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Updated Dec 20, 2012 - 1:07 pm

Smart phones contributing to identity theft

PHOENIX -- Smart phone technology is playing a larger role in stolen identity crimes. Thieves take pictures and video which has led to a new breed of criminal called "Shoulder Surfers."

Becky Frost with Experian's ProtectMyID said people can record audio, video and take pictures while standing in line behind victims at the store.

"You get these shoulder surfers who are snapping pictures of your credit and debit cards," she said. "They also take pictures while you're filling out a credit card application in the store. If you're signing up for a card ask the retailer for a private place to fill it out or block the application with your body or hand."

Frost said consumers need to keep store receipts safely stored away. Don't just toss receipts in the trash; shred them.

Phoenix Police Sgt. Jason Davis said stolen smart phones also provide a wealth of info for identity thieves.

"They can look for anything you have stored in there: Personal info, credit card numbers, pictures of a check, bank routing numbers and other info that thieves could use to wreak havoc on you."

Arizona used to top the nation when it came to identity theft and, although the state has dropped to fourth in the country, it is still a big problem.

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About the Author


Position: Senior News Reporter. Started with KTAR July 4, 1999.

Favorite spots in Arizona: Pinetop-Lakeside, Alpine, Greer.

Have covered some of the biggest stories in Arizona including nine of the top 10 largest wildfires in state history. The Wallow Fire in 2011 became the largest fire in state history. Rodeo-Chediski Fire in June 2002, which is the second largest fire in Arizona. Covered the Yarnell Hill Tragedy in June 2013 that left 19 Granite Mountain Hotshots dead.

Favorite movies: True Grit, both 1969 John Wayne classic and the remake with Jeff Bridges and Lonesome Dove.

Sports Teams: Washington State University Cougars, Texas Longhorns, The University of Montana Grizzlies.

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