FRAMINGHAM (10/08/2003) - In July, the U.S. Secret Service, Federal Trade Commission and U.S. Postal Inspection Service joined the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) to unveil a new resource to teach officers in more than 40,000 U.S. police departments to recognize and fight identity crimes.
The groups are distributing a combination video and CD-ROM called the Identity Crime Interactive Resource Guide to increase police officers' understanding of identity crime. The CD contains more than 40 resources that officers can use to pursue identity thieves, as well as resources for victims of identity theft.
Much of the information on the CD is geared toward getting cops to recognize identity theft as a motive in what was previously considered ordinary property theft, such as purse snatching, says Gene Voegtlin, legislative counsel for the IACP. Cops are also taught about the international dimensions of a problem that was once thought of as a local nuisance. With the robust trade in false documents, identity theft can be a crime with connections to terrorism and implications for domestic security, says the Secret Service.
Despite that fact, it is local law enforcement rather than the Department of Homeland Security that is on the front lines of the war on identity theft because victims are likely to contact the local police department first, Voegtlin says.