LaSalle Bank customer data lost, then found
Last week a computer tape containing the names, addresses, account information, payment histories and Social Security Number of 2 million people disappeared while in transit. The tape, which contained data on all of LaSalle Bank’s mortgage customers, had been shipped via DHL to Experian by the bank in November. It then reappeared two days ago. The shipment of the computer tape to Experian was not out of the ordinary. Creditors routinely ship information to the nation’s three big credit reporting agencies (CRAs); Experian, Equifax and Trans Union. This process is conducted to keep credit reports up to date.
Hackers Break Into Computer-Security Firm's Customer Database
Guidance Software -- the leading provider of software used to diagnose hacker break-ins -- has itself been hacked, resulting in the exposure of financial and personal data connected to thousands of law enforcement officials and network-security professionals.
Guidance alerted customers to the incident in a letter sent last week, saying it discovered on Dec. 7 that hackers had broken into a company database and made off with approximately 3,800 customer credit card numbers. The Pasadena, Calif.-based company said the incident occurred sometime in November and that it is working with the U.S. Secret Service on a more detailed investigation.
Update on Credit Freeze & Data Breach Laws
With the New Year almost upon us, a variety of new laws that impact identity theft and personal privacy will begin to go into effect. A variety of states are gearing up to implement new laws that allow consumers to freeze their credit files. Connecticut, New Jersey and Illinois will all implement this type of law on January 1, but these states have very different visions of who should be given the ability to freeze their credit report. See GuardMyCreditFile
USATODAY.com - Meth addicts' other habit: Online theft
Identity theft has fast become the crime of preference among meth users for three reasons: It is non-violent, criminal penalties for first-time offenders are light — usually a few days or weeks in jail — and the use of computers and the Internet offers crooks anonymity and speed with which to work. Meth is a cheap, highly addictive street derivative of amphetamine pills; it turns users into automatons willing to take on risky, street-level crime.
Be Alert Using Personal Information During Holidays
Be Alert Using Personal Information This Month, Cautions Identity Theft Assistance Center
Holiday Shopping, New Phishing Schemes, Ongoing Katrina Aftermath Make Consumers More Vulnerable
WASHINGTON, Dec. 2 /PRNewswire/ -- Several factors have combined to make consumers especially vulnerable to identity thieves during the month of December, according to the Identity Theft Assistance Center (ITAC).
"Identity thieves don't take a holiday," said Anne Wallace, executive director of ITAC. "Consumers should be especially careful in the coming weeks about sharing their personal information, especially their social security numbers, whether it's a request from an individual or comes unsolicited through the internet," she adds.
Identity thieves use consumers' personal information to open financial accounts in their name. Wallace cites several factors that point to an especially bad month for consumers:
* Tax refund scheme. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has warned
consumers about a bogus email offering tax refunds. The emails, which
purport to be from email@example.com, direct consumers to a website
where they are asked for their social security number and credit card
number to receive a refund.
* Holiday Shopping. Retailers often use the holidays to entice
consumers into opening store credit accounts. Wallace explains
consumers can decrease their chances of becoming victims of identity
theft by limiting the number of credit accounts, which generally
require a social security number. The holidays are also a good time
to cancel credit accounts that have not been used over the past 12
* Hurricane aftermath. Authorities continue to report arrests related
to identity theft in the aftermath of hurricanes Katrina and Rita.
Criminals attempt to trick survivors into revealing personal
information, or may use information from abandoned personal documents
or intercepted mail to open accounts.
New identity theft law put into effect (NC)
CHARLOTTE, N.C. – A new North Carolina law that went into effect Thursday will make it more difficult for identity thieves to operate.
The Identity Theft Protection Act, signed last fall by Gov. Mike Easley, will allow consumers to put a security freeze on their credit reports to prevent identity thieves from opening accounts and generating credit using stolen information.
from News 14 Carolina
Fake IRS E-Mail Scam Goes Phishing
Users are now being targeted with a new phishing attack posing as a tax refund from the Internal Revenue Service.
A new phishing attack posing as a tax refund from the Internal Revenue Service is using a configuration problem on the GovBenefits.gov Web site to fool users into thinking they're safe in offering up personal information such as Social Security and credit card numbers.
The fraud begins with an e-mail supposedly from the IRS, which claims the recipient is owed a tax refund. In the message from "firstname.lastname@example.org," a link is embedded to a site where recipients can supposedly collect the refund.
Jacksonville Beach man recruited ex-cons for identity-theft scams
I agree that sometimes ID theft is over-hyped. Usually by “bottom feeders” trying to prey on our fears. But for those who poo-poo ID theft (I’m regualrly shocked by how many people laugh it off), check out this real world story on how criminals are latching on to this as “the” crime to get into.
A man who used a Florida Department of Law Enforcement Web site to recruit white-collar criminals for his identity-theft scams was sentenced to 13 years in federal prison.
from Dateline Alabama