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McLemore: Identity theft on the rise

 

Lt. Wayne McLemore, 45, has 10 days until he retires from the Columbus Police Department.

Lt. Wayne McLemore, 45, has 10 days until he retires from the Columbus Police Department. Photo by: Luisa Porter

 

Dispatch Staff Report

 

Lt. Wayne McLemore has been on the Columbus police force for 24 years. 

 

Over the years, he has worked in drug- and gang-resistance education, criminal investigations, the SWAT team and public relations. 

 

These days, he is the face victims see when they go to the Columbus Police Department to report a burglary, identity theft or other crime. 

 

A trend he has noticed lately is an increase in reports of identity theft. 

 

"What I'm seeing mostly is people messing with other people's identity," McLemore said Thursday during a presentation to the Columbus Exchange Club. 

 

He identified several ways people make themselves vulnerable to identity theft, including the following:

     

     

  • Carrying a Social Security card in a wallet or purse; 

     

  • Keeping credit or debit card pin numbers in a wallet or purse; 

     

  • Crumpling credit card statements instead of shredding them; 

     

  • Leaving behind laptops or telephones with sensitive personal information; 

     

  • Staying signed in to social media or email on a smartphone or other device; 

     

  • Signing credit card receipts without marking out the card number, which sometimes appears on the receipt; 

     

  • Responding to solicitations from parties asking for wire transfers or bank account information. 

     

    On crimes such as identity theft, McLemore said individuals must be proactive. It is one of the few crimes where police can only be reactive, he said.

 

 

McLemore credited active neighborhood watches as the No. 1 deterrent of burglary. In addition to organizing neighborhood watches, he encouraged attendees to communicate with the police. 

 

"The police department is only as good as the citizens that help," he said. 

 

McLemore, 45, has 10 days until he retires from the police department. 

 

As for what's next, who knows? 

 

"I'm not ruling anything out," said McLemore, who lives in Caledonia with his wife, Vicky, and 9-year-old son, Nathan. 

 

"I'm not even ruling out law enforcement," he added. "However, I would like to see how the other side lives. It would be nice to have a normal job where you don't have to work every holiday and carry a gun 24/7."

 

 

 

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