Identity Theft


  • Identity theft is a crime where thieves use personal data to commit financial crime in the victim’s name. 
  • Identity theft is taking someone else’s personal information (such as the driver license or identification card number, social security number, bank or credit card account numbers, etc.)  Getting the information can be as simple as stealing credit-card offers from someone’s mail, or as complex as trying to break into business computer networks to steal customers’ names and credit-card numbers. 

  • An impostor can use your identity to open fraudulent credit accounts, secure loans for cars and housing, or steal money from your bank accounts. It is a serious crime with serious consequences.

Statistics
  • $2.6 million is lost in Spokane County each month due to identity theft, and at least 80% of all such theft is meth-related to finance their habits.  
  • Every 10 seconds an identity is stolen in the U.S., resulting in 3.2 million identities stolen each year.  Some of this is a result of thieves breaking into big company records.  
  • More than 5,000 Washington residents become victims of identity theft each year, causing loss of credit, reputation, and time.  
  • Washington ranked #8 among the 50 states in identity theft in 2005, possibly the fastest growing crime in the country; and most of the offenders are involved in this crime to support their Meth addiction.  

What You Can Do
  • If identity theft happens to you, contact a Spokane Crime Victim Advocate for assistance, if needed, at  
    Spokane C.O.P.S. - Identity Theft Program
    (509) 625-3328
    Samantha Purcell, Crime Victim Advocate, Spokane COPS
    spurcell@spokanecops.org
    Contact them to make a presentation on Identify Theft awareness. 

  • For Online Transactions, use a separate credit card which has a low credit limit.   Use different passwords, particularly when transacting online. Ensure your password includes a combination of letters, numbers and upper/lower case.

  • To learn more about ways to avoid identity theft:

    Spokane C.O.P.S. - Identity Theft Program
    (509) 625-3328
    Samantha Purcell, Crime Victim Advocate, Spokane COPS
    spurcell@spokanecops.org
    Contact them to make a presentation on Identify Theft awareness. 
    http://www.spokanecops.org/site/6ff94093/everything-you-need-to-know-about-identity-theft?preview=true

Local Organizations
Additional Resources

DeVries Business Services

601 E. Pacific Ave
Spokane, WA  99202
(509) 838-1044
https://www.devriesinc.com/shred-services/onsite-shredding-mobile/
They offer shredding services to residents and businesses to protect them from identity theft.

Consumer Federation of America has tips on protecting yourself from identity theft.  http://IDTheftinfo.org