Identity thieves are simply getting more sophisticated, which means people shouldn’t take shortcuts when it comes to protecting their personal information, says a detective.



Bob Gauthier, a detective with the Edmonton Police Service’s economic crimes section, says identity thieves are becoming more skilled when it comes to using the latest technology to steal someone’s personal information.



"They are actually going online and they’re stealing things that people give up frequently such as things like online applications," said Gauthier.

To kick off Fraud Prevention Month, Gauthier told reporters at a conference yesterday that victims of identity theft are often too complacent.

"People think this will never happen to them," said Gauthier.

"They just don’t think like criminals, but I guess that’s a good thing. But until it happens, they think they could have done something simple like locking the car, checking the mail, shredding unwanted documents and if they did that, none of this stuff would ever happen.

Thieves often live lavish lifestyles on the backs of their victims, says Gauthier. And once a thief has been caught, police often have a backlog of victims to track down — a task that could take weeks or months because of a lack of staff, said the detective.

People should pay attention to their billing cycles and follow up with creditors if their bills don’t arrive on time, says Gauthier.

"Know who you are giving your personal information to when you are filling out applications," said Gauthier.