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Credit or debit card scams target students

Bryan Talbot / The Arbiter

The number one target for credit or debit card scams and identity theft is college students. The second is senior citizens. These demographics both have one thing in common. According to Detective Jeff Dustin, a property crimes detective in Boise for 10 years: they’re both naive.

Dustin believes becoming more aware is the first step in preventing any sort of theft.

Recently, a press release went out to local media concerning two suspects involved in stealing and charging an elderly woman’s credit card for several thousands of dollars.

Although this seems like an isolated incident, many people have their bank account information, credit cards or their identity stolen every day.

According to Dustin, all a person needs to steal someone’s identity is that individual’s social security number and birthday.

“People don’t realize we have these issues,” Dustin said. “We enjoy a relatively low crime rate.”

The easiest way this can happen, he says, is by giving information to an unauthorized website or leaving a backpack or wallet unattended. Thieves can also dig around in trash cans to find credit card bills or other items with personal information. Dustin recommends shredding these items before putting them in the trash.

“I’ve arrested people with itineraries,” he said.

On one occasion, one of Dustin’s investigations led to a room full of bags of clothes that the suspects were planning to sell. The clothes were purchased with stolen credit card numbers.

Often, these arrests have a trail of stolen items that trace back to the suspect’s hometown or near it.  One time Dustin remembers the trail of items stretched all the way to Southern California. Not one of the items in the suspect’s possession originated in Boise.

Although many criminals coming from Seattle, Portland and Salt Lake City  may seek to corrupt Boise’s city streets, the problem hasn’t yet gotten out of hand.

“If you compare us to other large cities, we’re golden,” Dustin said. “The only thing that separates us is that we educate our people and don’t let crime in.”