A Captain with the Clovis Police Department says identity theft is one of the fastest growing crimes in their jurisdiction.
In fact, they just busted a five man identity theft operation on Thursday.
Police say 42-year-old Thomas Hayslett was the ring leader of the seven month operation.
“This operation was making every kind of document you can think of,” says Thomas Roberts, Captain.
Authorities say 51-year-old Cheryl Estes, 32-year-old Ashley Farmer, 27-year-old Floyed Gardner and 38-year-old Jeremy Hanson were stealing and manufacturing peoples personal information like social security numbers to buy whatever they wanted.
“They were doing everything from checks to prescriptions, currency to drivers license: I mean everything that you can think of that you would have for identification to obtain services they were manufacturing,” says Roberts.
Roberts says police found the crew hiding out at a hotel on the 3700 block of North Blackstone Avenue and arrested them.
Kayleena Speakman with the Better Business Bureau says be extra cautious with your personal information.
“Be careful about people standing too close to you when you are checking out,” says Speakman, Spokesperson.
She also says use the chip reader instead of swiping your card, and if you can’t pay with cash use your credit instead.
“It’s easier to get your money back with your credit card where as a scammer can drain your bank account on your debit card really easily before you even realize it,” says Speakman.
Clovis police says watch your mailbox, mail left on your porch and shred personal information before putting it in the trash.
“And frequently check your accounts to make sure there is no activity on it that isn’t your activity,” says Roberts.