Identity theft is one of the most prevalent crimes of the 21st century–with more than 16 million American victims, according to a Bureau of Justice Statistics survey done in 2012.

When UCF Chief of Police Richard Beary was a victim of identity theft, he did what most people do not do and tracked the thief down.


Beary told CBS News’ Crimesider that after he bought a new phone from AT&T and submitted a credit check, he noticed someone charged $1,500 on his credit card at a hotel near Disney. Instead of just calling his credit card company, cancelling his card and attempting to get a refund, he tracked down the thief.


“Most people will just let it go,” Beary told CBS News’ Crimesider.


Beary says that by filing a police report, it gives police a chance to investigate and possibly catch the person committing identity theft. When Beary investigated the person who stole his identity, he noticed that she had been previously jailed for a similar crime–but still got a job doing credit checks at an AT&T store.

Beary is set to become the president of the International Association of Chiefs of Police next year and plans to make identity theft a top priority.

“It’s a huge issue that nobody really wants to tackle,” Beary told Crimesider. “We need to get our arms around it — find out how big the problem is. As a country, we’re just leaking like a sieve. We’ve got money being stolen from us and nobody’s paying attention.”