In a report released this year by the Federal Trade Commission, Mississippi ranks 40th among U.S. states in identity theft cases. That's the good news. The bad news? Crooks are finding new ways to get your personal information. The latest scheme involves an electronic gadget that can be bought at your local office supply store.
Has this happened to you before? You're driving down the road and you hear sirens and see flashing lights in your rear-view mirror. You've just been stopped by a police officer, who asks to see your license, registration and proof of insurance, then sends all that information by radio to headquarters.
But the transmission may have been intercepted by a crook listening in on a police scanner which can be bought for under $200.
"They've got your Social Security number, your date of birth, your complete name and your address so they've got all the tools there they need for identity theft."
That's if you're among the many Mississippians who still have their Social Security number as their driver's license number. But Shawn Mercer with the Social Security Administration in Hattiesburg says a traffic stop doesn't have to cost you your identity.
"We understand for $5 you can get your driver's license replaced and just simply ask them to remove your Social Security number if it's the same as your driver's license number."