New guide tells consumers how to avoid becoming a victim of identity theft
The National Crime Prevention Council’s (NCPC’s) newest publication, Preventing Identity Theft: A Guide for Consumers, confronts the exploding crime of identity theft head on and tells readers what they can do to prevent it. Funded by the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA), this new document describes various types of identity crimes and informs readers what they can do to avoid becoming victims of these crimes. For those whose identities have been stolen, the publication provides step-by-step instructions for recovery and repair of the damage left in the thief’s wake. Preventing Identity Theft is full of facts, figures, and resources that can help consumers be identity smart and keep this crime from spreading further—or happening to them.
Preventing Identity Theft: A Guide for Consumers,12 pages
Broadcasting new television and radio public service announcements on identity theft
NCPC has released a new television public service announcement (PSA) funded by BJA in partnership with the Ad Council. McGruff® the Crime Dog shows how thieves attempt to obtain personal information and how consumers can prevent this from happening. A related radio PSA will be released this summer. Designed in coordination with the Preventing Identity Theft guide, these PSAs and response pieces inform the public about how to prevent identity theft. To view the television PSA, go to http://www.ncpc.org/media/Identity_Theft.php.
Crime prevention in the information age
The Crime Prevention Month Action Kit, a full-year calendar funded by BJA, includes reproducible brochures in English and Spanish that correspond to crime prevention strategies for the information age (including the prevention of identity theft and consumer fraud) that are highlighted in each month of the calendar. View the calendar online.
7 tips on preventing identity theft
NCPC has created a newspaper mat/template with seven tips for preventing identity theft.
7 Tips on Preventing Identity Theft, 1 page
Keeping an eye on private information
Making consumers aware of steps they can take to ensure identity protection can limit their chances of becoming victims. This online reproducible brochure, funded by BJA, can be disseminated to groups of all types to assist in reducing the number of identity theft victims.
Protecting Your Privacy: Keeping an Eye on Your Private Information, 2 pages
POP Guides available on identity theft and check/credit card fraud
Identity Theft, No. 25 and Check and Card Fraud, No. 21 are essential tools for law enforcement to help prevent and to improve the overall response to incidents of identify theft and fraud. These are 2 in a series of more than 40 problem-oriented guides for police (POP Guides) available from the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS Office). The guides provide problem-specific questions to help identify potential factors and underlying causes of specific problems, identify known responses to each problem, and provide potential measures to assess the effectiveness of problem-solving efforts. The guides describe responses to the problems of identify theft and check and credit card fraud that other police departments have used or that researchers have tested through evaluative research. To view the entire series, go to http://www.cops.usdoj.gov/Default.asp?Item=248.
Identity Theft, Problem-Oriented Guides for Police Series, No. 25, 78 pages
Check and Card Fraud, Problem-Oriented Guides for Police Series, No. 21, 80 pages
Major Cities Chiefs Association national strategy on identity theft
The COPS Office funded Johns Hopkins University and the Major Cities Chiefs Association to examine the issues surrounding identity theft and the challenges for police in responding to the problem.They explored these issues through a series of focus groups and surveys of police practitioners, prosecutors, victims and victims’ advocates, and the Federal and private sectors. Using what they learned, they developed a national strategy for law enforcement. This report describes the components of the national strategy and their interrelationships, and includes best practices or innovative responses that help to illustrate each component.
A National Strategy To Combat Identity Theft, 86 pages
Crime prevention trends CD–ROM
With funding from BJA, NCPC has created a CD–ROM of PowerPoint presentations on crime prevention trends including identity theft prevention, Neighborhood Watch, community preparedness, police-community relations, and seniors and crime prevention. Volume I of this disc allows anyone to present up-to-date national information on crime prevention. Volume II will be released toward the end of 2006. Information about this CD can be obtained on the NCPC Web site.
International Association of Chiefs of Police model policy: Identity Theft
In 1987, the International Association of Chiefs of Police, in partnership with BJA, established the National Law Enforcement Policy Center. The center’s objective was to assist law enforcement agencies throughout the Nation in the critical task of developing and refining law enforcement policy. Organized under the direction of an advisory board of recognized law enforcement professionals, the center has developed a wide variety of model law enforcement policies to deal with some of the most difficult issues facing law enforcement administrators. To order a model policy, including identity theft, please visit the model policy Web site.
American Prosecutors Research Institute
The American Prosecutors Research Institute, in partnership with BJA, is studying how prosecutors can more effectively combat identity theft. The goal is to improve information sharing among local prosecutors, law enforcement agencies, policymakers, and financial institutions. At this time, one focus group has been completed, a survey of local prosecutors is in progress, and a second focus group is scheduled to convene soon. For more information, visit
Identity theft research summary
This report submitted to the National Institute of Justice in 2005 reviews available scientific studies about identity theft. The research points to the complex nature of identity theft and the difficulty in obtaining detailed information from convicted offenders about their methods. It further recommends that investigators develop a precise script of the sequences of behaviors and decisions that offenders make in the commission of their crimes. The study also warns against lumping together many types of crime that may be subsumed under identity theft, including credit card fraud, forgery, phishing, and mail fraud; rather, effective preventive techniques need to be targeted to specific criminal behaviors.
The report discusses the role of technology in enabling identity theft crime and developing increased security measures. It also advocates greater involvement by organizations that issue identity documentation or authenticate identities in the course of their operations, including credit reporting agencies, retail stores, and banks. Finally, the report calls for further research on how partnerships might be forged between these organizations and law enforcement and ponders the role that government might play in fostering such partnerships.
Identity Theft Literature Review, 114 pages
OJJDP helps young Internet users avoid online identity theft
OJJDP supports three programs that address the problem of online identity theft and young online users. These are the following:
- i–SAFE is a K–12 curriculum designed to be delivered by teachers in the classroom to educate students about all aspects of Internet safety, including the risks of identity theft and ways to minimize those risks. Visit the i–SAFE Web site at http://www.isafe.org.
- NetSmartz is a stand-alone Internet-based program designed for use by after-school programs and families to teach children about Internet safety. NetSmartz has both a child (preadolescent) and teen component and includes activities and information about identity theft. Visit the NetSmartz Web site at http://www.missingkids.com/missingkids/servlet/ServiceServlet?Language-Country=en_US&PageId=178.
- Web Wise Kids is a program designed to educate parents about how to teach their children about online behavior that exposes children to risk, including the risk of identity theft. The materials are designed for adult audiences (including those with little or no computer experience) and can be used in either a hands-on computer lab or a lecture-demonstration format. Visit the Web Wise Kids Web site at http://www.wiredwithwisdom.org.
First estimates of the extent of identity theft released
Despite the media attention to identity theft, until recently we knew very little about it. Identity Theft, 2004, based on new questions added to the National Crime Victimization Survey, answers the question of how common identity theft is. It also explores—
- What is the most frequently reported type of identity theft.
- How the theft was discovered.
- Common problems experienced by victims of identity theft.
- Extent of financial loss experienced by victims.
- How much time is spent resolving the problems associated with identity theft.
This baseline study is the first of a continuing series of analyses on identity theft.
Identity Theft, 2004, 8 pages