Identity Thefts on the Rise in Brecksville
Police: Use caution when buying items online, but also take a closer look at gas pumps and ATMs before using them.
Brecksville police officials say that reports of identity theft are on the rise in the city — and around Northeast Ohio — during the past few years.
There are several ways residents have their identities stolen.
Det. Dave Hetrick said that technology is partly to blame for the increase. High-tech thieves use high-tech “skimming devices” placed on gas pumps and ATMs, where private account information is stolen from the location.
“There are so many different ways (that identities are stolen),” Hetrick said. “It’s more than your usage. It’s a processing center getting hacked. Somebody could be in a parking lot grabbing these numbers. It’s more than being careful. There are so many ways that accounts can be compromised.”
Hetrick, who’s been a detective for eight years, is assigned the identity theft cases in Brecksville. He said there’s been a spike in the number of reports during the past several years.
Police chief Michael Carlin said that it’s not just a problem in Brecksville.
“It’s all over the county,” he said. “Identity theft is going through the roof. It isn’t a violent crime, so when they catch them, the judges don’t always give them jail time.”
There are a couple of ongoing investigations in Northeast Ohio.
Police departments often work together on these cases — because the victims (and suspects) come from all over.
“We try to look for patterns,” Hetrick said. “More often than not, these credit card numbers are used at great distances — Nigeria, France, Canada.”
He said people should be “aware of their surroundings” to avoid falling prey to an identity theft scam.
Anyone with information about identity theft — or if someone believes that they are a victim — they should call the Brecksville Police Department at 440-526-8900.