SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) – Identity theft has now surpassed drug trafficking as the number one crime in the country, according to the U.S. Justice Department. These cases often involve lost or stolen credit cards. But more and more, law enforcement is hitting back with improving technology.
Credit and debit cards have become so intertwined into our everyday lives that it's little wonder they can fall prey to criminals, even at a local drive thru. One such example, that KSLA News 12 reported on, took place in 2007.
In that case, Detective Bobby Herring with the Caddo Parish White Collar Crimes Division described at the time, "she'd take the credit card away from the customer, go to an area where the customer couldn't see and write the numbers down."
Just two months ago, Caddo-Shreveport investigators say they busted up a counterfeit credit card operation after a raid, with numbers reportedly stolen from at least a dozen Whataburger customers, allegedly by an employee who turned around and sold the numbers.
Then came the most recent example, where surveillance footage from a Shreveport shoe store two weeks ago reportedly shows a man using a stolen credit card. We're told surveillance video has become a powerful tool for police in such cases.
Sgt. Kevin Goodwin with Shreveport Police told us, "If you go buy gas you're going to be on video, you know, almost all the gas stations have got your video now, the banks definitely have videos and now the majority of small businesses have video just for their own safety."
But not all surveillance systems are created equal. Detective Goodwin described, "A lot of the companies, the older companies, have some surveillance video that's terrible so a lot of them now are upgrading, putting digital in there which makes it so much better for us."
Digital recordings also make it easier to convert for news broadcasts that help catch the bad guys easier. "The people that are actually committing these thefts aren't the brightest people in the world anyway. They think they're going to get away with something easy," added Goodwin.
While the national rate of identity theft arrests hovers at 5-percent, police expect that figure to rise as crime fighting technology keeps getting better, as well.