Identity theft investigation now in hands of Secret Service
MEDFORD (WAOW) -- Millions of Americans are victims of identity theft every year. But in just this year, the number of complaints in Wisconsin is up nine percent.
"This year is a bit higher than last," Detective Dennis Blaser from the Marathon County Sheriff's Department said.
Det. Blaser says roughly 45 victims of identity theft have come forward this year in the county. And there is one common denominator, each person has been employed with Weathershield.
"I have just been compiling the names of people that are victimized and because it is a big investigation I send all the reports to the federal government," Det. Blaser said.
An IRS agent tells Newsline 9 he is prohibited by federal law to comment on individual investigations. But, he does confirm the agency is working with the Secret Service to investigate.
The investigation has spanned several counties, dozens of people in Taylor County say they are also victims of identity theft.
The Medford Police Department says it is investigating the matter. But, declined to comment further, only releasing a brief statement saying, "Due to the sensitive nature of the complaints, the Federal Authorities have asked local law enforcement not to release details involving this on going investigation."
Newsline 9 contacted Weathershield officials, but they had no comment. They only referred us to a brief statement sent out to employees in February.
The company maintains personal information was not stolen from within the company, and says it is part of an internal investigation.
But the dozens of victims want answers. Victims like Jeff Denfeld who spoke with Newsline 9 last month.
"The worst thing about this is not only do they have my social security number, you have got to give you wife's, your daughters, son, whatever right down the line. so they have all of them," Denfeld said.
Authorities say they don't know exactly how many people were victimized, or how long the investigation will last.