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New York designates November 2008 as “Identity Theft Awareness Month in New York.” What does this month offer consumers regarding protection and information from identity theft.
New York is focusing on their fastest growing crime in November. The New York State Assembly has recognized the pervasiveness of identity theft crimes in their state and confirmed a resolution that designates November 2008 as “Identity Theft Awareness Month in New York.”
Identity Theft Statistics (2006)
* 8.3 million Americans were victims of identity theft
* Over 16,000 New Yorkers were victims of identity theft
* New York ranks 8th per capita in identity theft crimes.
* 33 billion dollars were stolen through identity theft.
* On average an identity theft crime robs victims over $6,000 and they incur an additional $1,200 in out of pocket expenses.
* It takes an average of 55 hours of personal time to rectify the consequences of identity theft.
New York also recently passed a state law requiring law enforcement to take full information in identity theft cases. However, it is estimated that a full two thirds of identity theft victims do not contact the police. New York hopes to change those statistics with awareness and prevention through the Identity Theft Awareness Campaign. Assemblywoman Audrey I. Pheffer, who introduced the resolution stated, “Identity theft is an extremely important consumer fraud concern and a serious financial crime. Working with the New York Credit Union Foundation and the Credit Union Association of New York to proclaim November 2008 ‘Identity Theft Awareness Month,’ I believe, will educate the consumer and help prevent this crime.” New York has also confirmed a resolution to support a public service campaign sponsored by the New York Credit Union Foundation and the Credit Union Associations of New York.
New York’s recent program “Who Are You? Identity Thieves Really Want to Know” will focus on educating New Yorkers on how to avoid being an identity theft victim. The campaign included five video public service messages that feature Assemblyman Peter M. Revera and Assembly Minority Leader James N. Tedisco. There are also a series of longer videos featuring Mindy A. Bockstein from the New York State Consumer Protection Board. All videos are being produced in English and Spanish.
When James Tedisco speaks during the campaign, he speaks from experience. Tedisco was a victim of identity theft years ago. In 2006 an identity thief from Long Island, New York ran up $15,000 in under 24 hours using stolen credit cards. Tedisco was one of the two victims in this case. Interestingly, identity theft had only been on the books as a felony in New York since 2002.
The New York Credit Union Foundation and the Credit Union Association of New York’s identity theft campaign comes right on the heels of a new awareness campaign launched by AARP and Google.
Will the identity theft awareness campaigns help?
Here’s what Assemblyman Tedisco has to say: “Several years ago, I was the victim of identity theft. I know first- hand the stress and suffering it can cause. If this educational campaign helps even one person avoid the devastation of identity theft it is worth the effort.”
While New York has officially dedicated the month of November as Identity Theft Awareness month, all citizens should take heed to being aware, safe and secure. As the holidays approach consumers will be shopping on line, in stores and by phone in record numbers. Taking the time to prevent identity theft can protect you from becoming not just an identity theft statistic, but a real victim and that’s something we can all be thankful for this November and in the months to come.