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Home > News > Identity Theft Protection

For Immediate Release
August 25, 2008
Contact: Don Cookson

Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap and Bureau of Motor Vehicles’ Investigators Present
Identity Theft Protection Guidelines for Seniors

Offering “simple and effective ways to protect yourself and your family”

Augusta- Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap joined members of the Bureau of Motor Vehicles’ Office of Investigations today to highlight the dangers of identity theft, and to present straightforward methods designed to prevent seniors from becoming victims. “As the primary investigators on cases involving state issued identity documents such as driver licenses and state ID cards, BMV Investigators have seen it all when it comes to shady individuals taking advantage of people,” Dunlap said. “It’s especially disturbing to see how identity crimes specifically target seniors, simply because they are vulnerable.”

“There are dozens of different scams we’ve identified,” says BMV Detective Stephanie Beaulieu, “but the most effective ones play upon the emotions of the elderly. Concerns they have about affordable medical care, life and health insurance, and the security of retirement funds are the worst. Identity thieves will stop at nothing when it comes to these crimes. People, especially seniors, need to know the facts, and they need to know where they can turn when there’s trouble. That’s our job.”

Detective Beaulieu, with the help of other members of the BMV Office of Investigations, developed a presentation that makes typical identity theft activities easy to recognize- and to avoid. “Detective Beaulieu has done a lot of work to make this a reality,” said David Guilmette, who heads the BMV Office of Investigations. “I’m convinced the work she has done will be the difference between some Mainers recognizing a problem before it happens, and possibly losing everything they have.”

In addition to the short presentation being offered to organizations and facilities that cater to the elderly, a new brochure is now available, summarizing effective ways to protect you from ID theft, providing key contact information for organizations that can help identify potential ID theft activities, and ways to deal with the consequences if a person is victimized. The literature will be widely distributed at BMV branch offices, and it will also be available to nursing homes, assisted living facilities, and municipal offices statewide.

“The BMV Office of Investigations is consistently focused on consumer protection issues, and their familiarity with state issued identity documents makes work on identity theft a natural extension of their work,” Dunlap said. “If their work on this issue saves even one family from the troubles associated with identity theft, it’s time well spent.”