in Search

ID theft

All about how it happens and how you can keep it from happening to you.

April 2010 - Posts

  • More Resources For Identity Theft Victims

    You should become familiar with your state’s identity theft prevention, protection and recovery resources.

    A few weeks ago, I posted information regarding the State of Florida's on line “victim kit,” which is designed to help victims of identity theft get through the sometimes difficult process of resolving their case. I suspected that other states have similar resources – and – with a little on line “digging,”  governmental authority victims should contact for assistance and information in addition to the local police department. Many of attorney's general have websites and on line information similar to that posted by Bill McCollum's office in Florida.

    The following web site contains a list of  information available for each of the fifty states plus American Samoa, the District of Columbia, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.

    http://www.identitytheft.info/state.aspx


    Even if you have not become a victim of identity theft, becoming familiar with your state’s available resources is a good idea. In addition to the state web pages, the Federal Trade Commission has also posted information on line to help consumers figure out what to do in the event that they become an unfortunate victim of this crime. The FTC web site, located at http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/microsites/idthef/, provides detailed information to help you defend yourself and your family against identity theft.
    Posted Apr 29 2010, 02:21 AM by IdentityTheft with no comments
    Add to Bloglines Add to Del.icio.us Add to digg Add to Facebook Add to Google Bookmarks Add to Newsvine Add to reddit Add to Stumble Upon Add to Shoutwire Add to Squidoo Add to Technorati Add to Yahoo My Web
  • Former Student Faces Up to 50 Years in Prison For Hacking Sarah Palin's E-mail

    A former University of Tennessee student faces up to 50 years in federal prison if convicted of identity theft, mail fraud and two other felony charges.

    David Kernell, the son of longtime Democratic Memphis, Tennessee state Rep. Mike Kernell, faces four separate felony counts of intentionally accessing an account without authorization, identity theft, wire fraud and obstruction of an FBI investigation. He pled not guilty to all counts in a trial that began on April 10th.

    During the 2008 Presidential campaign, a computer hacker gained access to Republican Vice-Presidential candidate Sarah Palin's email account – the candidate first learned of the event from a news report revealing that she had used her private email account to discuss Alaska state business with staff members. The news report was subsequently confirmed by the Secret Service and her campaign manager.

    Sarah Palin testified last week against a 22-year-old man accused of hacking into her e-mail account, saying later it's up to the judge to decide whether he should serve prison time if convicted. When asked outside the courtroom if she thought the charges were excessive, Palin said, "I don't know, but I do think there should be consequences for bad behavior."

    Palin's daughter Bristol testified that she received harassing phone calls and text messages after screen shots of e-mail from the account published on line revealed her cell phone number. A former Palin aide also described receiving vulgar e-mails as a result of the hacking incident.

    Kernell's lawyer has called the case a prank, not a crime.


    Posted Apr 29 2010, 02:20 AM by IdentityTheft with no comments
    Add to Bloglines Add to Del.icio.us Add to digg Add to Facebook Add to Google Bookmarks Add to Newsvine Add to reddit Add to Stumble Upon Add to Shoutwire Add to Squidoo Add to Technorati Add to Yahoo My Web
  • New Study Estimates Identity Theft Cost $54 Billion Last Year

    More than 11 million Americans fell victim to identity thieves in 2009, at a cost of $54 Billion to consumers and businesses.

    A new study from Javelin Strategy and Research found that more than 11 million adults in the U.S. were victims of identity theft and fraud in 2009, according to financial services researcher Javelin Strategy & Research. This represents a 12% increase in new identity theft incidents at a cost of more than $54 billion to consumers and businesses. Experts predict that this trend is likely to continue throughout 2010 and beyond.

    On a somewhat more optimistic note, the study does indicate that consumers and businesses seem to be doing a much better job of responding to identity theft crime when it does take place. The average time that it took to resolve a case of identity fraud dropped 30 percent last year and nearly half of all identity theft victims are taking the time to file criminal reports with the FTC, law enforcement and creditors.
    Posted Apr 29 2010, 02:20 AM by IdentityTheft with 1 comment(s)
    Add to Bloglines Add to Del.icio.us Add to digg Add to Facebook Add to Google Bookmarks Add to Newsvine Add to reddit Add to Stumble Upon Add to Shoutwire Add to Squidoo Add to Technorati Add to Yahoo My Web
  • Synthetic Identity Theft

    I thought I'd heard them all, but here's yet another twist on the crime of identity theft

    Never underestimate the creative power of the criminal mind.

    After seemingly endless stories about ATM theft, gas pump skimming, stolen laptops, data breaches at banks, insurers and hospitals – as well as the ever-present drumbeat of warnings about “low-tech” identity theft from stolen mail and dumpster-diving thieves, it would seem that identity thieves should  have run out of ideas to steal your personal information by now.

    Definitely Not …

    The newest form of identity theft is called “synthetic” identity theft. Synthetic identity theft occurs when thieves create new identities either by combining real and fake identifying information to establish new accounts with fictional identities or to create a brand new identity from completely fake information.

    For example, a thief may use a real Social Security number, but tie that number to a fictional name – creating a “new person.” The thief can then get credit, open a bank account, purchase a home or anything else using the new, fictitious identity. The thief can also go as far as to establish a credit history for a fake person by establishing credit accounts and an employment history – and can further muddy the waters by using multiple fake identities – sometimes tying them together in an intricate web that is hard to catch or decipher. Many current anti-identity theft systems search for pieces of your identity and match them together for confirmation – with synthetic theft, all the “bits and pieces” of personal information confuse the system — since the computer programs are designed to try and “match” a person’s personal and financial information (their name, address, Social Security number). If the computer doesn’t get a true “match” it moves on to the next record – often without identifying a threat.
    Posted Apr 25 2010, 06:57 AM by IdentityTheft with no comments
    Add to Bloglines Add to Del.icio.us Add to digg Add to Facebook Add to Google Bookmarks Add to Newsvine Add to reddit Add to Stumble Upon Add to Shoutwire Add to Squidoo Add to Technorati Add to Yahoo My Web
  • Florida Identity Theft “Victim Kit”

    Floridians who fall victim to identity thieves have access to a step-by-step resource to help them minimize their financial exposure

    The State of Florida has published online a “victim kit,” designed to help victims of identity theft through the complicated process of resolving their case and clearing their name. While there are many general identity theft resources available both in print and online, the website of Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum adds that “this kit was specifically developed to provide assistance to Floridians who are identity theft victims, as well as individuals in other states who had their personal information fraudulently used in the state of Florida.”

    Anyone who has had their personal or financial information stolen and used fraudulently knows that navigating through the legal system can be a lengthy and often confusing process. Contacting law enforcement, creditors, and financial institutions, and keeping track of the actions you take, the calls you have made (and who you spoke with) and any correspondence is a daunting task by itself.

    When your identity is stolen your personal and financial data can be misused in a variety of ways. If you have become aware of a theft of your personal information, or if you are concerned about the possibility, there are steps you can and should take to protect yourself.

    1. Report any incident of suspected identity theft to the fraud department of the three major credit bureaus.
    2. Contact the fraud department of each of your creditors.
    3. Contact your bank or financial institution.
    4. Report the incident to law enforcement.
    For more details on other steps to be taken, visit the Florida Attorney General's web page at http://myfloridalegal.com/identitytheft
     
    Posted Apr 14 2010, 05:22 AM by IdentityTheft with no comments
    Add to Bloglines Add to Del.icio.us Add to digg Add to Facebook Add to Google Bookmarks Add to Newsvine Add to reddit Add to Stumble Upon Add to Shoutwire Add to Squidoo Add to Technorati Add to Yahoo My Web
  • Now That's A Fish Story!

    Sushi workers in identity theft scam net thousands

    Two New York City Sushi restaurant workers were arrested last week. The two were charged with  identity theft, grand larceny and criminal possession of forgery devices after Citibank discovered that  38 of its credit card accounts had been compromised following purchases at Kaiten Sushi East Restaurant on Third Avenue near East 26th Street, where the suspects had worked for about a year.

    Between October 16th and January 8th, more than $60,000 was illegally charged to credit card accounts that had been used at the restaurant.

    "Skimming" is a method by which thieves steal your credit card information, and all it requires is a little technology and a lot of criminal intent by those who handle your credit card. Skimming occurs most frequently at retail outlets that process credit card payments -- particularly bars, restaurants and gas stations.

    Here's how it works: A corrupt employee "skims" a customer's credit card with a small, handheld electronic device that scans and stores the card data from the magnetic strip. The employee usually sells the information through a contact or on the Internet, at which point counterfeit cards are made. The criminals go on a shopping spree with a copy of the credit or debit card, and cardholders are unaware of the fraud until a statement arrives with purchases they did not make.

    When using your credit card, always make sure your card stays in sight, and never let anyone leave of your presence with the card if you can help it. If you are in a retail store or restaurant and the cashier say he has to go to another counter to run the card, follow him. Each month, monitor your credit card receipts and check them carefully against your statements. Watch for small charges - some thieves take out only small amounts in the hope that cardholders won't notice.

    Credit card skimming: one of the unpublicized dangers of eating uncooked fish!
    Posted Apr 14 2010, 05:01 AM by IdentityTheft with no comments
    Add to Bloglines Add to Del.icio.us Add to digg Add to Facebook Add to Google Bookmarks Add to Newsvine Add to reddit Add to Stumble Upon Add to Shoutwire Add to Squidoo Add to Technorati Add to Yahoo My Web
  • Countrywide Sued In Class Action

    16 sue Countrywide in identity theft case

    Class action lawsuit alleges that Countrywide employees stole and sold "tens of thousands, or millions" of customers' personal financial information, invading their privacy and exposing them to identity theft.

    A lawsuit filed in in Ventura County Court, California by sixteen plaintiffs alleges that Countrywide Financial, Countrywide Home Loans, and Bank of America, which bought Countrywide, knew that the “financial information of potentially millions of customers had been stolen by certain Countrywide agents, employees or other individuals." According to the plaintiffs, their identities have been stolen or compromised, their credit histories have been "shattered," and they've been unable to obtain loans, lines of credit or real estate financing.

    "Countrywide delayed several months before informing their customers," the complaint states. "Finally, Countrywide informed only certain of their customers by letter and offered in settlement to refer their customers for financial to counseling, when it was Countrywide that needed to review and repair its internal procedures and it was Countrywide that needed to repair damages done to the credit of its customers."

    The lawsuit seeks to obtain at least $20 million in damages for invasion of privacy, as well as punitive damages.
    Posted Apr 12 2010, 10:00 AM by IdentityTheft with no comments
    Add to Bloglines Add to Del.icio.us Add to digg Add to Facebook Add to Google Bookmarks Add to Newsvine Add to reddit Add to Stumble Upon Add to Shoutwire Add to Squidoo Add to Technorati Add to Yahoo My Web
  • Dating Site Identity Theft?

    A new twist on identity theft: your personal photos can be used by identity theft scam artists

    Just when you think you've seen it all – identity thieves from overseas who correspond by e-mail and over Internet dating sites with dozens of different women at once in Western countries, using copied photos from the Internet. The identity theft scam artists use the stolen images to lure women on matchmaking sites, often for weeks or months and then ask for money.

    Lagos, a city in Nigeria is a major center for this type of romance identity theft scam.

    A typical scam is to correspond with potential victims for weeks or even months, and then ask for money to be wired for an operation or medicine for a gravely ill relative, or for equipment needed by an orphanage or other charitable organization that the thief claims to belong to or work for. In order to pay for the multiple dating site memberships, the identity thieves often use stolen credit card information from eBay and other sites, as well as information from previous victims.

    The thieves frequent such sites as Millionaire Match.com, Match.com, eHarmony and Yahoo personals.

    Unfortunately, victims of what is called “image theft” have little legal recourse. The only real protection is to encrypt photos so they can't be downloaded or copied from the Internet, but very few Web sites offer such protections.
    Posted Apr 10 2010, 07:51 AM by IdentityTheft with no comments
    Add to Bloglines Add to Del.icio.us Add to digg Add to Facebook Add to Google Bookmarks Add to Newsvine Add to reddit Add to Stumble Upon Add to Shoutwire Add to Squidoo Add to Technorati Add to Yahoo My Web

This Blog

Syndication

Tags