PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Identity theft is a growing problem in the technology age, so today law enforcement officials gathered together to learn ways to curb the crime.
It’s called skimming – using a device, an identity thief can quickly and easily scan, copy and store up to a thousand credit card numbers and information. Then, later make their own personal credit card with your information.
“I’m going to use this white plastic card and swipe it here,” Paige Hanson, of LifeLock, demonstrated. “Now it’s been successfully duplicated. Card data successfully duplicated.”
Skimming is a practice law enforcement is well aware of, but stopping it from happening can be difficult if not impossible.
Pennsylvania has not been able to escape the problem, ranking 14th in the nation in identity thefts. But law enforcement gathered together at Point Park University today to discuss ways to combat the problem and be able to later prosecute effectively.
“We want to give them the latest trends and the latest information, so they can go out and do their jobs and protect the public,” said Wayne Ivey, a retired law enforcement agent.
“That’s the thing about identity theft. The criminals know they can hide out,” said Mike Prusinski, with LifeLock, said. “They can be in a foreign country or they can even be right down the street from you. But to track them down can be difficult.”
LifeLock is a company that will monitor personal credit, says that the Internet can make people very vulnerable. Unfortunately, your connection may not be as secure as you think. Experts say vigilance is key in keeping your identity safe.
“Where’s your information and are those people protecting it. If the answer is no, then [you’ve got to] go play offensive and not defensive and get proactive,” said Prusinski. “Find something that’s going to make it more difficult for someone to use that social security number.”
One of the most important things you can do if you find yourself a victim of identity theft is to contact the Federal Trade Commission and report the crime.