More than 5,000 Washington state residents fall victim to identity theft each year, according to the Federal Trade Commission, and Washington Attorney General Rob McKenna resolved to do something about it.

McKenna has been a leader in protecting Washington residents from identity theft, fraud, consumer protection violations and high-tech crimes, such as cyber-fraud, phishing and spyware. In mid-2007, for example, he launched "GUARD IT! Washington," a multi-agency campaign to educate citizens and businesses about preventing identity theft.

"Identity theft is on the rise,but there are things you can do to protect yourself," McKenna said in July 2007, inviting residents and business owners to join him and experts from the AARP and the Federal Trade Commission at a GUARD IT! Washington forum. "We'll show you how to protect yourself and what to do if you're already a victim."

McKenna led GUARD IT! Washington sessions in 15 cities from July to October 2007. Each session included public forums, events for business leaders and a free community shred event.

"Bring along your old bills and bank statements, and have them shredded for free," McKenna said when promoting the tour. "You don't want an ID thief to find this personal information in your trash. So gather your sensitive papers, bring your questions and join in the fight against identity theft!"

Jessica Jones  |  Managing Editor