Valley Tops List of Identity Thefts

Sean Gaffney, The Monitor (Texas), March 13, 2008

McALLEN—The Rio Grande Valley is a hub for identity theft and officials say illegal immigration is likely to blame.

For the second year in a row, the McAllen area ranked 5th for the number of identify theft complaints in the country in 2007, among metro areas with populations of 100,000 or more, according to a report from the Federal Trade Commission.

This is the second year the numbers have been compiled and also the second time the South Texas region has poorly fared. The Brownsville-Harlingen area actually edged the McAllen area to take the 4th spot in the FTC list. Laredo was No. 12.

The report, released in February, compiled self-reported and unverified consumer complaints from the FTC’s database.

Local officials blamed the high number of complaints on illegal immigration and exaggeration of unverified reports.

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The entire Mexican border region is plagued by high instances of identity theft, according to the study. Of the top 25 cities, 17 are in border states.

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