The Department of Justice recently indicted a theft ring of hackers, who stole 40 million credit card numbers. “Identity theft is probably one of the biggest crimes in the world right now," Detective Ed Baswell, of Bossier Sheriff Department, said. The Bossier Sheriff Department handles just a few cases of identity theft a year. But most local cases go unreported. “I am afraid that there are a lot more of these instances, but people are too embarrassed to come forward,” Baswell said. People who have their personal information hacked into should immediately contact their local white collar crime department, located at the Sheriff Department, Baswell said. Checking online bank accounts daily is probably the best way to avoid theft. Although solving these cases is difficult, Baswell said that they do have success in hunting down hackers. There are many ways for people to protect their information kept on personal computers: 1. Buy a security package that includes firewall and antivirus software at a cost of about $50. 2. Download spyware killers, like spybot at www.download.com 3. Password protect wireless networks 4. Visit a local computer store to get professional help and information. Also, there are things computers users should not do: 1. Don't open emails from people you don't know. 2. Don’t click on advertisements that ask for money. 3. Beware of free music downloading sites; harmful software can download with music files. And keeping an eye personal accounts and computers, saves more than money. “The worry, keeping you awake at night, not knowing what they're doing with your personal information is a stress," Baswell said.