EBRSO detectives investigate influx in identity theft

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - An estimated one in four people will become a victim of identity theft, according to a detective who investigates the crime.

Sgt. Brian Blache with East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff's Office Financial Crime said as technology advances, identity theft has become a lucrative business for hackers.

"Identity theft now is one of the most prevalent crimes that we have," Blache said.

He has been investigating identity theft for more than a decade. He said as technology evolves, hackers are not far behind.

"It's almost now that it's not a case of if, it's when, because there's just so much information out there and so many people seeking to use that information," Blache explained.

Blache said thieves can steal your identity by using your credit or debit card or by using your personal information to alter a fake or canceled credit card. He said the crooks are getting creative.

"It was just reported yesterday that individuals walked into a local store and made purchases of gift cards using what we believe now to be stolen credit card information," Blache added.

According to EBRSO records, cases of identity theft have increased this year. To date, there have been 288 reports of someone using a credit card without authorization. There were 154 in 2015. There are 334 cases of people using counterfeit cards. That's up slightly from 316 in 2015.

Blache said, often times, a lot of the cases go unresolved.

"If it's social security, date of birth, identity theft, then it's pretty good chance we will be able to follow through and find out who did it. If it's credit card or debit card, it's very difficult," he stated.

Blache suggested keeping a written ledger of every transaction and to make sure what you have written down matches your bank statement. If you think your personal information may not be at risk, Blache said think again.

"One in every two people's information is already out there somewhere," Blache explained.

Blache recommends getting identity theft insurance. He said you can usually purchase it with your car insurance policy for about $15 a month.

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