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Huntsville Police Nab Suspected Identity Theft Artist [Huntsville,AL]

Huntsville police believe they've cracked a major identity theft ring. They've arrested 43-year-old Craig Wurzbacher of Hoover.

from WAFF

Category: ID Theft News
Posted on July 31, 2004 at 08:25 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Lakers draft pick indicted on identity theft, embezzlement charges [PROVIDENCE, R.I.]

Marcus Douthit, a second-round draft pick of the Los Angeles Lakers out of Providence College, was charged on Thursday with taking part in a wide-ranging identity theft and embezzlement scam and pocketing several thousand dollars.

The 125-count indictment unsealed by a statewide grand jury accuses Douthit with allegedly participating in a phony car accident as part of a scheme to obtain money from insurance companies, said Michael Healey, spokesman for the state attorney general office.

from Long Beach Press-Telegram

Category: ID Theft News
Posted on July 31, 2004 at 08:24 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Phishing Attacks Become More Acute and Globally Diverse

VeriSign, Inc., a provider of intelligent infrastructure services for the Internet and telecommunications networks, recently released the third edition of the VeriSign Internet Security Intelligence Briefing. It included some interesting statistics related to phishing scams:

-- In a sample of 490 phishing e-mails, targeting customers of
16 companies, VeriSign found that 93 percent were sent from forged
or spoofed e-mail addresses; 5 percent came from sites making no
attempt to disguise their destination, and 2 percent came from
"cousin" sites, which closely mimic the company site they are
seeking to imitate.

-- 37 percent of phishing e-mails directed users to capture sites
located outside the United States, with a concentration in Korea,
China, Poland, Brazil, Taiwan, Singapore, Australia and Indonesia.

-- VeriSign found the majority of phishing attacks were launched
between 9:00 p.m. -- 4:00 a.m., when IT staffers are often on call
or fewer in numbers.

Category: Identity Theft News
Posted on July 31, 2004 at 08:03 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Louisiana Adopts Identity Theft Law [Lake Charles,LA]

Consumers have a new tool in the fight against identity theft, thanks to a recently adopted law. It allows for something called a "security freeze," which will ensure that no one has access to your credit information without your permission. State Attorney General Charles Foti says Louisiana is just the third state in the nation to approve such legislation.

from KPLC-TV

Category: Identity Theft News
Posted on July 31, 2004 at 07:53 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Deputy makes identity theft arrest in Valley Center [Escondido,CA]

VALLEY CENTER - A patrol deputy arrested a North County man Friday on suspicion of identity theft after catching him with a briefcase of other people's checks and driver's licenses, authorities said.

Deputy Alvin Vasquez was investigating a residential burglary in Valley Center when another resident of the neighborhood, 44-year-old Mark Allen Sloop, showed up, sheriff's public information officer Chris Saunders said.

from North County Times

Category: ID Theft News
Posted on July 31, 2004 at 07:51 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Phishing scams

We are currently planning to discontinue posting the long lists of phishing scams. If you haven't seen these yet, we take the Subject lines from alerts posted at FraudWatch International and put them here on ScamSafe.

If any regular readers of ScamSafe want to see us continue to post these, we will reconsider. Let us know by emailing us. Thank you.

Category: Identity Theft News
Posted on July 31, 2004 at 07:40 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Yucca Valley man arrested in identity theft investigation [YUCCA VALLEY, CA]

Sheriff's detectives have arrested a Yucca Valley man believed to be responsible for over 50 cases of identity theft.

San Bernardino County sheriff's detective Sergeant John Ginter says the stolen identities were used to open charge accounts and generate wire transfers in excess of 50-thousand dollars.

Ginter says a three-month investigation into identity thefts in the Morongo Basin and several other states led detectives to identify Frank Lockman Junior of Yucca Valley as a the suspect.

from KESQ

Category: ID Theft News
Posted on July 31, 2004 at 07:35 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Man Sentenced In $1 Million Identity Theft [XENIA, Ohio]

A suburban Columbus man has been sentenced to eight years in prison in an identity-theft ring that cost victims nearly $1 million.

Assistant Greene County Prosecutor Jeff Hunter said Gregory Vonhoupe, 53, of Dublin pleaded no contest to 50 of the original 192 counts against him, including conspiracy, identity fraud and forgery.


Category: ID Theft News
Posted on July 31, 2004 at 07:30 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

FORMER UNC-TV Employee Charged With Identity Theft [RALEIGH, N.C.]

A woman who worked for University of North Carolina Television is accused of stealing pledge drive donors' credit card numbers and going on a spending spree.

Irene Van Dyke was one of dozens of donors who had credit card information stolen after making a $100 donation to UNC-TV. She later found that her June credit card statement had an unfamiliar charge for $622.

Adaeze Okeke, 22, was arrested at LaGuardia Airport in New York Friday as she boarded a flight to Raleigh. Okeke, who worked as an office temp for UNC-TV earlier this year, was hired to enter credit card information from pledge sheets. Police say she was carrying some of the sheets at the time of her arrest.


Category: ID Theft News
Posted on July 31, 2004 at 07:20 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

New UK gov't site tackles identity theft [London,UK]

A new website has been launched by the Home Office, which offers advice on how to protect against identity theft, and steps to take for victims of this crime:

Home Office Minister Des Browne unveiled the new site. Identity theft is said to affect more than 100,000 people in the UK every year, according to the Home Office.

Category: Identity Theft News
Posted on July 24, 2004 at 04:05 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Sister of U of Memphis basketball player guilty [Memphis,TN]

The sister of a University of Memphis basketball player has drawn six months in a federal halfway house for taking part in an identity theft ring.

Basketball player Clyde Wade was acquitted of charges that he, too, was part of the ring.

Wade and his sister, Pamela Morton, were among nine defendants charged last year with using identify theft to steal from department store credit-card accounts.

from WKRN

Category: ID Theft News
Posted on July 24, 2004 at 04:02 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

7 tips to protect yourself from phishing scams

Although complete prevention is virtually impossible, there are some logical precautionary measures that both consumers and corporations can take in an attempt to reduce the potential of being conned by phishing scams. Here are 7 tips to protect yourself, from Fraud Watch International

1. SPAM Filters
Effective SPAM filters can reduce the number of fraudulent and malicious emails consumers are exposed to. SPAM filters can be applied at the Internet Service Provider's email gateway, or as software on the user's computer. It is recommended that both filters be applied to all emails.

2. Anti-Virus Software
To protect against Trojan and worm attacks, anti-virus software can detect and delete virus files before they can attack a computer. It is important to keep all anti-virus software up to date with vendor updates.

3. Personal Firewall
Firewalls can monitor both incoming and outgoing Internet traffic from a computer. This can protect the computer from being hacked into, and a virus being planted, and can also block unauthorized programs from accessing the Internet, such as Trojans, worms and spyware.

4. Padlock & “https://”
When submitting sensitive financial and personal information on the Internet, look for the locked padlock on the Internet browser's status bar or the “https://” at the start of the URL in the address bar. Although there is no guarantee of the site's legitimacy or security if they are present, the absence of these indicates that the web site is definitely not secure.

5. Links in emails
Consumers should not click on hyperlinks within emails that are apparently from a legitimate company. Instead, directly type in the URL in the Internet browser address bar, or call the company on a contact number previously verified or known to be genuine.

6. Update Software
Always ensure operating and browser software is kept up to date using legitimate upgrades and patches issued by the software vendor. This can help protect against known security issues within some software.

7. Education
Internet Fraud methods are evolving at a rapid rate. Consumers need to be aware they are vulnerable as fraudsters are persuasive and convincing; many victims thought they were too smart to be scammed. Consumers should educate themselves on Internet Fraud, the trends and continual changes in fraudulent methods used. FraudWatch International offers consumer education as a free service to the Internet community.

Category: Consumer Tips
Posted on July 24, 2004 at 03:18 PM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Calif. Clinic Accused of Surgery Scam [SANTA ANA, Calif.]

SANTA ANA, Calif. - Operators of a Los Angeles-area clinic paid thousands of people to undergo risky, unnecessary surgeries as part of a nationwide insurance fraud scheme, authorities said Wednesday.

Some 5,000 patients were recruited from across the country and flown to California, where they underwent surgeries that were billed at excessive amounts to their insurance companies, Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas said.

FULL STORY from Yahoo! [pop up]

Category: ID Theft News
Posted on July 24, 2004 at 03:16 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Is Your Bank Helping Phishers?

Leading financial institutions have adopted a more aggressive attitude toward online identity theft cons known as "phishing scams" in recent months. But companies, including MasterCard International, may be unwittingly helping phishers trick online shoppers, says a new report from a U.K. Web developer.

A test of leading financial services Web sites, including sites run by MasterCard, NatWest, and Reuters Group revealed that many sites have loosely protected features that scam artists can use to mask their own malicious Web sites, hijacking the name and Web address of established institutions, says Sam Greenhalgh, who is 19 and operates the Web site

from Yahoo!

Category: Identity Theft News
Posted on July 24, 2004 at 03:16 PM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Anatomy of a 419 scam

Exclusive Regular readers will be familiar with our ongoing coverage of variations on the 419 advance fee fraud scam. Occasionally, we report on people who have been suckered by the promise of riches beyond the wildest dreams of avarice - and duly fleeced for their trouble.

Two oft-posed question from readers are "how could they be so stupid?", and "surely everyone is aware of these scams by now?" Indeed, we have been accused in the past of carrying too much 419 coverage.

Sadly, though, it's clear that the 419ers continue to operate with considerable success. The following is an account of how one US citizen (we have called him DG) recently lost $1,000 to a UK-based 419 outfit who used a combination of plausible correspondence, phone calls and a fake bank website to reel in their victim. We have appended the full email correspondence between DG and the 419 gang to the end of this article.

from The Register (UK)

Category: Identity Theft News
Posted on July 19, 2004 at 11:34 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Duped by a check cashing scam

Too good to be true: Mother of three sued after winning $13,000 on Internet

RACINE, WI - Jaclyn Swenson, 26, was trying to figure out where she was going to get money for diapers when the doorbell rang. A man from FedEx handed over an envelope. Inside was another envelope, made of brown paper, and inside that envelope was a certified check for $13,000. Swenson was shocked. She knew she'd won a contest on the Internet, but she never believed the money would really arrive. Swenson says she called family, banks, the Racine Police and the Better Business Bureau to get advice about the unexpected windfall. She recalled what she learned: "Everyone says a cashier's check means the money's already there." The $13,000 check has been trouble ever since it showed up. It has gotten her sued by her credit union, it had her afraid to leave the house, and it has her worried she'll somehow lose her children.

from Journal Times

Category: FRAUD ALERTS, ID Theft News
Posted on July 19, 2004 at 11:25 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

E. Orange man guilty in identity theft scam [Easton,PA]

An East Orange man has pleaded guilty to charges that he operated an extensive credit and identity theft operation that affected dozens of people throughout North Jersey, authorities announced yesterday.

In entering his guilty plea Friday before Superior Court Judge John Triarsi in Elizabeth, William E. Dawkins, 21, of Schuyler Terrace, described how he used the names, addresses and Social Security numbers he obtained in the mail, Union County Prosecutor Theodore J. Romankow said.

from The Express Times

Category: ID Theft News
Posted on July 17, 2004 at 10:48 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Jeannette Man Sentenced For Bogus Check, Identity Theft Schemes [Pittsburgh,PA]

GREENSBURG, Pa. -- A Westmoreland County man who participated in bogus check and identity theft schemes has been sentenced to five years in prison. Michael Hanson of Jeannette will also spend three years on supervised release.

from Pittsburgh

Category: ID Theft News
Posted on July 17, 2004 at 10:47 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Identity Theft Security Legislation Signed By Governor [SPRINGFIELD, IL]

Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich has signed into law (Senate Bill 2545), a measure prohibiting insurers from printing customers' Social Security numbers on their insurance cards and thereby making it more difficult for identity thieves to steal someone's identity. This measure, which was initiated by the Illinois Bankers Association (IBA) and sponsored by State Senator Iris Martinez (D-Chicago) and State Representative John Fritchey (D-Chicago), was unanimously approved by both houses in May. The bill signing took place at the State Capitol on Wednesday morning.

from U.S. Newswire

Category: Identity Theft News
Posted on July 17, 2004 at 10:46 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Former teacher charged with felony counts in identity theft [Biloxi,MS]

GULFPORT, Miss. - A former Harrison Central High School teacher has been charged with establishing fraudulent credit card accounts and forging checks.

Kelly Ann Brewer, 42, of Saucier, turned herself into authorities Monday after a joint investigation between the Harrison County Sheriff's Department and the United States Postal Service.

Brewer faces two counts of credit card fraud, two counts of uttering forgery and two counts of identity theft.

from Biloxi Sun Herald

Category: ID Theft News
Posted on July 17, 2004 at 10:44 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Firms hit hard by identity theft [Boston,MA]

Government agencies and private corporations are also vulnerable to identity theft, and they often suffer greater losses than the client whose personal information was stolen, authorities said yesterday.

"The institutions are being duped just like you would be if your information was stolen," said Ken Jones, inspector in charge for the regional Postal Inspection Service, which investigates instances of mail fraud leading to identity theft.

When credit card or bank account numbers are stolen from corporations such as credit agencies, it is often the institutions, and not private citizens, who are hit the hardest, Jones said.

from Boston Globe

Category: Identity Theft News
Posted on July 17, 2004 at 10:42 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

President signs Identity Theft Penalty Enhancement Act

This new law, the Identity Theft Penalty Enhancement Act, is a good thing for everyone. But, as Linda Foley of the ID Theft Resource Center tells us, the stiffer penalties are only for those prosecuted under federal law. The individual states now need to enact stiffer penalties as well. And this will hopefully also give state and local police and prosecuters more incentive to treat identity theft more seriously and prosecute criminals more aggressively. --Scamsafe Editor

President Bush signed a measure yesterday that stiffens penalties for identity theft and makes it a felony to help terrorists obtain false identification.
The Identity Theft Penalty Enhancement Act provides up to two years in prison for anyone stealing or distributing someone else's personal information, and up to five years for anyone committing identity theft in conjunction with a terrorist act.
Signing of the bill, sponsored by Rep. John Carter, Texas Republican, comes after a five-year period in which 27 million Americans had some form of personal information stolen from them, according to the Federal Trade Commission.
"The crime of identity theft undermines the basic trust on which our economy depends," Mr. Bush said. "Identity theft harms not only its direct victims, but also many businesses and customers whose confidence is shaken."

from Washington Times

Category: ID Theft News, Identity Theft News
Posted on July 16, 2004 at 11:44 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

More Details on Identity Theft Penalty Enhancement Act

Identity Theft Penalty Enhancement Act - Amends the Federal criminal code to establish penalties for aggravated identity theft.

Prescribes sentences of two years' imprisonment for knowingly transferring, possessing, or using, without lawful authority, a means of identification of another person during and in relation to specified felony violations (including felonies relating to theft from employee benefit plans and various fraud and immigration offenses), and five years' imprisonment for knowingly taking such action during and in relation to specified felony violations pertaining to terrorist acts, in addition to the punishments provided for such felonies.

Prohibits a court from: (1) placing any person convicted of such a violation on probation; (2) reducing any sentence for the related felony to take into account the sentence imposed for such a violation; or (3) providing for concurrent terms of imprisonment for a violation of this Act and any other violation, except, in the court's discretion, an additional violation of this section.

Expands the existing identify theft prohibition to: (1) cover possession of a means of identification of another with intent to commit specified unlawful activity; (2) increase penalties for violations; and (3) include acts of domestic terrorism within the scope of a prohibition against facilitating an act of international terrorism.

See >Congressional Legislation Details (Bill # H.R.1731) from

Category: Identity Theft News
Posted on July 16, 2004 at 11:00 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Heavyweight Boxing Champion Sentenced to Prison for ID Theft [Las Vegas, NV]

LAS VEGAS - Former Olympic heavyweight boxing champion Henry Tillman was sentenced Monday to 37 months in prison after pleading guilty to federal identity theft charges.

Tillman, 43, of Los Angeles, was also ordered to pay a $1,000 fine and serve three years of supervised release after he gets out of prison, said Daniel Bogden, U.S. attorney for Nevada.

Tillman, who won a gold medal in the 1984 Olympics, was arrested Jan. 6 by Las Vegas police. He was charged with fraudulent possession, transfer and use of documents.

from Yahoo!

Category: ID Theft News
Posted on July 15, 2004 at 12:32 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Identity Theft Suspect In Jail [Austin,TX]

Identity theft hit one particular part of Travis County hard. Investigators say the source was stolen mail.

Austin Police have arrested one woman in numerous cases. Detectives say Sandra Madrid has made a career of stealing mail and identities from Austinites.

Police believe Madrid has been targeting a certain zip code in Austin for about four months now.

from KXAN-TV

Category: ID Theft News
Posted on July 12, 2004 at 09:56 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Former Houma Store Worker Charged With Identity Theft [HOUMA, La.]

A former rental-store worker is free on a $5,000 bond Saturday and faces identity theft charges after allegedly using other people's names to get big-screen televisions.

Houma police said 35-year-old Timothy Turner was charged with three counts of identity theft and one charge of theft of more than $500.

Turner is accused of using rental applications with other names to steal 53-inch television sets from the Rent-to-Own store where he worked.

Police said one name Turner used on an application was a person who died in 1997.

from WDSU

Category: ID Theft News
Posted on July 12, 2004 at 09:55 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Man arrested on identity theft charges [Ventura, CA]

The Ventura County District Attorney's Office filed 21 felony criminal counts in a case of identity theft against a Moorpark man and plans to file 21 more, the Ventura County Sheriff's Department said Friday.

Michael Buss, 42, is being held on $60,000 bail in the Ventura County Jail on multiple forgery and identity theft charges. He will be in court Thursday for further proceedings, jail officials said. Buss was on parole for convictions on similar charges, sheriff's officers said.

According to a press release from the Sheriff's Department, Buss was arrested Tuesday in the parking lot of the Camarillo Home Depot, 401 W. Ventura Blvd., after he had tried to pass a forged check at a nearby Target store. Employees at Target had called the Sheriff's Department.

from Ventura County Star

Category: ID Theft News
Posted on July 12, 2004 at 09:54 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Phishing scams Jul 5-7

from Fraud Watch Int'l

US Bank phishing email - "US Bank Account Verification Required!"
Citibank phishing email - "Citibank's account!"
US Bank phishing email - "Critical Changes to your Account Access"
eBay phishing email - "eBay Promotion - You Have Won $50,000.00 USD"
US Bank phishing email - "U.S. Bank Alert - Unauthorized Login Attempts"
US Bank phishing email - "U.S. Bank's official notice"
Citibank phishing email - "Your request for Express Transfer"
Citibank phishing email - "your Citibank account!"
Citibank phishing email - "Citibank: Urgent Message!"
Bendigo Bank phishing email - "Official information from Bendigo Bank"
Citibank phishing email - "Official information from Citibank UK"
eBay phishing email - "***Urgent Safeharbor Department Notice***"
eBay phishing email - "***Urgent Safeharbor Department Notice***"
HSBC Bank phishing email - "Official information from HSBC Bank plc"
US Bank phishing email - "Warning all U.S. Bank users."
US Bank phishing email - "Notification of U.S. Bank Internet Banking Unauthorized Account Access"
Citibank phishing email - "official Notice for all Citibank users!"
Fleet Bank phishing email - "Important Update From Fleet Bank"
US Bank phishing email - "US Bank Account Security Measure!"
AOL phishing email - "Account Verification"
Citibank phishing email - "Urgent Update: CitiSafe by Citibank!"
eBay phishing email - "Verify your eBay Account Information"
eBay phishing email - "TKO NOTICE: eBay request, please read."
eBay phishing email - "Verify your eBay ID"
eBay phishing email - "TKO NOTICE: Please verify your account"
Fleet Bank phishing email - "Members Update Request..."
Lloyds Bank phishing email - "Lloyds TSB [Mon, 05 Jul 2004 01:40:25 -0600]"
PayPal phishing email - "Security Test"
US Bank phishing email - " Security Update - URGENiv"
US Bank phishing email - "Critical Changes to your Account Access"
Wells Fargo Bank phishing email - "Your account at Wells Fargo has been suspended"

Posted on July 9, 2004 at 09:12 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Phishing scams Jul 1-4

from Fraud Watch Int'l

AOL phishing email - "AOL Billing Update"
Citibank phishing email - "Urgent Update: CitiSafe by Citibank!"
eBay phishing email - "Your Ebay account could be suspended"
eBay phishing email - "eBay CUstomer Service - Account Update Required - T.K.O. Notice"
eBay phishing email - "**Account Pre-Suspension Notice**"
eBay phishing email - "***Urgent Safeharbor Department Notice***"
eBay phishing email - "***Urgent Safeharbor Department Notice***"
US Bank phishing email - "U.S. Bank® Internet Banking"
US Bank phishing email - "U.S. Bank Security Software Upgrade"
Westpac Bank New Zealand phishing email - "OfficiaI lnformation from Westpac New ZeaIand"
Citibank phishing email - "Your request for Express Transfer"
Barclays Bank phishing email - "Warning aII Barclays IBank users!"
Citibank phishing email - "Please update your account details with Citibank"
eBay phishing email - "SafeHarbor Pre-Suspension"
eBay phishing email - "Verification Required To Avoid Account Suspension"
eBay phishing email - "Ebay Fraud Department (R)"
eBay phishing email - "TKO Notice: eBay Account Verification"
eBay phishing email - "TKO NOTICE: Pay your fees to"
eBay phishing email - "Verify eBay Account "
eBay phishing email - "eBay Safeharbour Department Notice"
eBay phishing email - "***Fraud Prevention Group Warning***"
eBay phishing email - "***Fraud Prevention Group Warning***"
eBay phishing email - "*****URGENT eBay Account Security Measures*****"
eBay phishing email - "*****URGENT eBay Account Security Measures*****"
Lloyds Bank phishing email - "lmportant lnformation from LIoyds TSB"
PayPal phishing email - "Verify and update your PayPal information"
US Bank phishing email - "U.S. Bank Security Software Upgrade"
Citibank phishing email - "Fri, 02 Jul 2004 04:53:15 -0200"
AOL phishing email - "Urgent AOLBilling Department Notice"
Barclays Bank phishing email - "lmportant lnformation from BarcIays lBank"
Citibank phishing email - "Citibank's account!"
eBay phishing email - "Update your eBay contact information"
eBay phishing email - "[TKO] : your eBay account could be suspended "
eBay phishing email - "Security Check."
eBay phishing email - "E Bay Fraud Prevention Group Warning"
PayPal phishing email - "Update your account records"
PayPal phishing email - "Your Account Is Under Investigation"
US Bank phishing email - "US Bank security update"
US Bank phishing email - "Update Your Account Information Until 08/01/2004"
Woolwich Bank phishing email - "Important information from Woolwich"
US Bank phishing email - "0fficiaI Notice for aII U.S. Bank customers"
Citibank phishing email - "Activate Bill Pay"
eBay phishing email - "eBay CUstomer Service - Account Update Required - T.K.O. Notice"
PayPal phishing email - "Fraud Prevention"
eBay phishing email - "Urgent Safeharbor Department Notice"
Citibank phishing email - "Please confirm your account details with Citibank!"
Citibank phishing email - "Regular Citibank verification of the accounts."
US Bank phishing email - "U.S. Bank Consumer Alert"
US Bank phishing email - "U.S. Bank Suspicious Account Activity!"
Yahoo! PayDirect phishing email - "Yahoo! PayDirect Monthly Reminder"
Citibank phishing email - "your account in Citibank!"
PayPal phishing email - "Your PayPal Account"

Posted on July 9, 2004 at 09:10 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack



The Calif. Department of Corporations has been notified that is offering escrow services over the internet to residents in California. is falsely advertising on its website that it holds California Department of Corporations license number 963-1948. is not licensed by the California Department of Corporations as an escrow agent and does not hold California Department of Corporations license number 963-1948.

Posted on July 9, 2004 at 09:03 PM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Consumers May Face Increased Risk of Identity Theft

According to a new study by The Radicati Group, consumers and companies may be facing an increasing risk to Internet identify theft and fraud.

The study, "Email Anti-Phishing and Anti-Fraud Market Trends 2004-2008," projects that over the next four years there will likely be an increase in the number of worldwide unique phishing attacks--email scams that try to get customers to reveal personal information like social security numbers and passwords.

The study, which contains data compiled from interviews and surveys conducted with vendors, service providers, corporate customers, and consumers, states that the amount of unique phishing attacks is anticipated to grow from 51 per day in 2004 to 110 per day by 2005. This represents an increase of 115 percent. The report also asserts that the email antiphishing and antifraud solutions market will more than quadruple, from $202 million in 2004 to more than $880 million by 2008.

from Destination CRM

Category: Identity Theft News
Posted on July 9, 2004 at 08:53 PM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Identity theft charges mount [Lincoln City,OR]

Eight more counts of identity theft have been leveled against Cesar Manuel Ochoa Torres following his arrest June 15 at Chinook Winds Casino Resort, formerly the Shilo Inn in Lincoln City.

The arrest is the culmination of a month-long investigation after Lincoln City Police Detective Randy Weaver was contacted by an individual about possible criminal activity at Shilo. Weaver said that more charges may still be filed by the grand jury.

from Lincoln City News Guard

Category: ID Theft News
Posted on July 9, 2004 at 04:53 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Three facing identity theft charges [New Haven,CT]

Three people are being held on one million dollars bond for what police say was an identity theft ring that netted them tens of thousands of dollars.

The three may have gotten nearly $60,000 in one day from several banks in the northwest corner of Connecticut.

A prosecutor says Olayinka Are of Trenton, New Jersey, told police he and two women would rent a car every two weeks to come to Connecticut to use fake identification and credit cards to obtain money.

from WTNH

Category: ID Theft News
Posted on July 9, 2004 at 04:51 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Passports to help identity theft victims [Jackson,MS]

A new program overseen by the Mississippi state Attorney General's office should help people like Powell. The 25-year-old Jackson resident was the first person Thursday to receive a new identity theft victim passport, which he can show to clear up confusion if he's ever in a similar situation.

The passports are part of a statewide effort to prevent identity theft and to aid its victims. A law went into effect Thursday increasing the maximum jail sentence for an identity theft conviction from five years to 15. A person convicted of identity theft must pay the victim restitution and pay double the cost of the investigation.

"Mississippi is off limits to identity thieves," Attorney General Jim Hood said.

from Jackson Clarion Ledger

Category: Identity Theft News
Posted on July 9, 2004 at 04:49 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Freezing your credit file in California

Important information for California consumers

California residents have the option of "freezing" their credit file. A security freeze means that your credit file cannot be shared with potential creditors, insurance companies or employers doing background checks. A security freeze can help prevent identity theft. Most businesses will not open credit accounts without checking a consumer's credit history first. If your credit file is frozen, even someone who has your name and Social Security number would probably not be able to get credit in your name (it is NOT a guarantee however). This security freeze is different than a fraud alert. It came about from the California Consumer Credit Reporting Agencies Act, Penal Code Sections 1785.1 - 1785.36

Should I get a security freeze on my file?
ScamSafe does not recommend that everyone use a security freeze, since it can be a substantial inconvenience at times. It depends on your situation. However, it does provide the strongest protection for you if you are an identity theft victim or suspect that you may be. If the fear of ID theft is keeping you awake at night, your best bet may be a credit monitoring service (available on this web site), although that costs more.

How do I enable a security freeze?
To freeze your credit file, you have to write to all three of the credit bureaus. You must give them information to identify yourself. A security freeze is free for identity theft victims with a police report of identity theft. The charge for placing the freeze is $10. The freeze stays on until you end it. There is no charge for ending the freeze. The fee for lifting the freeze temporarily is $10 for a date-range lift and $12 for a lift for a specific creditor. The request must be sent by certified mail. The addresses and sample letters for the three credit bureaus can be found here: Experian, Equifax and Trans Union. Give your first name, middle initial and last name, with Jr., etc. Give your home address, your Social Security number and your birth date. You may pay by check, money order or credit card. If paying by credit card, give name of card, account number and expiration date. Experian apparently requires two proofs of residence. A proof of residence may be a copy of your driver's license, a copy of a utility bill, or a copy of a bank statement.

How do I contact the credit bureaus by telephone?
You can get current information on security freezes from the credit bureaus. Call them at the numbers listed below. Equifax 800-685-1111; Experian 888-397-3742 [Select the option to hear California Notice of Rights]; Trans Union 888-909-8872 (this is the special freeze line).

How is a fraud alert different from a security freeze?
A fraud alert means that a special message is placed on the credit report that a creditor receives when checking a consumer's credit rating. It tells the creditor that there may be fraud involved in the account. A fraud alert can help protect you against identity theft--but does not guarantee that the creditor will act in a certain way. A fraud alert can also slow down your ability to get new credit. It should not stop you from using your existing credit cards or other accounts. The three credit agencies use a fraud alert in this way:
· Experian: The fraud alert tells creditors to verify the identity of the person applying for credit.
· Equifax: The alert tells the creditor to call the consumer at a given phone number before issuing new credit.
· Trans Union: The alert may say either to verify identity or to call the consumer at a given number.

How do I open new credit accounts if my file is frozen?
If you want to open a new credit account or get a new loan, you can lift the freeze on your credit file. You can lift it for a period of time. Or you can lift it for specific creditors. After you send your letter asking for the freeze, each of the credit bureaus will send you a Personal Identification Number (PIN). You will also get instructions on how to lift the freeze. You can lift the freeze by phone, using your PIN. The credit bureaus must lift your freeze within three days. The fee for lifting the freeze temporarily is $10 for a date-range lift and $12 for a lift for a specific creditor.

How long does it take for a security freeze to take effect, and to be lifted?
Credit bureaus must place the freeze no later than five business days after receiving your written request. Credit bureaus must lift a freeze no later than three business days of receiving your request.

What will a creditor who requests my file see if it is frozen?
A creditor will see a message, or a code, indicating that the file is frozen.

Can a creditor get my credit score if my file is frozen?
No. A creditor who requests your file from one of the three credit bureaus will only get a message, or a code, indicating that the file is frozen.

Can I order my own credit report if the file is frozen?

Can anyone see my credit file if it is frozen?
When you have a security freeze on your credit file, certain entities still have access to it. Your report can still be released to your existing creditors or to collection agencies acting on their behalf. They can use it to review or collect on your account. Other creditors may also use your information to make offers of credit-unless you opt out of receiving such offers. See below for how to opt out of pre-approved credit offers. Government agencies may have access for collecting child support payments or taxes or for investigating Medi-Cal fraud. Government agencies may also have access in response to a court or administrative order, a subpoena, or a search warrant.

Do I have to freeze my credit file with all three credit bureaus?
Yes. Different credit issuers may use different credit bureaus. If you want to stop your credit file from being viewed, you need to freeze it with Equifax, Experian and Trans Union.

Will a freeze lower my credit score?

Does freezing my file mean that I won't receive pre-approved credit offers?
No. You can stop the pre-approved credit offers by calling 888-5OPTOUT. This will stop most of the offers, the ones that go through the credit bureaus. It's good for two years or you can make it permanent.

Source: California Bureau of Consumer Affairs, Office of Privacy Protection

Category: Consumer Tips
Posted on July 8, 2004 at 05:40 PM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

3 charged in identity theft plot [Jersey City,NJ]

Federal agents yesterday charged three people who they said were part of an identify theft ring that used stolen credit card applications from a North Jersey furniture store to buy hundreds of thousands of dollars in items.

Investigators said Christine Akidi, 28, of Jersey City, was a customer service representative at the Ethan Allen store in Secaucus when her boyfriend enlisted her to steal credit card applications at least two years ago.

from New Jersey Journal

Category: ID Theft News
Posted on July 8, 2004 at 12:33 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Canadians Overwhelmingly Concerned about Identity Theft, but Most Do Not Know How to Protect Themselves

CHANTILLY, Va.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--June 30, 2004--Seventy-five percent of Canadians say they are concerned about identity theft, but only 20 percent consider themselves 'very well informed' about how to protect themselves against one of the fastest-growing crimes in North America.

These are among the findings of a telephone poll of 1001 Canadian adults released today by Intersections Inc. (Nasdaq:INTX). Conducted earlier this month by Ipsos-Reid on behalf of Intersections, the preliminary results were presented at the recent meeting of the Credit Scoring and Risk Strategy Association (CSRSA) at Blue Mountain Resort in Collingwood, Ontario.

"While identity thieves are getting more sophisticated in the ways they perpetrate their crimes, Canadians are not yet equally savvy in their responses to this growing threat," said Sheila McCracken, who directs Intersections' Canadian solutions group, commenting on the findings.


Category: Identity Theft News
Posted on July 8, 2004 at 12:29 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

VeriSign Announces Anti-Phishing Solution to Protect Against Rapidly Rising Identity

This service doesn't really amount to much, in our opinion. They threw together a few things they already offer and add in some consulting. --ScamSafe Editor

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif., June 28 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- VeriSign, Inc., (Nasdaq: VRSN - News), the leading provider of critical infrastructure services for the Internet and telecommunications networks, today announced the launch of its Anti-Phishing Solution, a comprehensive security solution to protect against the increasingly prevalent security and fraud attack known as phishing. VeriSign's Anti-Phishing Solution protects enterprises through a five-tiered solution that helps prevent, detect and respond to attacks, thereby mitigating and eliminating identity theft and email fraud attempts.

from Yahoo!

Posted on July 7, 2004 at 08:57 PM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Prosecutors Say Woman Stole Law Firm's ID [WHITE PLAINS, N.Y.]

A paralegal embezzled nearly $600,000 by setting up a bank account under a name that was nearly identical to a New York law firm's, prosecutors said Monday.

"This woman basically stole the identity of this law firm," Westchester County District Attorney Jeanine Pirro said.

The law firm was Fish & Neave of Manhattan; the account was set up in the name "Fish Neave."

Phoebe Nicholson, 39, worked for Honeywell International at the time. The company had done work with Fish & Neave in the past.

from Yahoo!

Category: ID Theft News
Posted on July 7, 2004 at 08:55 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack