(Los Angeles, California) – America is embroiled in a battle against a crime that has reached epidemic proportions. Identity theft is the fastest-growing crime in the nation and has topped the Federal Trade Commission’s list of top consumer fraud complaints for five consecutive years. More than 3,600 Massachusetts citizens were victimized in 2003 alone and the recent high-volume identity thefts from ChoicePoint and LexisNexis have created, in the eyes of many officials, an immediate national security risk.
The National Notary Association is taking action by hosting Identity Theft Prevention Notary Symposiums in cities across the nation. America’s 4.6 million Notaries detect and deter fraud every day as they notarize documents used to buy or sell a home, refinance a mortgage, grant powers of attorney and perform hundreds of other sensitive transactions.
The Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles now issues newly-enhanced driver’s licenses and identification cards, which are some of the most technologically advanced and tamper-resistant licenses available. As the most common form of identification used in notarizations in the state, these new licenses will pose new procedural challenges to Notaries, making the Massachusetts symposiums all the more critical.
“A license with all of these security features is just the first step toward a more secure tomorrow,” said Kimberly Hinden, the Registrar of Motor Vehicles. “Working with notaries to explain the enhanced features of our new license is essential to keeping the process of secure identification intact."
Director Beth Lindstrom of the Massachusetts Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation will join the NNA at the Boston symposium on April 1 to discuss her office’s efforts to urge consumers to protect themselves from identity theft, including renewing driver’s licenses with randomly assigned numbers instead of using social security numbers.
“These important educational symposiums will give Notaries the tools they need to fight the battle against identity theft,” commented Director Lindstrom. “Notaries protect identity and property rights and are an irreplaceable safeguard for the public interest. In light of ever-increasing forms and occurrences of identity theft, it is critical that Notaries be equipped with the knowledge to detect fraud and prevent identity theft,” Lindstrom added.
About the Identity Theft Symposiums
Many Notaries Public from across the Commonwealth of Massachusetts will convene at one of four locations (Springfield, Worcester, Cambridge and Boston from March 29 – April 1 respectively) to learn techniques to recognize the authenticity of the new driver’s licenses, detect forged signatures, prevent identification and signature fraud, handle suspicious signers and apply the science of fingerprinting as an effective, law enforcement-approved fraud deterrent. The NNA will conduct similar symposiums in Florida, Minnesota, Missouri and Pennsylvania throughout the year.
About the NNA
The National Notary Association has been the nation's professional Notary organization since 1957 and is committed to the development of Notaries throughout the United States by providing education, support and legislative advocacy. Understanding the need for greater awareness of the essential role each Notary Public plays, the NNA is dedicated to educating lawmakers, businesses, state officials and the general public on the Notary's expanding role in fraud prevention and Homeland Security issues.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation recently collaborated with the NNA to educate FBI field agents on the role of the Notary in deterring and detecting fraud & identity crimes.
For more info on the NNA and the ID Theft Symposiums, visit www.NationalNotary.org