Fairfax Police inundated with identity theft cases
FAIRFAX CO., Va. (WJLA) - Larissa Slooka has heard the horror stories of identity theft. But three weeks ago the story hit home.
Slooka received a notice in the mail from Ally Bank welcoming her as a new customer, saying the account was open, and all her information was on file, including her social security number. But Slooka had never opened an account. She immediately knew something was wrong.
Her husband Chris, an IT specialist for a federal agency, helped close out the Ally account. Around the same time the Slookas also noticed charges to Larissa's credit card from a company based in Hong Kong.
The Slookas put freezes on all their accounts, called the credit agencies and the Federal Trade Commission, then Fairfax Police. They asked for a detective, but instead were told to file the identity theft claim on a county website asking for detailed personal information.
"Being an IT person myself I looked at the web page and saw that the web page was un-encrypted, completely insecure," said Chris Slooka.
Overall, the Slookas believe police response has been slow and soft.
Fairfax Police say they have to prioritize with situations like this because they are inundated with cases. This year alone the Financial Crimes Division has handled 12,000 cases.
"We want to focus on a case where we can prosecute somebody," explained Detective Tom Polhemus of the Fairfax County Police Department. "We want to fill jail cells not file cabinets."
Fairfax Police Investigator Tom Polhemus says unfortunately for the Slookas, a prosecution is unlikely because the crime is online with no clear suspects or borders.
In a statement, a county spokesman admits the police department's identity theft application was found to have a risk for almost a two-week period due to human error in the development to production process.
The police department is in the process of reaching out to all residents impacted by this potential identity theft situations.