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Sunbury woman faces trial in computer scam [Sunbury, PA]

SUNBURY — A Sunbury woman will face Northumberland County Court action on charges related to an international computer scam.
Joyce Newton, 53, of 209 Ridge Ave., was charged by Sunbury police with repackaging items sent to her by a South African man who used fictitious names or stolen credit card numbers.

She waived her right to a preliminary hearing Tuesday in the office of Sunbury District Justice Wade Brown.

FULL STORY from The Daily Item [pop up]

Category: ID Theft News
Posted on March 31, 2004 at 09:20 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Sunbury woman faces trial in computer scam [Sunbury, PA]

SUNBURY — A Sunbury woman will face Northumberland County Court action on charges related to an international computer scam.
Joyce Newton, 53, of 209 Ridge Ave., was charged by Sunbury police with repackaging items sent to her by a South African man who used fictitious names or stolen credit card numbers.

She waived her right to a preliminary hearing Tuesday in the office of Sunbury District Justice Wade Brown.

from The Daily Item

Category: ID Theft News
Posted on March 31, 2004 at 09:20 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Alleged identity thief turns herself in [Kinston, NC]

A Pitt County woman wanted for stealing customers' personal information for her own profit turned herself in to Kinston police Monday.

Collier Lashawn Acklin, 30, of Ayden walked into the police station where her photograph was on the wall for more than a week.

Acklin was arrested and charged with felony counts of embezzlement, identity theft and fraud, charges stemming from her former job at U.S. Cellular, 1306 W. Vernon Ave.

FULL STORY from The Free Press [pop up]

Category: ID Theft News
Posted on March 31, 2004 at 09:18 PM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Alleged identity thief turns herself in [Kinston, NC]

A Pitt County woman wanted for stealing customers' personal information for her own profit turned herself in to Kinston police Monday.

Collier Lashawn Acklin, 30, of Ayden walked into the police station where her photograph was on the wall for more than a week.

Acklin was arrested and charged with felony counts of embezzlement, identity theft and fraud, charges stemming from her former job at U.S. Cellular, 1306 W. Vernon Ave.

from The Free Press

Category: ID Theft News
Posted on March 31, 2004 at 09:18 PM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

ID Theft Con Artists Claim To Help You Register To Vote [SEMINOLE COUNTY, FL]

SEMINOLE COUNTY, Fla. -- There's a community alert in Seminole County. Investigators say at least one woman has fallen victim to con artists claiming to help her register to vote.

With the presidential election heating up, political advocacy groups are everywhere, trying to sign you up to vote. Many see it as a noble calling. But investigators are now looking for two women they say want not your vote, but your identity.

In the small community of Midway, residents say they're used to knocks on the door. So when a woman found two visitors Wednesday morning at her door, she opened right up.

"They were saying they were with a group that's trying to get people out to vote and they asked for her personal information," explains Steve Olson, Seminole County Sheriff's Office.

They claimed to be with a national organization called America Coming Together (ACT) and she gave them her social security number and other personal information so she could do her civic duty and vote on Election Day.

http://www.wftv.com/news/2965067/detail.html from WFTV [pop up]

Category: FRAUD ALERTS
Posted on March 31, 2004 at 08:55 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

ID Theft Con Artists Claim To Help You Register To Vote [SEMINOLE COUNTY, FL]

SEMINOLE COUNTY, Fla. -- There's a community alert in Seminole County. Investigators say at least one woman has fallen victim to con artists claiming to help her register to vote.

With the presidential election heating up, political advocacy groups are everywhere, trying to sign you up to vote. Many see it as a noble calling. But investigators are now looking for two women they say want not your vote, but your identity.

In the small community of Midway, residents say they're used to knocks on the door. So when a woman found two visitors Wednesday morning at her door, she opened right up.

"They were saying they were with a group that's trying to get people out to vote and they asked for her personal information," explains Steve Olson, Seminole County Sheriff's Office.

They claimed to be with a national organization called America Coming Together (ACT) and she gave them her social security number and other personal information so she could do her civic duty and vote on Election Day.

from WFTV

Category: FRAUD ALERTS
Posted on March 31, 2004 at 08:55 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Major ecstacy drug ring involved in identity theft

U.S., Canadian officials say major ecstasy drug ring has been smashed

WASHINGTON – A U.S.-Canadian drug trafficking ring believed responsible for 15 percent of all the ecstasy smuggled into America has been wiped out, authorities said Wednesday. They announced arrests and criminal charges against 170 people.

At its height, the ring distributed 1 million ecstasy tablets per month in the two countries and laundered $5 million a month using travel agencies and bank transfers in the United States and Vietnam, officials said.

FULL STORY from SignOnSanDiego [pop up]

Category: ID Theft News
Posted on March 31, 2004 at 08:53 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Major ecstacy drug ring involved in identity theft

U.S., Canadian officials say major ecstasy drug ring has been smashed

WASHINGTON – A U.S.-Canadian drug trafficking ring believed responsible for 15 percent of all the ecstasy smuggled into America has been wiped out, authorities said Wednesday. They announced arrests and criminal charges against 170 people.

At its height, the ring distributed 1 million ecstasy tablets per month in the two countries and laundered $5 million a month using travel agencies and bank transfers in the United States and Vietnam, officials said.

from SignOnSanDiego

Category: ID Theft News
Posted on March 31, 2004 at 08:53 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

AT&T Alerts Consumers About the Latest Scams

MORRISTOWN, N.J., March 31 /PRNewswire/ -- This April Fool's Day, AT&T wants to warn consumers about some of the latest scams being perpetrated on the unsuspecting public.

"Awareness certainly helps consumers from being bilked," said Robert Cruz, consumer affairs director for AT&T. "We try to be vigilant about detecting new fraud and alerting consumers so they won't fall prey to ever more resourceful lawbreakers."

Beware of the following schemes:

Star-7-2, billing back to you: You receive a call from a stranger posing as a telephone technician or telling you that he has been arrested for driving with a suspended license and is in jail -- or is in a situation that requires your immediate help. "I need to reach my wife and tell her what happened so she can pick up our two kids. Would you dial *72 and then her number?"

Star-7-2 is a custom feature for call forwarding. When the customer dials *72 followed by a telephone number, it activates the call forwarding feature causing all your incoming calls to ring at another number. At the end of the other line -- whether calls have been forwarded to a landline, a cell phone or a payphone -- the original caller's partner-in-crime is able to accept all collect and third-party calls, while telling your own legitimate callers that they have the wrong number. You get billed for all calls made because your number is the one from which they are forwarded. This ingenious scam, which even overrides cell phones inability to get collect calls, may go on for several days before you become aware it has occurred.

*72, Not for you: Do not accept collect calls from individuals you don't know, regardless of who they claim to be. Also, never activate *72, the call forwarding feature, unless you yourself wish to have calls forwarded elsewhere.

Within the sound of my voicemail: Hackers can compromise your voicemail system in order to make fraudulent collect, third party or direct-dial calls. Hackers make use of an out-calling feature on many systems that allows them to make the calls at your expense. It isn't until you receive notification from your telephone company's security group, notices something different about your voicemail greeting, or receive a large bill that you realize you have become a victim.

To prevent this:

* Always change the default password provided by your voicemail vendor.
* Choose a complex voicemail password, of at least six digits, so it's difficult for a hacker to guess.
* Don't use obvious passwords such as an address, birth date or phone number.
* Change your voicemail password often.
* Check your announcement regularly to ensure the greeting is indeed
yours. (Owners of small businesses should consider disabling the auto-attendant, call-forwarding and out-paging capabilities of voicemail (if these features are not used), because those features also can be hacked.

AT&T has begun implementing new advanced security measures to protect consumers and businesses against this fraud by introducing a technological solution to its automated voice-response platform to thwart unauthorized calling from some areas of the world that generate the highest incidences of fraudulent calling. Now, you may notice that when you receive AT&T international collect calls, that instead of saying "yes" to accept the call, you may be asked to follow instructions to dial or speak random codes when prompted by an automated operator. Such technological deterrents have proven very effective to date.

AT&T also reminds you to keep your calling card close to your vest. If someone calls you at home posing as a telephone representative and asks for your calling-card-number to check on unauthorized charges billed to your account, or tells you that your calling card number has been deactivated in error and you must "verify" the number so it can be re-instated, don't be fooled. Never give your calling-card number to anyone over the phone no matter how convincing he or she sounds. And at public telephones, be sure to shield the keypad from "shoulder surfers." Some of these scam artists even use binoculars to see the numbers you're dialing so they can sell them.

For these and other tips on avoiding telecommunications and Internet fraud, visit www.att.com/consumertips. Don't be an April Fool today or any day.

Category: FRAUD ALERTS
Posted on March 31, 2004 at 08:49 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

AT&T Alerts Consumers About the Latest Scams

MORRISTOWN, N.J., March 31 /PRNewswire/ -- This April Fool's Day, AT&T wants to warn consumers about some of the latest scams being perpetrated on the unsuspecting public.

"Awareness certainly helps consumers from being bilked," said Robert Cruz, consumer affairs director for AT&T. "We try to be vigilant about detecting new fraud and alerting consumers so they won't fall prey to ever more resourceful lawbreakers."

Beware of the following schemes:

Star-7-2, billing back to you: You receive a call from a stranger posing as a telephone technician or telling you that he has been arrested for driving with a suspended license and is in jail -- or is in a situation that requires your immediate help. "I need to reach my wife and tell her what happened so she can pick up our two kids. Would you dial *72 and then her number?"

Star-7-2 is a custom feature for call forwarding. When the customer dials *72 followed by a telephone number, it activates the call forwarding feature causing all your incoming calls to ring at another number. At the end of the other line -- whether calls have been forwarded to a landline, a cell phone or a payphone -- the original caller's partner-in-crime is able to accept all collect and third-party calls, while telling your own legitimate callers that they have the wrong number. You get billed for all calls made because your number is the one from which they are forwarded. This ingenious scam, which even overrides cell phones inability to get collect calls, may go on for several days before you become aware it has occurred.

*72, Not for you: Do not accept collect calls from individuals you don't know, regardless of who they claim to be. Also, never activate *72, the call forwarding feature, unless you yourself wish to have calls forwarded elsewhere.

Within the sound of my voicemail: Hackers can compromise your voicemail system in order to make fraudulent collect, third party or direct-dial calls. Hackers make use of an out-calling feature on many systems that allows them to make the calls at your expense. It isn't until you receive notification from your telephone company's security group, notices something different about your voicemail greeting, or receive a large bill that you realize you have become a victim.

To prevent this:

* Always change the default password provided by your voicemail vendor.
* Choose a complex voicemail password, of at least six digits, so it's difficult for a hacker to guess.
* Don't use obvious passwords such as an address, birth date or phone number.
* Change your voicemail password often.
* Check your announcement regularly to ensure the greeting is indeed
yours. (Owners of small businesses should consider disabling the auto-attendant, call-forwarding and out-paging capabilities of voicemail (if these features are not used), because those features also can be hacked.

AT&T has begun implementing new advanced security measures to protect consumers and businesses against this fraud by introducing a technological solution to its automated voice-response platform to thwart unauthorized calling from some areas of the world that generate the highest incidences of fraudulent calling. Now, you may notice that when you receive AT&T international collect calls, that instead of saying "yes" to accept the call, you may be asked to follow instructions to dial or speak random codes when prompted by an automated operator. Such technological deterrents have proven very effective to date.

AT&T also reminds you to keep your calling card close to your vest. If someone calls you at home posing as a telephone representative and asks for your calling-card-number to check on unauthorized charges billed to your account, or tells you that your calling card number has been deactivated in error and you must "verify" the number so it can be re-instated, don't be fooled. Never give your calling-card number to anyone over the phone no matter how convincing he or she sounds. And at public telephones, be sure to shield the keypad from "shoulder surfers." Some of these scam artists even use binoculars to see the numbers you're dialing so they can sell them.

Category: FRAUD ALERTS
Posted on March 31, 2004 at 08:49 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

''Identity Theft'' Tops List of Telecom [PARSIPPANY, N.J]

PARSIPPANY, N.J.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--March 31, 2004--A new survey of the country's leading telecommunications carriers released today reveals that "identity theft" is the leading type of fraud afflicting the industry. In response, major carriers are joining to fight the problem in an industry-wide campaign.


The Telecommunications Risk Management Association (TRMA), a trade organization created by the telecommunications industry to reduce risk and bad debt, sponsored the study. Most of the major U.S. telecom carriers are members of TRMA and a majority participated in this recent survey. TRMA periodically conducts member surveys on important industry issues.

FULL STORY from Business Wire [pop up]

Category: Identity Theft News
Posted on March 31, 2004 at 08:33 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

''Identity Theft'' Tops List of Telecom [PARSIPPANY, N.J]

PARSIPPANY, N.J.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--March 31, 2004--A new survey of the country's leading telecommunications carriers released today reveals that "identity theft" is the leading type of fraud afflicting the industry. In response, major carriers are joining to fight the problem in an industry-wide campaign.


The Telecommunications Risk Management Association (TRMA), a trade organization created by the telecommunications industry to reduce risk and bad debt, sponsored the study. Most of the major U.S. telecom carriers are members of TRMA and a majority participated in this recent survey. TRMA periodically conducts member surveys on important industry issues.


Category: Identity Theft News
Posted on March 31, 2004 at 08:33 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Leader of identity-theft ring pleads guilty, faces 13-year sentence [San Diego, CA]

SAN DIEGO – The leader of San Diego County's largest identity theft ring pleaded guilty today to 20 felony counts and will be sentenced to 13 years in prison.

David Sunas Ramirez, 36, is one of 21 people indicted last October and charged with operating a ring that produced counterfeit identifications and altered and forged checks.


FULL STORY from SignOnSanDiego [pop up]

Category: ID Theft News
Posted on March 30, 2004 at 11:00 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Leader of identity-theft ring pleads guilty, faces 13-year sentence [San Diego, CA]

SAN DIEGO – The leader of San Diego County's largest identity theft ring pleaded guilty today to 20 felony counts and will be sentenced to 13 years in prison.

David Sunas Ramirez, 36, is one of 21 people indicted last October and charged with operating a ring that produced counterfeit identifications and altered and forged checks.


from SignOnSanDiego

Category: ID Theft News
Posted on March 30, 2004 at 11:00 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

New Local Team Fighting ID Theft [Lansing, MI]

It's one of the fastest growing crimes in the country, and anyone can fall victim to it without even knowing it. It's identity theft, and a new Michigan State Police team is focused on cracking these crimes and getting convictions.

Trp. Jesse Harper, MSP: "Literally one in 4 people are a victim of it, and I believe those numbers are actually greater than that."

FULL STORY from WLNS [pop up]

Category: Identity Theft News
Posted on March 30, 2004 at 10:29 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

New Local Team Fighting ID Theft [Lansing, MI]

It's one of the fastest growing crimes in the country, and anyone can fall victim to it without even knowing it. It's identity theft, and a new Michigan State Police team is focused on cracking these crimes and getting convictions.

Trp. Jesse Harper, MSP: "Literally one in 4 people are a victim of it, and I believe those numbers are actually greater than that."

from WLNS

Category: Identity Theft News
Posted on March 30, 2004 at 10:29 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Alleged shoplifter charged with identity theft [Corbin, KY]

A Corbin man was arrested over the weekend for trying to steal his cousin’s identity after police said he was caught shoplifting at a local grocery store.
Corbin Ptl. Bill Rose said he and Ptl. Chad Gregory responded to Kroger’s at Corbin Station Saturday around 5:48 p.m. after management reported a suspected shoplifter.
Kenneth Lighty, 49, of Corbin, was arrested for allegedly stealing $20.98 worth of merchandise including Polaroid film, nasal spray and cheese.

FULL STORY from The Corbin Times-Tribune [pop up]

Category: ID Theft News
Posted on March 30, 2004 at 09:49 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Alleged shoplifter charged with identity theft [Corbin, KY]

A Corbin man was arrested over the weekend for trying to steal his cousin’s identity after police said he was caught shoplifting at a local grocery store.
Corbin Ptl. Bill Rose said he and Ptl. Chad Gregory responded to Kroger’s at Corbin Station Saturday around 5:48 p.m. after management reported a suspected shoplifter.
Kenneth Lighty, 49, of Corbin, was arrested for allegedly stealing $20.98 worth of merchandise including Polaroid film, nasal spray and cheese.

from The Corbin Times-Tribune

Category: ID Theft News
Posted on March 30, 2004 at 09:49 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

More on the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act

Identity theft is no small matter and continues to be the fastest growing crime in America. A recent survey revealed that 9.9 million people were victims in a single year, at a cost to businesses and financial institutions of $48 billion, plus $5 million in out-of-pocket expenses for the victims.

A new federal law nicknamed "FACT" (the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act) signed last December gives consumers greater protection by addressing the problems of identity theft, privacy and the inaccuracies of the consumer credit reporting system. Here's the least you need to know about this important new law.

Not yet effective: While the law was signed Dec. 4, 2003, most of its provisions are not effective until Dec. 1, 2004.

Free credit report: Every American will be entitled to one free credit report per year from the big three credit bureaus: Experian, EquiFax and Trans Union.

One call does it all: Whether your credit or debit card is lost or stolen, one call to a consumer reporting agency will notify all agencies and credit card companies.

Padlock your file: You will have the option to place a lock on your credit file. Before any credit is granted in your name, the bureau must verify through a phone call that it's you (and not an imposter) applying for credit.

Report the incident: If anyone other than you attempts to get credit in your name, the bank or institution will be required to provide you with copies of the evidence within 30 days of the event.

Truncate credit numbers: While many merchants and bankers already print only the last five digits of your account on electronic receipts, now it's the law. However, merchants have until Dec. 4, 2006, to phase out electronic equipment that does not comply.

Disclose the bad news: Thanks to this new law, a creditor will have to tell you if it reports any negative information about you to the credit bureaus. You will be able to dispute negative information directly to your creditors rather than going through the credit bureau.

Fair treatment: A bank will have to tell you if it grants you credit at less favorable terms than those received by most other consumers and why.

Run up the red flags: Regulators will be required to devise a list of "red flag" indicators to identify patterns, practices and specific forms of activity that indicate the possible existence of identity theft that could be threatening a consumer's credit file.

It's too soon to assess whether FACT has enough muscle to bring down identity theft. While I'm hopeful it will help, don't assume anything. Our best protection against identity theft continues to be our willingness to remain completely aware and reasonably suspicious

FULL STORY from Twin Cities [pop up]


Category: Consumer Tips
Posted on March 30, 2004 at 09:17 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

More on the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act

Identity theft is no small matter and continues to be the fastest growing crime in America. A recent survey revealed that 9.9 million people were victims in a single year, at a cost to businesses and financial institutions of $48 billion, plus $5 million in out-of-pocket expenses for the victims.

A new federal law nicknamed "FACT" (the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act) signed last December gives consumers greater protection by addressing the problems of identity theft, privacy and the inaccuracies of the consumer credit reporting system. Here's the least you need to know about this important new law.

Not yet effective: While the law was signed Dec. 4, 2003, most of its provisions are not effective until Dec. 1, 2004.

Free credit report: Every American will be entitled to one free credit report per year from the big three credit bureaus: Experian, EquiFax and Trans Union.

One call does it all: Whether your credit or debit card is lost or stolen, one call to a consumer reporting agency will notify all agencies and credit card companies.

Padlock your file: You will have the option to place a lock on your credit file. Before any credit is granted in your name, the bureau must verify through a phone call that it's you (and not an imposter) applying for credit.

Report the incident: If anyone other than you attempts to get credit in your name, the bank or institution will be required to provide you with copies of the evidence within 30 days of the event.

Truncate credit numbers: While many merchants and bankers already print only the last five digits of your account on electronic receipts, now it's the law. However, merchants have until Dec. 4, 2006, to phase out electronic equipment that does not comply.

Disclose the bad news: Thanks to this new law, a creditor will have to tell you if it reports any negative information about you to the credit bureaus. You will be able to dispute negative information directly to your creditors rather than going through the credit bureau.

Fair treatment: A bank will have to tell you if it grants you credit at less favorable terms than those received by most other consumers and why.

Run up the red flags: Regulators will be required to devise a list of "red flag" indicators to identify patterns, practices and specific forms of activity that indicate the possible existence of identity theft that could be threatening a consumer's credit file.

It's too soon to assess whether FACT has enough muscle to bring down identity theft. While I'm hopeful it will help, don't assume anything. Our best protection against identity theft continues to be our willingness to remain completely aware and reasonably suspicious

from Twin Cities

Category: Consumer Tips
Posted on March 30, 2004 at 09:17 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Traffic stop leads to bust of suspected identity-theft ring

MODESTO - A routine traffic stop in Waterford led to the arrest of five people for charges of mail theft and identity theft. The identity-theft ring was stealing between $30,000-$50,000 per month from the unknowing victims.

In January, Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Deputy Cory Brown pulled over Carl Robbins, 52, of Waterford, for a traffic violation. A subsequent search of the vehicle uncovered two large garbage bags full of stolen mail. The mail had been stolen from mailboxes all over Stanislaus County as well as from some homes in the Mariposa area. Robbins was booked into Stanislaus County Jail and charged with possession of stolen property.

FULL STORY from Turlock Journal

Category: ID Theft News
Posted on March 30, 2004 at 08:46 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Traffic stop leads to bust of suspected identity-theft ring

MODESTO - A routine traffic stop in Waterford led to the arrest of five people for charges of mail theft and identity theft. The identity-theft ring was stealing between $30,000-$50,000 per month from the unknowing victims.

In January, Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Deputy Cory Brown pulled over Carl Robbins, 52, of Waterford, for a traffic violation. A subsequent search of the vehicle uncovered two large garbage bags full of stolen mail. The mail had been stolen from mailboxes all over Stanislaus County as well as from some homes in the Mariposa area. Robbins was booked into Stanislaus County Jail and charged with possession of stolen property.

from Turlock Journal

Category: ID Theft News
Posted on March 30, 2004 at 08:46 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

BJ's announces security clampdown after credit card theft [Natick,MA]

NATICK, Mass. - BJ's Wholesale Club has tightened computer security after finding that its customers' credit card information might have been stolen, forcing banks and financial institutions to replace thousands of credit and debit cards.

BJ's released a statement March 12 saying that "a small fraction" of its eight million members might have had their credit card information stolen.

FULL STORY from Times Leader [pop up]


Category: ID Theft News
Posted on March 30, 2004 at 02:55 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

BJ's announces security clampdown after credit card theft [Natick,MA]

NATICK, Mass. - BJ's Wholesale Club has tightened computer security after finding that its customers' credit card information might have been stolen, forcing banks and financial institutions to replace thousands of credit and debit cards.

BJ's released a statement March 12 saying that "a small fraction" of its eight million members might have had their credit card information stolen.

from Times Leader

Category: ID Theft News
Posted on March 30, 2004 at 02:55 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Local ID Theft Case Costs Merchants Thousands [Indianapolis, IN]

For months, investigators have been looking into identity theft at the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles. One local case of identity theft has cost local merchants thousands of dollars.

The Marion County Sheriff's Department is looking for a man it says got a driver's license with a fake ID and apparently has been doing quite a bit of shopping ever since.

Police say the suspect used two false identities to get driver's licenses at the BMV. One is under the name Lashawn Harrien, the other, Reney Dubose.

FULL STORY from WISH-TV 8 [pop up]

Category: ID Theft News
Posted on March 30, 2004 at 03:08 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Local ID Theft Case Costs Merchants Thousands [Indianapolis, IN]

For months, investigators have been looking into identity theft at the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles. One local case of identity theft has cost local merchants thousands of dollars.

The Marion County Sheriff's Department is looking for a man it says got a driver's license with a fake ID and apparently has been doing quite a bit of shopping ever since.

Police say the suspect used two false identities to get driver's licenses at the BMV. One is under the name Lashawn Harrien, the other, Reney Dubose.

from WISH-TV 8

Category: ID Theft News
Posted on March 30, 2004 at 03:08 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

3 Arrested in Real Estate Fraud Case [Orange County, CA]

Suspects used stolen or fake identities to obtain about 250 mortgages and defraud lenders of more than $30 million, federal authorities say.

In what prosecutors describe as one of the largest cases of its kind in Orange County history, three people were arrested Monday on suspicion of defrauding financial institutions of more than $30 million since 1998 in a banking and real estate scheme.

In early-morning raids at the suspects' homes, FBI agents arrested Alberto Mordoki, 44, and Mirella Mordoki, 35, a married couple from Fullerton, and Alejandro Sady-Kennedy, 44, of Ladera Ranch.

FULL STORY from LA Times [pop up]

Category: ID Theft News
Posted on March 30, 2004 at 02:58 AM | Permalink | Comments (4) | TrackBack

3 Arrested in Real Estate Fraud Case [Orange County, CA]

Suspects used stolen or fake identities to obtain about 250 mortgages and defraud lenders of more than $30 million, federal authorities say.

In what prosecutors describe as one of the largest cases of its kind in Orange County history, three people were arrested Monday on suspicion of defrauding financial institutions of more than $30 million since 1998 in a banking and real estate scheme.

In early-morning raids at the suspects' homes, FBI agents arrested Alberto Mordoki, 44, and Mirella Mordoki, 35, a married couple from Fullerton, and Alejandro Sady-Kennedy, 44, of Ladera Ranch.

from LA Times

Category: ID Theft News
Posted on March 30, 2004 at 02:58 AM | Permalink | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Former auto dealer must help victims restore credit [PHILADELPHIA, PA]

PHILADELPHIA -- A former Limerick auto dealer who allegedly stole the identities of an estimated 150 customers to obtain more than $4 million has been ordered by a federal judge to work with credit companies to restore the victims’ credit ratings.

Within 30 days, Benjamin J. Marchese III must issue corrective statements to all lenders and all credit reporting agencies, directing those agencies to remove all improper loan obligations from the victims’ credit reports or histories, U.S. District Court Judge Norma L. Shapiro ruled.

FULL STORY from The Mercury [pop up]

Category: ID Theft News
Posted on March 30, 2004 at 02:56 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Former auto dealer must help victims restore credit [PHILADELPHIA, PA]

PHILADELPHIA -- A former Limerick auto dealer who allegedly stole the identities of an estimated 150 customers to obtain more than $4 million has been ordered by a federal judge to work with credit companies to restore the victims’ credit ratings.

Within 30 days, Benjamin J. Marchese III must issue corrective statements to all lenders and all credit reporting agencies, directing those agencies to remove all improper loan obligations from the victims’ credit reports or histories, U.S. District Court Judge Norma L. Shapiro ruled.

from The Mercury

Category: ID Theft News
Posted on March 30, 2004 at 02:56 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

POSTING grades raises fear of identity theft [Nashville,TN]

It's a familiar image: The moment a college professor releases students' grades on his final exam, students crowd around the piece of paper tacked to the bulletin board or office door, finding their scores lined up with their Social Security numbers.

While most people don't know who 123-45-6789 with the A-plus is, someone could find out if that person celebrates too noisily. And it could be just a matter of time before another identity theft is under way.

FULL STORY from The Tennessean [pop up]

Category: Consumer Tips
Posted on March 30, 2004 at 02:52 AM | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

POSTING grades raises fear of identity theft [Nashville,TN]

It's a familiar image: The moment a college professor releases students' grades on his final exam, students crowd around the piece of paper tacked to the bulletin board or office door, finding their scores lined up with their Social Security numbers.

While most people don't know who 123-45-6789 with the A-plus is, someone could find out if that person celebrates too noisily. And it could be just a matter of time before another identity theft is under way.

from The Tennessean

Category: Consumer Tips
Posted on March 30, 2004 at 02:52 AM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Identity theft nets woman probation [Indianapolis, IN]

LAFAYETTE, Ind. -- A judge has freed a Mexican national who admitted she used another person's name and Social Security number to get a job, saying the justice system is not equipped to deal with the large number of such cases.

In ordering unsupervised probation for Mireya Garcia, Judge Don Johnson rejected a probation officer's recommendation that the woman serve four years in prison.

Indianapolis Star from INSERT [pop up]

Category: ID Theft News
Posted on March 30, 2004 at 02:50 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Identity theft nets woman probation [Indianapolis, IN]

LAFAYETTE, Ind. -- A judge has freed a Mexican national who admitted she used another person's name and Social Security number to get a job, saying the justice system is not equipped to deal with the large number of such cases.

In ordering unsupervised probation for Mireya Garcia, Judge Don Johnson rejected a probation officer's recommendation that the woman serve four years in prison.

from Indianapolis Star

Category: ID Theft News
Posted on March 30, 2004 at 02:50 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Summary of The Fair and Accurate Credit Transaction Act of 2003

Consumers Have New Protection Against Identity Theft

The Fair and Accurate Credit Transaction Act of 2003 is expected to give some added protection against identity theft and ensure that all citizens are treated fairly when they apply for a mortgage or other form of credit.

The law provides consumers, companies, regulators and credit reporting agencies with new tools that expand access to credit and other financial services, enhance the accuracy of consumers’ financial information, and are expected to help fight identity theft.

This new law is designed to:

  • Give consumers the right to obtain their credit report free of charge every year. Consumers will be able to review a free report every year for unauthorized activity, including activity that might be the result of identity theft.
  • Guarantee access to the credit score used to evaluate and price loans and mortgage applications.
  • Require merchants to leave all but the last five digits of a credit card number off store receipts, to help prevent identity theft. This law will make sure that slips of paper that most people trash does not contain their credit card number, a key to their financial identities.
  • Create a national system of fraud detection to make identity thieves more likely to be caught. Previously, victims would have to make phone calls to all of their credit card companies and three major credit-reporting agencies (Equixfax, Experian and Trans Union) to alert them to the crime. Now consumers will have the power to place fraud alerts on their credit files if they suspect that fraud has occurred. Those alerts, in turn, will instruct banks and other creditors not to open new accounts or extend additional credit to anyone without contacting the consumer first.
  • Require lenders and credit agencies to take action before a victim even knows a crime has occurred. With oversight by bank regulators, the credit agencies will draw up a set of guidelines to identify patterns common to identity theft, and develop methods to stop identity theft before it can cause major damage.
  • Give consumers the option, with some exceptions, to opt out of receiving marketing calls or mail from companies they do business with.

    For more information on the Fair and Accurate Transaction Act of 2003, see the offical document (H.R. 2622) [PDF]

    Category: Consumer Tips, Identity Theft News
    Posted on March 28, 2004 at 08:37 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Summary of The Fair and Accurate Credit Transaction Act of 2003

    Consumers Have New Protection Against Identity Theft

    The Fair and Accurate Credit Transaction Act of 2003 is expected to give some added protection against identity theft and ensure that all citizens are treated fairly when they apply for a mortgage or other form of credit.

    The law provides consumers, companies, regulators and credit reporting agencies with new tools that expand access to credit and other financial services, enhance the accuracy of consumers’ financial information, and are expected to help fight identity theft.

    This new law is designed to:

    • Give consumers the right to obtain their credit report free of charge every year. Consumers will be able to review a free report every year for unauthorized activity, including activity that might be the result of identity theft.
    • Guarantee access to the credit score used to evaluate and price loans and mortgage applications.
    • Require merchants to leave all but the last five digits of a credit card number off store receipts, to help prevent identity theft. This law will make sure that slips of paper that most people trash does not contain their credit card number, a key to their financial identities.
    • Create a national system of fraud detection to make identity thieves more likely to be caught. Previously, victims would have to make phone calls to all of their credit card companies and three major credit-reporting agencies (Equixfax, Experian and Trans Union) to alert them to the crime. Now consumers will have the power to place fraud alerts on their credit files if they suspect that fraud has occurred. Those alerts, in turn, will instruct banks and other creditors not to open new accounts or extend additional credit to anyone without contacting the consumer first.
    • Require lenders and credit agencies to take action before a victim even knows a crime has occurred. With oversight by bank regulators, the credit agencies will draw up a set of guidelines to identify patterns common to identity theft, and develop methods to stop identity theft before it can cause major damage.
    • Give consumers the option, with some exceptions, to opt out of receiving marketing calls or mail from companies they do business with.

      For more information on the Fair and Accurate Transaction Act of 2003, see the offical document (H.R. 2622)


      Category: Consumer Tips, Identity Theft News
      Posted on March 28, 2004 at 08:37 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

      Guard your Social Security number

      Be careful about giving out your SSN--it's key to stealing your identity

      Schools, phone companies, utilities, health clubs, insurance companies, video stores -- just about everybody wants your SSN. Some of the more prevalent uses are to get your credit rating and determine whether you pay your bills, and to keep track of you through name and address changes.

      But companies also use your number to develop marketing lists, which they can sell to other companies. A list with the numbers is more valuable than one without.

      Why should you care who sees your Social Security number? The more people who see it, the more susceptible you are to identity theft, where you are victimized by someone fraudulently using your name and credit report to steal money.

      "I've seen accounts opened with wrong names and different addresses. As long as there's an SSN, that's all some of them care about," says Linda Foley of the San Diego-based Identity Theft Research Center.

      Who has the right to ask for your digits?

      While any business or agency can ask for your number, few can actually demand it -- motor vehicle departments, tax departments and welfare departments, for example. Also, SSNs are required for transactions involving taxes, so that means banks, brokerages, employers, and the like also have a legitimate need for your SSN.

      Most other businesses have no legal right to demand your number.

      "There is no law prohibiting a business from asking for your Social Security number, but people don't know they can say no," says Carolyn Cheezum of the Social Security Administration.

      "We recommend that you ask if they'll accept an alternative piece of identification. If they don't, flat-out refuse to do business with them. Bear in mind that there's a possibility they'll refuse to provide whatever product or service you're seeking."

      For example, you don’t need to give your SSN to your doctor.

      In fact, chances are good that many companies that routinely ask for SSNs will do business with you even if they can't have your number.

      SSNs and identity theft

      Social Security numbers exist for the purpose of tracking earnings and paying benefits, according to Cheezum. Although President Franklin Roosevelt signed an order requiring federal agencies to use SSNs for record-keeping systems, they were never meant to be used by businesses as an identifier, but have taken on that role because everyone has one.

      But the snowballing problem of identity theft is spurring some governments to limit the use of SSNs. California is leading the way with its recently enacted law barring businesses, health care providers and schools from:

      • Publicly posting SSNs or requiring them for access to products or services
      • Printing of SSNs on cards required for accessing products or services
      • Requiring an individual to use his or her SSN to access a Web site unless a password is also required to access the site.
      • Printing an individual's SSN on any materials that are mailed to the individual.
      • The state of New York limits the use of SSNs in schools and colleges. New York public and private schools cannot publicly display SSNs. Many are opting to assign students identification numbers. Arizona has passed similar legislation.

      Foley says she hopes other states will follow suit and be even more restrictive so that SSNs will eventually be used only for a few selective purposes.

      But, Foley says, until that happens, the first defense against the fraudulent use of SSNs are the companies that issue credit.

      If you suspect someone is fraudulently using your Social Security number, contact the Social Security Administration's fraud hotline at (800) 269-0271 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Eastern, or e-mail: OIG.hotline@SSA.gov.

      From Bankrate.com

      Category: Consumer Tips
      Posted on March 28, 2004 at 07:16 PM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

      Guard your Social Security number

      Be careful about giving out your SSN--it's key to stealing your identity

      Schools, phone companies, utilities, health clubs, insurance companies, video stores -- just about everybody wants your SSN. Some of the more prevalent uses are to get your credit rating and determine whether you pay your bills, and to keep track of you through name and address changes.

      But companies also use your number to develop marketing lists, which they can sell to other companies. A list with the numbers is more valuable than one without.

      Why should you care who sees your Social Security number? The more people who see it, the more susceptible you are to identity theft, where you are victimized by someone fraudulently using your name and credit report to steal money.

      "I've seen accounts opened with wrong names and different addresses. As long as there's an SSN, that's all some of them care about," says Linda Foley of the San Diego-based Identity Theft Research Center.

      Who has the right to ask for your digits?

      While any business or agency can ask for your number, few can actually demand it -- motor vehicle departments, tax departments and welfare departments, for example. Also, SSNs are required for transactions involving taxes, so that means banks, brokerages, employers, and the like also have a legitimate need for your SSN.

      Most other businesses have no legal right to demand your number.

      "There is no law prohibiting a business from asking for your Social Security number, but people don't know they can say no," says Carolyn Cheezum of the Social Security Administration.

      "We recommend that you ask if they'll accept an alternative piece of identification. If they don't, flat-out refuse to do business with them. Bear in mind that there's a possibility they'll refuse to provide whatever product or service you're seeking."

      For example, you don’t need to give your SSN to your doctor.

      In fact, chances are good that many companies that routinely ask for SSNs will do business with you even if they can't have your number.

      SSNs and identity theft

      Social Security numbers exist for the purpose of tracking earnings and paying benefits, according to Cheezum. Although President Franklin Roosevelt signed an order requiring federal agencies to use SSNs for record-keeping systems, they were never meant to be used by businesses as an identifier, but have taken on that role because everyone has one.

      But the snowballing problem of identity theft is spurring some governments to limit the use of SSNs. California is leading the way with its recently enacted law barring businesses, health care providers and schools from:

      • Publicly posting SSNs or requiring them for access to products or services
      • Printing of SSNs on cards required for accessing products or services
      • Requiring an individual to use his or her SSN to access a Web site unless a password is also required to access the site.
      • Printing an individual's SSN on any materials that are mailed to the individual.
      • The state of New York limits the use of SSNs in schools and colleges. New York public and private schools cannot publicly display SSNs. Many are opting to assign students identification numbers. Arizona has passed similar legislation.

      Foley says she hopes other states will follow suit and be even more restrictive so that SSNs will eventually be used only for a few selective purposes.

      But, Foley says, until that happens, the first defense against the fraudulent use of SSNs are the companies that issue credit.

      If you suspect someone is fraudulently using your Social Security number, contact the Social Security Administration's fraud hotline at (800) 269-0271 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Eastern, or e-mail: OIG.hotline@SSA.gov.

      From Bankrate.com

      Category: Consumer Tips
      Posted on March 28, 2004 at 07:16 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

      Woman sentenced in identity theft case [Kansas City, KS]

      A woman who posed as a cosmetics saleswoman to steal from the elderly in Johnson County was sentenced Friday to three years and one month in prison.

      Leneise R. Watts, 42, who is also known as Leneise Kemp, pleaded guilty Jan. 16 to identity theft and forgery.

      FULL STORY from Kansas City Star [pop up]

      Category: ID Theft News
      Posted on March 28, 2004 at 07:05 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

      Woman sentenced in identity theft case [Kansas City, KS]

      A woman who posed as a cosmetics saleswoman to steal from the elderly in Johnson County was sentenced Friday to three years and one month in prison.

      Leneise R. Watts, 42, who is also known as Leneise Kemp, pleaded guilty Jan. 16 to identity theft and forgery.

      from Kansas City Star

      Category: ID Theft News
      Posted on March 28, 2004 at 07:05 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

      Superior pair charged with identity theft [Duluth,MN]

      A 20-year-old woman left her purse unattended at a table in a Duluth restaurant Monday and learned how quickly identity thieves can spring into action.

      "Within an hour after stealing the purse, they had already gone over and wiped out her savings account and were already on their way on a shopping spree with her checkbook," Duluth police Officer Bill Stovern said Friday in relating the crime.

      FULL STORY from Duluth News Tribune [pop up]

      Category: ID Theft News
      Posted on March 28, 2004 at 06:00 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

      Superior pair charged with identity theft [Duluth,MN]

      A 20-year-old woman left her purse unattended at a table in a Duluth restaurant Monday and learned how quickly identity thieves can spring into action.

      "Within an hour after stealing the purse, they had already gone over and wiped out her savings account and were already on their way on a shopping spree with her checkbook," Duluth police Officer Bill Stovern said Friday in relating the crime.

      from Duluth News Tribune

      Category: ID Theft News
      Posted on March 28, 2004 at 06:00 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

      FTC sets out timetable for handing out free credit reports

      President Bush, in December 2003, signed into law the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act. This gives all U.S. consumers a new federal right to obtain one free credit report every year from each of the three national credit bureaus.

      An article in sfgate.com has this to say about the timetable:

      When does this start? Unfortunately, not as soon as most consumers would like. Congress gave the FTC the authority to create a phased-in availability schedule to prevent the bureaus from being overwhelmed with requests.

      The FTC proposes a west to east rollout beginning Dec. 1. Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, Oregon and Washington residents will get first crack at free reports on that date.

      Next will come Midwestern residents (including Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, Wisconsin and Nebraska, among others) on March 1. Southern states (including Florida, Texas, Georgia, Oklahoma, South Carolina and Tennessee) will become eligible June 1, 2005.

      Eastern states from North Carolina through Virginia, the District of Columbia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York and all of New England will phase in on Sept. 1, 2005.

      Category: Consumer Tips
      Posted on March 28, 2004 at 09:12 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

      FTC sets out timetable for handing out free credit reports

      President Bush, in December 2003, signed into law the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act. This gives all U.S. consumers a new federal right to obtain one free credit report every year from each of the three national credit bureaus.

      An article in sfgate.com has this to say about the timetable:

      When does this start? Unfortunately, not as soon as most consumers would like. Congress gave the FTC the authority to create a phased-in availability schedule to prevent the bureaus from being overwhelmed with requests.

      The FTC proposes a west to east rollout beginning Dec. 1. Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, Oregon and Washington residents will get first crack at free reports on that date.

      Next will come Midwestern residents (including Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, Wisconsin and Nebraska, among others) on March 1. Southern states (including Florida, Texas, Georgia, Oklahoma, South Carolina and Tennessee) will become eligible June 1, 2005.

      Eastern states from North Carolina through Virginia, the District of Columbia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York and all of New England will phase in on Sept. 1, 2005.

      Category: Consumer Tips
      Posted on March 28, 2004 at 09:12 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

      How one offshore worker sent tremor through medical system [San Francisco, CA]

      Outsourced UCSF notes highlight privacy risk

      Lubna Baloch sat in her office in the sprawling Pakistani commercial center of Karachi and gazed at the e-mail she'd composed. She tried to imagine the reaction half a world away when the people at UC San Francisco Medical Center saw what she'd written.

      The famous U.S. hospital would have to take her seriously, Baloch knew, when it realized she was prepared to post its confidential patient records on the Internet. That is, unless UCSF helped her get the money she was owed from the mysterious Tom Spires, her link in a long chain of medical transcription subcontractors.

      FULL STORY from sfgate.com [pop up]

      Category: ID Theft News
      Posted on March 28, 2004 at 12:00 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

      How one offshore worker sent tremor through medical system [San Francisco, CA]

      Outsourced UCSF notes highlight privacy risk

      Lubna Baloch sat in her office in the sprawling Pakistani commercial center of Karachi and gazed at the e-mail she'd composed. She tried to imagine the reaction half a world away when the people at UC San Francisco Medical Center saw what she'd written.

      The famous U.S. hospital would have to take her seriously, Baloch knew, when it realized she was prepared to post its confidential patient records on the Internet. That is, unless UCSF helped her get the money she was owed from the mysterious Tom Spires, her link in a long chain of medical transcription subcontractors.

      from sfgate.com

      Category: ID Theft News
      Posted on March 28, 2004 at 12:00 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

      MSU Student charged with identity theft, fraud [East Lansing, MI]

      An MSU student was arraigned Friday on charges of identity theft and fraud, after police say she used personal information of other students to steal more than $100,000.

      Communication senior Denita Dorsey, 22, of Saginaw, was charged with stealing from several victims, many of which were tenants of Melrose Apartments, 16789 Chandler Road. Dorsey was an employee at the apartment complex until her termination in December, and police had been looking for her since.

      FULL STORY from The State News [pop up]

      Category: ID Theft News
      Posted on March 27, 2004 at 11:52 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

      MSU Student charged with identity theft, fraud [East Lansing, MI]

      An MSU student was arraigned Friday on charges of identity theft and fraud, after police say she used personal information of other students to steal more than $100,000.

      Communication senior Denita Dorsey, 22, of Saginaw, was charged with stealing from several victims, many of which were tenants of Melrose Apartments, 16789 Chandler Road. Dorsey was an employee at the apartment complex until her termination in December, and police had been looking for her since.

      from The State News

      Category: ID Theft News
      Posted on March 27, 2004 at 11:52 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

      Who's stealing you? [Twin Falls, Idaho]

      Identity theft can happen to anyone, say victims, experts

      TWIN FALLS -- With an armful of new school clothes for her son, Laura Miller approached the register at Old Navy last August.

      Realizing she could get a discount on the purchase if she applied for a store credit card, Miller filled out the application and waited for approval.

      "They said, 'You've been declined because your Social Security number doesn't match with your name,'" she recalled. "I said, 'That's impossible.'"

      FULL STORY from The Times-News [pop up]

      Category: Consumer Tips, Identity Theft News
      Posted on March 27, 2004 at 11:48 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

      Who's stealing you? [Twin Falls, Idaho]

      Identity theft can happen to anyone, say victims, experts

      TWIN FALLS -- With an armful of new school clothes for her son, Laura Miller approached the register at Old Navy last August.

      Realizing she could get a discount on the purchase if she applied for a store credit card, Miller filled out the application and waited for approval.

      "They said, 'You've been declined because your Social Security number doesn't match with your name,'" she recalled. "I said, 'That's impossible.'"

      from The Times-News

      Category: Consumer Tips, Identity Theft News
      Posted on March 27, 2004 at 11:48 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack