As the number of identity theft victims has grown to more than 12 million in the U.S., combatting the crime has also become more difficult.
In an effort to train and educate more law enforcement officials, LifeLock joined forces in October 2008 with the FBI Law Enforcement Executive Development Association (FBI-LEEDA) to develop a curriculum to educate and train law enforcement officers on current identity theft issues and investigative techniques at no cost to their agencies.
After attending a LifeLock FBI-LEEDA law enforcement Summit, one Arizona police officer who gives community presentations on crime prevention said he gained information on the risks of file sharing websites as well as additional websites for citizens to send requests to opt out of shared data bases.
"Citizens have continued to share with me stories of being contacted by telemarketers in addition to mailings and how based on the information they received at my training, they were able to spot the fraud and avoid becoming a victim," he said.
Many citizens didn’t realize that through file sharing websites, criminals could gain access to sensitive information like tax returns if they were stored on the computer that was being used for file sharing, the officer added.
"This training is extremely important for any law enforcement employee who gives presentations or during the course of their investigation regarding a crime concerning identity theft."
The trainings focus on a range of identity theft issues, including relevant laws, identity theft through sophisticated technology, identity theft awareness and protection strategies, databases to assist in investigations and investigative strategies.
The presenters are professionals in the field of identity theft detection, recognized nationally for their expertise.
Fraud investigators from various financial institutions also participate in the summits, sharing information and techniques and building alliances between the public and private sectors.
During the five-year partnership between LifeLock and the FBI-LEEDA, they have conducted 138 trainings for more than 9,000 attendees representing 3,278 agencies in 46 states.
“It’s a great partnership,” said Paige Hanson, manager of Educational Programs at LifeLock. “Over the last five years, we’ve evolved and stayed up to date on current trends. Not surprisingly, we’ve been seeing a lot more cyber-related identity theft.”
As the training program has evolved, interest has become more widespread. The FBI-LEEDA and LifeLock already have 25 trainings planned in 2014.
Two years ago, the two-day advanced program was implemented, in which trainers returned to cities for a more in-depth summit on cyber-related crimes.
Elected officials including Attorneys General and other staffers educate law enforcement on current trends, issues and legislation related to identity theft.
“Identity theft is so prevalent in our society today that a collaboration amongst public and private sectors is crucial in remaining vigilant and relevant in fighting identity theft and fraud,” said Deb L. Griffith, director of Government Affairs at LifeLock.
Charles Robb, executive director of FBI-LEEDA, agrees.
"Identity theft is a growing concern in law enforcement and working together with LifeLock to provide training to law enforcement professionals across the country about how to investigate and fight this crime is a win-win," Robb said.