ALTON – State Rep. Dan Beiser, D-Alton, is urging residents to check their email carefully to avoid a dangerous new cyber scam that can infect computers with malware and compromise personal information.

“Rapid changes in technology have made identity theft much more common,” Beiser said. “That is why it is critical that we use caution anytime we give someone personal information, especially over the Internet.”

Recently, parents have been receiving emails warning them that a child predator has moved into their neighborhood, directing recipients to click on a URL for more information.  Following this link, the user is directed to a site that can infect their computer with malware, allowing identity thieves access to the recipient’s personal and financial information, before directing the reader to the homepage of a business accredited by the Better Business Bureau, which sells reports on the presence of local sex offenders.  According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, over 16 million people were victims of identity theft in 2012. This number continues to grow every year as new schemes are devised to steal increasing amounts of sensitive data.

A free, publicly accessible registry of convicted sex offenders can be found by visiting the Illinois State Police’s website at www.isp.state.il.us/sor/. More information about identity theft prevention and filing a complaint is available through the Illinois Attorney General’s office at www.illinoisattorneygeneral.gov/consumers/hotline.html.

“Once someone’s identity is stolen, regaining security can be very difficult, so researching and investigating safe sites is very important,” Beiser added. “Parents can easily access many helpful, free resources through state, local and federal websites. If you need any help finding these resources, please contact my office for assistance.”

For more information, please contact Beiser’s full-time constituent service office at 618-465-5900.

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