The Unfortunate Reality of Identity Theft

Identity theft is typically a “paper” crime and it usually involves stealing another individual’s social security number. However, Colorado has seen recent changes to the trends in identity theft and it's become quite an ominous and dangerous crime.

Is Identity Theft Becoming Violent?

Violence has been associated with identity theft in Colorado, and the Colorado Springs Police Department (CSPD) thinks it has something to do with methamphetamine use. In 2004, two officers were shot at a Best Buy store when they responded to a call about a forged check. The suspect was later killed following a high-speed chase. Identity theft has increased dramatically in Colorado Springs since 2000 and is largely linked to meth use.

They're Starting To Work Together

Another factor besides meth use that a CSPD detective thinks increases identity theft is the tendency for identity theft criminals to work in groups and assist each other with their criminal pursuits. The detective warned viewers of News Channel 13 to not leave outgoing mail in their mailboxes because it is the main way that identity theft criminal get the information they need. Identity theft criminals might steal your mail but not actually use your personal information for a period of time until they find the right opportunity.

Fight Fire with Fire

Given that identity theft criminals work in teams, we as consumers should too. Keep an eye out if you see any suspicious activity in your neighborhood. If you know your neighbors are on vacation and you see someone eyeing up their mailbox, keep a close watch. Sometimes a postal worker doesn’t start a mail hold at the right time, and your neighbors might end up with a day’s mail in their mailbox while they are away on vacation. If you are helping a neighbor who is wearing a cast take out his or her garbage, don’t put the garbage out until the morning of garbage day. Garbage bags left out overnight can be a gold mine for identity theft criminals.

Identity theft criminals work together, so it only makes sense that cooperation among the rest of us would be a good line of defense. We might never avoid identity theft completely, but we can at least significantly lower our risk by helping each other out.

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