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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Monday, September 26, 2005
 Sgt. Jim Dunn, Thurston County Sheriff’s Detective, 360-786-5519
 Linda Clark,  Rochester  Weed and Seed Coordinator, 360-273-9175

Public Invited to Forum on How to Avoid Financial Crimes

OLYMPIA – A special forum on identity theft and fraud will be held on October 6th in south Thurston County .  Rochester Weed and Seed and the Thurston County Sheriff's Office are sponsoring the forum.  Weed and Seed Coordinator Linda Clark says the forum is a chance for area residents to hear first hand about an increasing problem.  "These types of crimes have a wide ranging impact on victims and the community at large.  At this meeting people will have a chance to hear about the different types of financial crimes, how to avoid becoming a victim and what to do if you do become a victim."

Sgt. Jim Dunn is a fraud investigator with the Thurston County Sheriff's Office.  "We have seen a real increase in fraud and identity theft over the past several years.  We have had 51 new cases over the last month and we had 48 new cases the month before that.  And that does not include related crimes that are not listed as fraud, like mail theft or credit card theft.  It 's a good bet that those crimes will eventually become fraud cases."  Dunn says financial crimes have a ripple effect that most other crimes do not.  "One suspect may have several victims whose financial information they are using to steal money.  And in a lot of instances, those victims may be spread out over a large area, even into other states."

The fraud forum is free and open to anyone.  Childcare will be available but those wishing to use the service should call in advance 360-273-9175.

The Identity Theft and Fraud Forum will be held at 7 PM the evening of Thursday, October 6th at Rochester Middle School .  The school is located at 9937 Highway 12 SW in Rochester .

County Commissioners:

Carolina Mejia
District 1

Gary Edwards
District 2

Tye Menser
District 3