COLUMBUS - Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine today announced that his office's Identity Theft Unit received nearly 3,500 complaints and helped identity theft victims clear over $1 million in fraudulent debt during the unit's first three years of existence, according to complaint information.
"Identity theft continues to be a serious problem for many Ohioans," Attorney General DeWine said. "Victims can experience lower credit scores, rejection for a loan or a job, or even an arrest for a crime they did not commit. Our goal is to give people the direction and assistance they need to resolve the negative effects of identity theft and move on with their lives."
In September 2012, Attorney General DeWine announced the creation of the Identity Theft Unit, a division of the Consumer Protection Section.
The unit helps victims correct problems typically associated with identity theft. At a victim's request, a specialist will work with creditors, collectors, credit reporting agencies, law enforcement, and other organizations on the victim's behalf.
A Trumbull County consumer reported a fraudulent $5,000 online loan taken out in his name. The Identity Theft Unit worked with the online lending company to clear the loan debt and with the credit reporting agencies to ensure the entry was removed from the victim's credit report.
In another case, a Portage County consumer reported that an unknown person had used his personal information to open online accounts and make over $3,400 in fraudulent charges. The Identity Theft Unit worked with the companies to close all of the accounts and resolve the fraudulent charges.
Attorney General DeWine offers the following tips for avoiding and detecting identity theft:
Consumers who believe they have been the victim of identity theft should contact the Ohio Attorney General's Office at 800-282-0515 or www.OhioAttorneyGeneral.gov.