Phony checks, embezzlement, skimmed credit cards and identity theft are among the fastest growing and most prevalent crimes in Fairfax County. Detectives have investigated over 2,500 cases of ID theft alone, since 2009.
To help streamline these complex financial investigations, detectives and technical staff worked together to create a new Financial Crime Online Reporting System (FiCOR) for simpler reporting and quicker response rates for victims.
FiCOR went â€œliveâ€ in September and police have received more than 300 reports from residents whoâ€™ve been victimized. Lieutenant Bob Blakley, former Financial Crimes Unit supervisor who helped establish the program, isnâ€™t surprised. â€œThis new system increases the efficiency of our financial crime investigations. Victims are already understandably upset and angry when theyâ€™ve lost money; they donâ€™t know where to turn; we think this new system will help.â€
Previously, residents called police and messages were left on a phone line, but due to staffing, holidays and weekends, victims may have perceived delays in response. The new system is much closer to real-time response.
â€œOur strategic plan calls us to enhance our services and use manpower more effectively and the FICOR system does this,â€ Blakley adds.
The system is one-of-a-kind. When detectives researched various online reporting systems, they didnâ€™t find what they wanted, so they built it from scratch. Seasoned detectives and officers, who have investigated these sorts of cases for many years, helped build the educational component of the site.
Officers found many people arenâ€™t aware of what constitutes a crime, when police should investigate and what constitutes a civil matter rather than a law enforcement issue. Residents can learn about common fraud scams, construction fraud, credit card/check theft and fraud, and vital prevention steps.
The new Website feature clarifies these issues for the public; itâ€™s a one-stop shopping area for vital information concerning all aspects of financial crimes.