On August 4th, the Chicago Police Department’s 18th District, in partnership with Target, will be participating in National Night Out 2015. This event is an annual effort to promote community and individual involvement in crime prevention activities. This year, the district will be focusing specifically on identity theft, which is the fastest growing crime nationwide.
Identity theft and identity fraud include any form of crime that involves using another person’s personal data in a fraudulent or deceptive way. This frequently involves using another person’s credit card, bank account or other financial information for monetary gain, but identity fraud does not have to involve financial gain for the perpetrator or financial loss for the victim for it to be a crime. The fallout from identify theft and fraud can be devastating, resulting not only in financial loss but in damaged credit and reputations that can take years of effort to repair.
Identity theft was made a federal offense in 1998, after a particularly egregious case in which the perpetrator accumulated more than $100,000 of debt in the victim’s name but could only be charged with falsely procuring a firearm. The Identity Theft and Assumption Deterrence Act made offenses such as credit card fraud, financial institution fraud and computer fraud punishable by up to 30 years in prison.
The 18th District’s National Night Out 2015 will educate community members about common sources of data breaches and ways to protect yourself. Hacking has become the primary way that criminals obtain sensitive personal information, followed by lost devices such as laptops, tablets and cell phones. The third most common kind of data breach is accidental exposure, which refers to various ways in which sensitive information is unintentionally made public by the victims themselves.
Between 5pm and 6pm, the 18th District’s National Night Out will host guest speakers who will go into greater detail about identity theft prevention. Literature and other resources will be available, and several giveaways will help to liven the seriousness of the subject matter. Also, between 4pm and 7pm, Paper Tiger Shredding Document Solutions will be on hand for a community shredding party. It’s a safe and cathartic way to dispose of sensitive material that has been hanging around for years!
The event will conclude with a family style barbeque, with opportunities to network with individuals and organizations within the community. National Night Out is not only about educating individuals in a community, but is also a great way to develop neighborhood camaraderie, promote positive relationships between law enforcement and the community, and send a message that the people in a community are looking out for themselves and each other.
The event will take place at 1160 N. Larrabe, in the south parking lot.