we handled nearly 90,000 complaints and inquiries from consumers, and that number is going to grow. The option to send consumer complaints electronically will be easy, quick and secure.”
The other new tool to fight fraud from Nixon’s office, also available beginning Feb. 6, will be a new, separate complaint form for identity theft.
“In the last six months, we’ve received almost 300 complaints about identity theft,” Nixon said. “I expect that number to also increase, as more consumers learn how to detect and report identity theft. Right now, many victims of identity theft don’t report the problem to the authorities.”
The Federal Trade Commission reported that identity theft made up nearly 40 percent of all consumer complaints in 2005. The FTC says 3,920 of those identity theft complaints came from Missouri.
Nixon says the most common identity theft complaints to his office involve thieves making unauthorized bank withdrawals; opening new credit card accounts; establishing new cellular phone service; and stealing personal information through bogus email messages known as “phishing.” In preventing identity theft, Nixon reminds Missourians to:
Consumers can get more information on preventing identity theft and other consumer fraud on the Attorney General’s Web site, www.ago.mo.gov.