Identity theft is a particularly frustrating crime to contend with, and not just for the victims. While you could face not only financial hardship and damage to your credit score but also citizenship and employability issues, the law enforcement officials who are tasked with helping to solve the crime face an uphill battle that grows all the more challenging with every passing year.
For example, a story reported last month by ABC affiliate WJLA, a Washington, D.C.-area news source, highlights how frustrating dealing with ID theft can be for all parties involved, including those tasked with helping to ameliorate the situation.
When Fairfax, Virginia, resident Larissa Slooka was targeted by identity thieves, she knew that it wasn’t going to be easy cleaning up her good name and getting her credit score to accurately reflect her financial situation. However, when she and her husband Chris reached out to the police and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the two resources you turn to first in situations involving theft of identity, they quickly found that their options were few.
Not only had Larissa’s identity been stolen to open up a bank account at Ally Bank, but there were records of credit cards with her name running up charges in locales as far-flung as Hong Kong. Because her theft took place online, there were no clear leads and little to build a case on, meaning the Slookas were going to have to simply wait it out.
“We want to focus on a case where we can prosecute somebody,” Detective Tom Polhemus of the Fairfax County Police Department explained to the source. “We want to fill jail cells not file cabinets.”
Because the task of cleaning up identity theft can lead to so many dead ends, it’s best to enlist in identity protection services beforehand that will alert you to suspicious activity that may be indicative of theft, so that you can get a head start on stopping fraud in its tracks.