IDAHO FALLS - The most complaints of identity theft in the Gem State came from Boise, followed by Coeur d'Alene and Idaho Falls.
Idaho Falls Police Sgt. Phil Grimes told the Post Register that that his department has seen all manner of identity theft crimes.
"You name it, we've seen it," Grimes said. "Credit card issues, people stealing Social Security numbers, even people filing (fraudulent) tax returns. Just about anything you can dream up is taking place here as well."
The state tallied 905 complaints in 2012, according to numbers from the Federal Trade Commission, more than a 37 percent increase from the previous year. Nationwide there were nearly 370,000 complaints last year, up 30 percent from 2011.
Tami Nealy, a spokeswoman for identity theft protection company LifeLock, said identity thieves still glean sensitive information by rifling through trash and recycling, but the majority of identity theft happens online.
"They don't have to dive through a Dumpster to pull out records," Nealy said. "They can do it cleanly online."
She said nearly half - 46 percent - of identity theft cases involve fraudulent government and benefit documents, such as Medicaid and Medicare cards, driver's licenses and tax returns.
Tax fraud is also common, she said, with some thieves filing W2s using a false identity before the person whose identity they stole can do it. Then the thief can collect the rebate.
Nealy said the IRS is working to correct the problem, but the best protection is to file tax forms early.
"File fast," Nealy said. "If you file early, the thief will get the rejection notice. Your procrastination can turn into their profit."
Identity theft cases remain difficult for police to solve because the criminal is usually in a different jurisdiction than the victim - if not a different country, Grimes said.
"I don't want to say (agencies) won't cooperate, but (identity theft) gets put on the backburner compared to that agency's own crimes," Grimes said. "Getting cooperation, then simply finding out who is doing the identity theft is difficult, even if it's in your own jurisdiction."