For Immediate Release
|FORMAT FOR PRINTING
ONE CLICK-THAT'S IT!
A.G. LAUNCHES "ID THEFT CENTRAL" WEBSITE FOR VICTIMS
Attorney General Mark Shurtleff announced today a new website that will be "ID Theft Central" for victims in need of help. The website called IRIS-Identity Theft Reporting Information System----is the first system in the nation that will send identity theft complaints directly to the proper law enforcement agency and provide victims with a checklist of things to do in order to resolve credit problems.
"Identity thieves steal our good names, our money and our time. One click, that's it and IRIS will begin helping victims get back what's been taken quicker and better than ever before," says Shurtleff.
Identity theft victims spend an average of 600 hours and $1,400 trying to recover from the crime-an increase of more than 300% more time and 185% more money than 3 years ago. Here's how IRIS will help:
- Report The victim can go online to www.idtheft.utah.gov and file a complaint that will be sent to the proper law enforcement agencies.
- Resolve The victim will receive a series of steps to help resolve problems caused by ID theft.
- Research The public can get the latest information about current scams, phishing or illegal solicitations by mail, e-mail and phone.
" Identity theft is the fastest growing crime in Utah and the nation. IRIS is the biggest weapon to date to stop this growing tide of crime," says Sen. Carlene Walker, a state legislator who has been actively involved in ID theft legislation and a member of the Attorney General's ID Theft Task Force.
Shane wishes IRIS would have been around when he got hit by an identity thief. In 2000, a police officer pulled him over for a traffic stop and discovered there was a warrant out for his arrest. A further check of police records indicated an extensive criminal rap sheet and Shane was arrested and thrown in jail.
"It was the scariest thing that ever happened to me," says Shane. "I had no idea why I was there."
With the help of an attorney, Shane finally got out of jail but he still had to spend countless hours going from one government agency to another to try and clear his name. However, it wasn't enough. Four years later Shane's employer fired him for "lying on his application" about 2 misdemeanors that were actually committed by the identity thief.
"I'm just trying to live my life. It would have been great to have IRIS back then to help me clear my name," says Shane.
IRIS will make it easier for victims like Shane and help law enforcement solve more identity theft crimes. The data base can identify organized identity theft crime rings and pinpoint stolen credit cards, bank checks and driver's licenses.
The idea for IRIS came out of Utah's first Identity Theft Summit in October 2003. A unique coalition of prosecutors, police officers, bankers, credit union managers, retailers, legislators, credit card companies and collection agencies came together to find ways to fight identity theft.
"Identity theft was so big and so pervasive, we knew this problem couldn't be solved by law enforcement alone," says Chief Deputy Attorney General Kirk Torgensen. "At the summit we began looking for a way to make it easier for identity theft victims to report the crime and resolve any credit problems."
Today's announcement about IRIS was made at the Conference of Western Attorneys General Identity Theft Summit. The Utah Attorney General's Office is hosting this national summit and attorneys general and chief deputies from 21 states will attend the 2-day event to learn about the latest types of scams and coordinate efforts to combat identity theft.
IRIS is a unique collaboration between the Utah Attorney General's Office and all Utah law enforcement agencies. The Bureau of Criminal Identification with the Department of Public Safety, State Automated Geographic Resource Center and State Department of Technologies Services provided invaluable technical expertise on this first-of-its-kind data base. Funding for the project has been provided by the Utah Commission on Criminal and Juvenile Justice and the Utah Bankers Association. The Utah Retail Merchants Association and other Utah businesses provided additional support. Technical Supervisor Scott Morrill at the Attorney General's Office is the project manager for IRIS.
|(L to R) Senator Carlene Walker,
Utah Attorney General, Mark Shurtleff,
and IRIS Project Manager, Scott Morrill
|(Lto R) Attorney General Mark Shurtleff announcing
new Identity Theft Reporting Information System (I.R.I.S),
Utah Sheriff's offices representatives, Senator Carlene Walker
and Davis County Sheriff Bud Cox
|(At the podium) "Shane," victim of identity theft,
(Back, L to R) Utah Sheriff's offices representatives, and
Senator Carlene Walker