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Area dealers struck by identity thieves

November 23, 2010
Several area dealers have been stung recently by identity theft cases in which thieves presented out-of-state licenses but said they recently had moved to Illinois. Most of the victimized dealers sell high-end makes. A common trait in the cases: The thieves showed salespeople out-of-state driver's licenses but supported those with other IDs showing local addresses. The thieves no doubt stole identities in other states and then obtained state-issued documents with their own photographs. Compounding the problem for dealerships, the identity theft victims usually have very high credit ratings, and the thieves favor no-money-down deals. The Federal Trade Commission maintains an Identity Theft Data Clearinghouse, a national identity theft victim complaint database containing more than 460,000 complaints. Businesses can search that database for identity theft victim and/or suspect information across the country. Call the FTC's hotline, 1-877-IDTHEFT, or see the Web site, idtheft/ The FTC does not have any criminal investigation authority with respect to identity theft, but other agencies do. Businesses can contact a U.S. Secret Service field office in Chicago at 312- 353-5431. The agency is under the auspices of the U.S. Treasury Department. Also, the U.S. Justice Department produced a free videotape, "Stop Identity Theft Now." Copies can be ordered at 888-228-0315.