Ohio is battling a sharp rise in identity theft
cases - a spike so intense that it is the fastest-rising crime rate investigated by the Ohio Hightway Patrol, according to the Columbus Dispatch. Since January 1, 2010, the state has investigated 373 counts of identity fraud - a 100 percent increase over the previous year. Since identity theft
relates to state-issued identification, the responsibility falls to the Highway Patrol to investigate. So far, police are noticing a trend that includes the use of legitimate documents or simply altered, legal forms of ID, Ohio State Patrol Lt. Joe Mannion told WKYC-TV. "The trend we see now is it's real documents," Mannion said. "They've just been tampered with or people are using someone else's actual documents." State Highway Patrol spokesman Lt. Gary Lewis told the Dispatch that despite the numerous ways criminals are accessing fraudulent documents, the amount of cases has gone up, in large part due to improved identity authentication
techniques used by investigators. The cost of identity theft
is significant, reports the Bureau of Justice Statistics. On Thursday, the bureau released data that showed identity theft
affected 11.7 million people to the tune of $17.3 billion in lost finances between 2006 and 2008.