Educating law enforcement officials about the risks and indicators of identity theft may help them take action against such crimes.
With this in mind, identity theft protection company Lifelock Inc. is teaming up with the FBI Law Enforcement Executive Development Association to host identity theft summits in Massachusetts and Florida. Local and statewide law enforcement officials in attendance will receive information about the latest scams, trends and investigative methods.
"With the current state of the economy, we find that more identity thieves are preying on innocent victims and, in turn, our case load goes up," Sergeant Walter Bowling, a member of the financial crimes unit at the Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Department, said. "It's this type of free training that all law enforcement should be exposed to."
Identity theft is one of the nation's fastest growing crimes and targeted some 11.1 million Americans last year, according to a report by Javelin Strategy & Research.
FBI-LEEDA and Lifelock's free educational series has already made its way through Orlando, Los Angeles and 19 other cities across the nation. More than 2,000 law enforcement officials have attended the sessions, which were initiated during March 2008.
Chiefs, sheriffs, investigative supervisors, patrol officers and other policing personnel may register for the upcoming Identity Theft Summits by visiting www.leedafbi.org or calling 480-457-2108. The Clearwater beach, Florida, event will be held June 15 while the Plymouth, Massachusetts, one will take place June 17.
"As the leader in this field, and with identity theft on the rise, it would be an absolute disservice to consumers if we did not facilitate this identity theft training," Todd Davis, chairman and CEO of LifeLock, said. "I strongly believe that, with time, this training will have an impact on the future of identity theft."
Victims of this crime are often targeted through the internet, with scammers attaching viruses to emails or hosting websites that appear like those used by legitimate financial institutions. Another form of identity theft making headlines recently involves skimming credit or debit cards at an ATM, gas station or retail cash point. Scammers record card information through a device attached to an ATM or gas stations' scanning mechanism, then use video cameras to track PIN input.
Consumers who think they have been targeted by this crime should contact both their local law enforcement agency and the Federal Trade Commission. This will help authorities take action against scammers and possibly prevent future crime.