Support Offered to Identity Crime Victims
With identity thefts on the rise, it is no wonder a support group for victims has sprouted up in San Diego.
Victims of Identity Crimes Extended Services, or Voices, is the first group of its kind locally and the third in the nation, said Linda Foley, director of Voices.
Last year, there were 783 false impersonation crime cases locally, a 24.7 percent increase from 1998, according to statistics from the San Diego Police Business Center’s Crime Analysis Unit.
To make matters worse, police statistics show the arrest rate dropping from 54 in 1998 to 50 in ’99.
Foley believes criminals are becoming more clever or the volume of crimes has increased so rapidly that it has been difficult for police.
It is also very difficult to track down the person who commits the crime, said Foley, an identity theft victim who was one of the few victims successful in proving who the transgressor was , her employer.
Foley said Voices is trying to help victims, educate the public, work with law enforcement officials and act as advocates as funding becomes available.
Everyone can help prevent identity theft, Foley said. People should shred any papers that have personal information.
Business owners can also help, she said. Employers can minimize the problem by limiting access to personal information, not using Social Security numbers as identification numbers for employees or their health plans, properly disposing of private materials, and educating personnel about this crime.
Voices meets the third Saturday of every month at Building D, Room 205 at Miramar College. For information, call (619) 298-3396 or go to Privacy Rights Clearinghouse’s Web site at (www.privacyrights.org).