OK. I know the two are not related. The focus of this is actually on the Id theft but I had to put in my two bits on the smoke ban.
First, this is ‘good’ news (at least the victims will be informed). 20,000 Utahns May Be Victims of Identity Theft (excerpted and emphasis added):
This week, the Utah Attorney General’s Office will send out 100 letters to Utahns whose social security numbers may have been compromised. They are the first in the country, to do this.
Some 20,000 Utahns have been identified as victims. Most of them don’t even know their identity has been stolen; so many people will be surprised to get one of these letters in their mailbox.
A series of Eyewitness News investigations exposed the fastest growing crime in Utah, and the pace has yet to slow down. Chief Deputy of the Utah Attorney General’s Office, Kirk Torgensen, says identity theft is a huge problem. Authorities say thieves are targeting adults as well as children. Torgensen says, “The problem with children is nobody ever thinks of looking at their kids’ credit report because there shouldn’t be any credit report.”
n 2004, Eyewitness News went undercover and exposed just how easy it is to buy a social security card. Authorities say most customers are illegal immigrants, who need one to work. “They’re just spinning out a number and if it’s your bad luck that your number got spun out and put on a card, then that’s how your social security number gets compromised,” Torgensen says.
And he says too often, the adult victims never find out. The younger ones do, but not until it’s too late. He says, “They don’t find out until the worst possible moment, when they want to go out and get a student loan for college.”
Division of Workforce Services has identified perhaps 20,000 Utahns whose numbers have been compromised. The attorney general’s office is sending out 100 letters this week, alerting people of the situation. They are only sending 100 letters so they aren’t overwhelmed by calls from people who want help.
Assistant Attorney General Richard Hamp says most of those numbers are being used by illegal immigrants. “The biggest problem when someone else is using your number, then what they do goes on your credit rating, and the biggest issue is destroying your credit rating and then your ability to purchase.”
The letters will also tell them to check their child’s social security number. [see: Who’s Using Your Child’s Social Security Number?]
Yeah, I copied most (but not all) of the article. Click on the link for the full article. I’m not going to add more to this, I’ve blogged about it on a myriad of different occasions. This number, is likely, the tip of the iceberg as these thefts were only identified from people using public assistance (Workforce Services manages it). This number would not include those who’ve had their (or their child’s) ID compromised who have not been on public assistance etc. Nevertheless, its a step forward. Kudos to the AG, Workforce Services, and the Utah Legislature (I think they changed a law to allow release of this information).
UPDATE: More information at:
Illegal immigrants create market for stolen identities – ABC4 (includes video)
Identity Theft: Workforce Services to mail Social Security hijacking warning SL Tribune (notes change in law to allow information release).
UPDATE (August, 2010) – Adding another cross reference and video of the above report. Workforce Services issued a report as part of a legislative audit earlier in 2007. The data thereof can be found here.