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Nation's Fastest Growing Crime: Identity Theft

NCJ Number
Law Enforcement Technology Volume: 29 Issue: 4 Dated: April 2002 Pages: 28-32
Sanford Wexler
Date Published
5 pages
This article discusses identity theft and what law enforcement can do to fight against it.
For the most part, identity theft is carried out for financial gain. The Internet, sophisticated computer software, and scanners make it easy for criminals to acquire personal information and use it to open checking and savings accounts, forge checks, or make fraudulent credit and debit card transactions. Law enforcement around the country is becoming more vigilant about preventing and investigating identity theft. The Los Angeles Police Department’s Financial Crimes Division has 5 detectives assigned to its Identity Theft squad, which handles approximately 4,000 cases each year. In Elizabeth, NJ, the County Prosecutor’s Office has created a High Tech Task Force devoted to investigating computer-related crimes, including identity theft. One law enforcement official suggests that what is needed to effectively combat identity theft is a multi-jurisdictional task force similar to the Drug Enforcement Administration. The article recommends that local law enforcement agencies implement training for their fraud detectives to teach them the specialized investigative techniques used against identity theft.