Agencies take on identity theft

WINSTON-SALEM — There’s a relatively new criminal on the block, threatening every community in North Carolina. They’re after your identity and they’re getting better at stealing it from you.

“Often times the person who committed the identity theft is not from the community the victim is,” said Stuart Shore with the Mocksville Police Department.

Shore is just one of hundreds from law enforcement agencies across the state in Winston-Salem Wednesday, eager to learn the latest in combating identity theft from the State Attorney General’s Office.

“The last couple of years it’s picked up tremendously, we used to not see the problem at all. Now it’s a big problem,” said Shore.

According to data from the Federal Trade Commission, the number of reported identity theft victims has gone up from 2003 to 2006.

In 2003, 5,537 identity theft victims came forward in North Carolina. That was the 15th highest in the nation.

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In 2006, that number rose to 5,748 identity theft victims, the 20th highest in the nation.
Hundreds from law enforcement agencies across the state came together to learn about the crime. “Sometimes you just can’t avoid it, you’re going to be a victim, but we can certainly cut down on this crime if people take some simple steps to protect themselves,” said North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper.

One step Cooper wants law enforcement agencies to take is to sign up for the Consumer Sentinel Database.

“That’s a national clearinghouse database of identity theft cases. I’ve written to every chief and sheriff in this state and encouraged them to get on this database because they can use that information to investigate these cases and put these crimes together because often they happen across the country,” said Cooper.

“With good information, and getting good information [is often the problem], there’s a good probability of finding that person,” added Shore.

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