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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.