Louisiana Among Top Five States for Identity Theft and Fraud

According to the Federal Trade Commission Louisiana is among the top five states when it comes to the highest per capita rates of fraud and identity theft.  ABC 31 News Joel Massey has more from the Alexandria Police Department on how you can avoid being a victim.

Lane Windham with the Alexandria Police said, “It’s a problem here in Alexandria as well as the state of Louisiana actually it’s a problem nationwide we have people trying to scam usually the elderly but it can be of any age.”

Windham can attest to the fact that identity theft is a big problem.  According to the Federal Trade Commission 2.4 million Americans reported fraud with a total of 8.8 billion dollars lost to scams and Louisiana is among the top five states with losses.

“Usually it involves either telephone calls or it involves emails or even texts.  They’ll try to call, email or text you and tell you either your credit card has been canceled your debit card been canceled, your social security card’s been canceled.  They’ll give you some type of a bogus story and want you to contact them back.  And then when you contact them back they’ll ask you a lot of personal questions to try to obtain a lot of personal information.”

The FTC said the most popular scams last year included imposter or romance scams followed by online shopping scams, sweepstakes and lottery scams.  Windham has tips on what to do if you are contacted by an identity thief.

“When you get a text if you get an email get a phone call do not give those people any type of information at all.  If they’re saying they’re from the social security administration, if they’re saying they’re from your bank another bank, do not give those people any type of information.  You contact the business itself that they’re claiming to be to see if they’re actually trying to be in contact with you.”

Windham said that the number of identity theft cases for Alexandria is down for the year.  He attributes that to more people being educated about scams.  APD has caught a few culprits this year.

“So far we’ve been able to make several arrests on those.  But like I say we’re trying to educate the public to make sure we don’t have too many of those cases coming in.”

To receive tips and updates about the latest scams visit FTC.gov/consumeralerts and enter your email address.