Financial fraud and identity theft crimes are defined in RCW 43.330.300 as check fraud, chronic unlawful issuance of bank checks, embezzlement, credit/debit card fraud, identity theft, forgery, counterfeit instruments, such as checks or documents, organized counterfeit check rings, and organized identification theft rings.
The impact of financial fraud and identity theft crime has continued to escalate nationwide. According to Javelin Strategy & Research’s 2014 Identity Fraud Report, in 2013, 13.1 million consumers suffered identity fraud – the second-highest level on record. Existing card fraud became increasingly popular with criminals, contributing to the near-record number of identity fraud victims.
The Financial Fraud and Identity Theft Task Forces are the first of their kind in Washington State. There are two task forces currently in operation: the Greater Puget Sound FFIT Task Force and the Spokane County FFIT Task Force. Each task force investigates financial fraud and identity theft cases, with special emphasis on larger and more complex regional, multi-jurisdictional cases including multiple suspects.
Task Force members include federal, state, county, and local law enforcement representatives, as well as financial industry investigators dedicated to addressing financial fraud impacts on the private sector. Each Task Force meets regularly to share information about key suspects, crime trends, investigation status and other important data. As a result, a number of significant FFIT cases are being investigated and prosecuted.