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Identity Theft Hitting Close to Home [Wausau, WI]

By Karen Kostko

In April of 2003, Ben Castner received one phone call that would change the way he looked at his personal life forever.

"My wife calls me one night at work and says there's this detective on the phone wanting to verify your social security number," he says.

The detective was from the Wausau Police Department. He discovered that Ben had become a target of one of the fastest growing crimes, identity theft.

"They were working on a sting, and my name was on the list," Ben says.

Turns out, Ben’s previous employer hired a temp agency to shred payroll documents. Ben's name was in that pile. The person in charge of destroying the information decided to do something else, he decided to steal Ben's identity.


Category: ID Theft News
Posted on February 26, 2004 at 12:40 AM | Permalink


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Hi All:

I applaud everyone for writing about these scams. I was taken by a scam that cost my family $3,500.00. It was a "gifting program" called The Power of People Network. My husband answered an online ad stating "Make money at home for returning calls - no selling". We emailed and someone named Jonathan Parr who lives in Corsicana, Texas and Amelia Island, Florida emailed us for our number. He called within 30 minutes.

We were told we cold make between $500-1,500 per day returning phone calls and we wouldn't be selling anything - just answering questions. We should have known it was a scam because he didn't want to give many details until we were "qualified" (as in sent in the money) He was instructed to send $3,500.00 cash via FedEx.

Once the money was received, a guy named Elbert West from Carthage, TN emailed my husband about 200 phone numbers. He was instructed to call and tell these "leads" about the program and try to solicit them to send $3,500.00 to JONATHAN. Well, we were shocked on several levels. Why would we ask anyone to send someone else money before we had even gotten our money back not to mention that this just seemed wrong. As you can imagine, this did not work out well as my husband just didn't have his heart in it because he suspected this was illegal.

Well, it is illegal and it's categorized as and "gifting program" which falls under the heading of "organized crime"! There are several groups that have gifting programs online, but this particular one was called The Power of People Network and they are ULTRA organized. You have to send in cash via FedEx to avoid trouble with the Postal Inspector; you have to send in a "gifting statement claiming that you are giving this money of your free will and you have to send in a non solicitation agreement which states that no one solicited the money from you.

Please beware and do not get taken in by this scam. I am in the process of notifying EVERY Attorney General in the country as well as the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, Postal Inspector General, Better Business Bureau, IRS and the Federal Trade Commission. As you can imagine, they claim this money is tax free because it is a gift. I feel positive that the government would NOT agree.

Posted by: Mary at Mar 12, 2006 12:08:28 PM