OGDEN -- Residents of the west side of Weber County were more likely to have their identities stolen in the past few years than residents of the east side, according to a Scripps Howard News Service analysis of identity theft records.
The investigation took into account 1.4 million records nationwide from the U.S. Federal Trade Commission.
In Weber County, identity theft was highest in the ZIP code 84404, the county's northwest corner, with 184 complaints from 2005 to 2009, analysis results show.
West Haven and Roy ZIP codes aren't far behind, with 136 and 127 complaints, respectively, according to the data.
"It could be because those are more residential," said Roy Police Sgt. Kevin Smith.
Thieves are increasingly stealing more personal and financial information through vehicle burglaries, he said. They walk through neighborhoods, typically at night, and steal property from unlocked cars.
"People have to remember to bring that inside the house with them," Smith said.
In South Ogden on March 5, a woman reported that thieves stole her purse, with her Social Security card inside it, from her car. Now an identity theft issue could come as a consequence, said South Ogden Police Sgt. Trent Olsen.
Using a stolen identity to open a new credit card was one of the more common complaints, according to the analysis.
But a stolen identity, using a Social Security number or other personal information, was most commonly used to gain employment in almost every Top of Utah ZIP code.
Utah led the national average in employment-related fraud by 3 percentage points during 2009, according to the Federal Trade Commission.
Identity thieves using children's Social Security numbers has been a major concern for the Utah Attorney General's Office, said Chief Deputy Kirk Torgensen.
Such instances can fly under the radar because children and teenagers are not as likely to need their numbers, he said.
"So you have a kid who is trying to get a college loan and finds out he has a credit history," Torgensen said.
In 2009, 13 percent of identity theft complaints from Utah were for people younger than 19, the FTC reported. That's almost double the national average.
Torgensen's office is trying to crack down on this practice, including implementing a program that alerts parents when their child's personal information has been compromised.
He said they have sent out hundreds of such notices in the past several years.
The Utah Attorney General's Office has also been busting ID mills, which agents believe to be responsible for hundreds of fake or stolen Social Security numbers along the Wasatch Front, Torgensen said.
On March 3, police busted an ID mill in Layton that police believe was producing forged Social Security cards.
The Utah Attorney General's Office suspects the mills have been a source of identity theft for some time now, he said. "We're now verifying the problem."
The analysis also showed that using stolen identities to reroute tax refunds is a growing problem, though local law enforcement officials say they have not seen any instances of the trend in their experience.
The largest number of identify theft complaints nationwide came from California, New York, Florida and Texas.