The state's new Office of Privacy Protection has been in business for only 6 months but it's been a busy six months.
Janet Jenkins heads up the relatively new office in the Consumer Protection Department and has a mission to track down identity theft suspects and help the victims. She says her office has 26 open cases, some of which are ready to be handed over to local prosecutors.
Jenkins says there are numerous ways someone can steal your personal information. She's seen cases where a family member or a friend takes the victim's information. Employees can also get information from their employers' files. And of course there's the internet.
In Wisconsin, Jenkins estimates ID theft can cost victims and business close to 600-million dollars in a year. Jenkins says it's important to report it when you're a victim of ID theft because many of the ID thieves are repeat offenders.
If you're a victim of ID theft, call your local police and then call Consumer Protection or go to their web site.
The toll free number is: 800-422-7128 and the web site is: privacy.wi.gov.-