Thursday, August 31, 2006

Identity Theft Rogues Gallery

Identity-Theft-Rogues-Gallery-audio post - click to play

Earlier this year we disclosed to you how
Arizona was the number #1 state for identity
theft. Today we help expose a select few of
worst identity thieves, fortunately, now
under custody of law enforcement.

By getting a small glimpse into their
shadowy world, we trust you will seek
active protection against identity theft.

Identity theft criminal #1

Our first identity theft fraudster specialized
in cashing phony checks using her victims
checking accounts. This highly productive
identity thief was arrested with a virtual
goody bag of stolen identities indicating
a dozen or more recent victims:

  • 15 fraudulent university id cards
  • 12 fraudulent driver licenses
  • 14 checks to be drawn on various accounts
  • Maps with directions to local area banks

To illustrate how dedicated this identity
thief was, when arrested she was already
on probation for identity theft.
The judge evidently took her prior identity
theft crimes into consideration as the
woman was sentenced to over 13 years in

Identity theft criminal #2

This identity thief, a woman, was no stranger
to high tech means to defraud her victims.

When this identity thief was arrested, she
had a number of items indicating her specialty
was in committing fraud in large volumes:

  • Several laptop computers
  • An ID manufacturing machine
  • ID counterfeiting credit card machine
  • 500 profiles of people (intended victims)

Not only was identity thief #2 high tech
savvy, but she was also evidently mobile.
When arrested at the Phoenix airport, she
had in her possession a plane ticket bought
with a stolen credit card and several

For her identity theft crimes, #2 was sentenced
in 2.5 years in prison.

Identity theft criminal #3

This last identity thief in today's rogue
gallery, specialized in automobile related
identity theft. He used his job at a local
area auto dealer to obscure his real cash
making endeavor as an identity thief who
created fake drivers licenses.

Identity thief #3 then would sell them to
other employees for $75 apiece. The fake
ID’s would then be used to obtain loans
on used vehicles on behalf of illegal

For his identity theft crimes, #3 was
sentenced to 2 years in prison.

While the damage these identity thieves
brought far exceeded their prison time
awarded, it's comforting to know at
least there are a few less criminals
out on the loose.

However, as you can observe, the very
light sentences these dedicated identity
thieves received tell us there is not
much disincentive for them to
their criminal ways.

Also on the short sentences
of less than 3 years in prison,
identity thieves know not only are
they unlikely to ever be arrested,
but if they are caught the amount
of jail time actually served will be
far less than if they had used a gun
and robbed a store for only $50 in

So, our tip for today is to arm yourself
against identity theft criminals who
specialize in a variety of techniques
and equipment to steal your financial
future. Get enrolled in a credit and
bank monitoring service which
will generate exception alerts to
you when suspicious activity

Special end note:

Special thanks goes out to the
Arizona law enforcement community
who made the mug shots stories

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Katrina Identity Theft Scam Nets $100,000

Katrina-Identity-Theft-Scam-Nets-$100,000-audio post - click to play

As if the surviors of the Katrina hurricane didn't
already have enough challenges, a Washington area
identity thief has been busy stealing their identities
and defrauding the government.

Using the Katrina area identity theft victim's
stolen identities the criminal stole more than

$100,000 in benefits which were designated
their disaster recovery.

It seems, this identity thief managed to acquire
the personal information of at least 50 hurricane
victims before he was arrested:

  • Dates of Birth (dob)
  • Social Security Numbers (ssn)

With that confidential information, the identity
thief applied for and received assistance funds
from the Federal Emergency Management Agency

The funds were sent via check to the identity
fake addresses designated in locations
in Tennessee,
New York, & Washington.

But, this Katrina identity thief did not just stop
there. He further perpetrated his fraud by even
opening up fake companies in D.C. and Alexandria,

Our tip for today is one of extended service.

So, coming on the 1 year anniversary of the
devastating hurriance Katrina, reach out to
any friends or loved ones you know who were
displaced. Let them know they are or could
have already been the target of identity

Let those friends or loved ones know they should
contact any of three major credit bureaus to have
their credit report flagged for Katrina victim
status. Also, if the state they are currently
residing in is one of the 22 which allows for
a "credit freeze" to be placed on their credit
report - take full advantage of this important
right to protect their future.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Minnesota Gets Early Freeze for Identity Theft

Minnesota-Gets-Early-Freeze-for-Identity-Theft-audio post - click to play

Minnesota residents now will receive a welcome "freeze"
that is not the type typically associated with harsh
winters. Effective earlier this month, residents can
now "freeze" their credit report for identity theft

For any reason now, a Minnesota resident,
can simply
contact any of the three major
credit bureaus and
request their credit
report file "freeze".

The credit bureau must respond by placing the
on the requesting consumer's file
within three days
and also issue a personal
identification number (pin) within 10 days.

The credit freeze denies other parties, without
a current business relationship with you, to gain
access to your credit file without your prior

For identity thieves, this translates into a much
tougher effort is now required in Minnesota to
defraud consumers and their credit.

Typically identity theft "collectors" will harvest
the minimally required personal information
to quickly open up new charge
in retail establishments such as
consumer electronics and/or cellular phone
services using a quick credit granting
process called "instant credit".

Abusing "instant credit" allows the identity thieves
to rapidly open up new charge accounts in your name
and purchase high ticket items like computers or
plasma televisions which they quickly sell for cash.
The same tactic is also used by identity theft fraudsters
in acquiring new cellular phones.

But now Minnesota residents, in addition to 21 other states,
have the ability to stop that particular type of identity
theft cold in it's tracks.

So, our tip for today, is to immediately place a credit
freeze on your file which is maintained separately with
the three major credit bureaus.

Contact any of the three bureaus to get your credit freeze
request as the upcoming Labor Day weekend marks the
beginning of a hectic fall shopping season - one in which
identity theft based fraudulent transactions can easily
get lost in the sheer volume of holiday purchases.

Experian Security Freeze
PO Box 9554
Allen, TX 75013
(972) 390-4172

Equifax Security Freeze
PO Box 105788
Atlanta, GA 30348

TransUnion Security Freeze
PO Box 6790
Fullerton, CA 92834-6790
(888) 909-8872

Make sure to tell your friends and family members
living in Minnesota about this important new right that
over 1/2 of America unfortunately still does not have.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Feds Website Leaks Student Loan Data

Feds-Website-Leaks-Student-Loan-Data-audio post - click to play

This past Wednesday, the U.S. Department of
Education arranged for 21,000 students to
get free credit monitoring after a government
website exposed their personal information.

The website, dedicated to servicing student
loans, leaked the unlucky individual's sensitive
personal information after a contractor's
routine software upgrade mixed up different
borrowers data.

The highly confidential data exposed included:

  • Names
  • Addresses
  • Social Security Number (ssn)
  • Phone Numbers
  • Account Information (for some)

The individuals impacted by this latest
government data breach are in the process
of being notified via postal mail.

So, our tip for today is if you or anyone
you know logged onto the following
last Sunday through Tuesday
contact the
Department of Education's
help desk immediately
for more information
on their "free" credit monitoring:

The toll free number to call is 1-800-848-0979.

Finally, forward this "alert" to any friends or family
you think should be made aware of this security

Saturday, August 26, 2006

CEO Sentenced To Identity Theft for $1 Million Fraud Against Employees

CEO-Sentenced-To-Identity-Theft-for-$1-Million-Fraud-Against -Employees-audio post - click to play

A 38 year old computer whiz who ran his own consulting
was recently sentenced to 7 years in prison for
his years of
identity theft against family members,
investors, former
employees, customers, banks, and
even the federal

All totalled his fraudulent crimes amount to over

The man tried to justify his identity theft fraud crime spree
by stating "...was looking out for the financial
well-being of
other people".

More like looking out strictly for himself as this identity
thief was sentenced Wednesday for crimes dating
his business dealings beginning in the
late 1990s.

He was indicted in 2004 on bank fraud and other charges
in a 12-count indictment and re-indicted on 67 counts
in 2005.

"The re-indictment came after prosecutors discovered the
Dundon (identity thief) altered a document he later gave
to the IRS and created a fictitious e-mail account to thwart
federal investigators, Lovric said." The altered document,
created in 2001, mentioned credit cards that were obtained
in 2002 and 2003, Lovric said."

Furthermore, this identity thief fraudster has a history
of not being truly remorseful and making good on promises
to the judge to help repair the damage to his victims.

"After his 1996 conviction for bank fraud...Dundon failed
to make full restitution. He repaid around $20,000 of
about $160,000 he owed his victims from 1996"

His identity theft and fraud victim's credit ratings were
ruined after this identity thief used their identities
obtain loans and credit. Former employees
discovered their
tax liabilities after the identity
thief did not pay tax
money owed to the IRS
using their personal identities.

So, our tip for today is to catch early on the often times
hidden identity theft crimes committed against your good name.
Seek out your very own alerting system against suspicious
account and credit activity in your name. Enroll in a quality
credit and bank account monitoring service which will
forward alerts to you whenever activity falls outside
of the norm

And as always, be a good friend and share these tips you've
learned with a co-worker or even a family member so they too
can take their very own prevention steps against identity theft.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Truck Driver Loses His License Due to Identity Theft Imposter's Tickets

Truck-Driver-Loses-His-License-Due-to-Identity-Theft-Imposter's-Tickets audio post - click to play

A Miami man's driver license was suspended after
an identity thief
in another state accumulated
multiple traffic violations in the
victim's name.

Since the identity theft victim must hold a valid

commercial driver's license, a divorced father
of one child, he may
lose his job.

"This is to notify you that your driving privilege
is suspended
by the State of Florida effective
Aug. 22 for a period of 30 days".

What's more disturbing about this latest identity theft case, is the
Miami victim can not even fight back against the traffic offenses in
court because the identity thief who allegedly got the tickets and
paid all the fines. The Miami victim, however, has never even left
the state of Florida.

If the Miami area identity theft victim doe not prove his innocence
soon, he is most likely facing an automatic one-year suspension
because the person who allegedly stole Fernandez's identity hit
a pole and left the scene of the accident in Pennsylvania.

''I have a child to support''

Moreso, this identity thief operating in the northeast part of the
country (not the southeast like Miami) committed a number of
vehicular infractions using his victim's alias causing the Florida
DMV to suspend his license:

On Jan. 18, Fernandez was ticketed after being
stopped by police in New York for failing to
obey a traffic sign. On April 7, he was in
Danbury, Conn., where he was ticketed for
having an out-of-state license for more
than six months as well as equipment
problems on his truck.

By July 4, he had made it to Greencastle, Penn.,
where he illegally changed lanes, hit a pole,
then fled. On July 31, Fernandez returned to
Queens, N.Y., where he was ticketed for a
series of problems with his truck.

''This sounds like a legitimate beef,''

Although the Miami identity theft victim can produce
time sheets and other documentation to prove his
innocence, he may still ultimately lose his
driver's license because
federal laws does not have a
excuse as in the case with personal

The identity theft victim in this instance is not
sure how the thief got his personal information, but
he did recall two years ago when someone in
state used his credit card but the
blemish on his
account had been successfully

This case is a prime example of how identity theft
can continue to be a crime against the
innocent for
many years. It also points the
need to check your record thoroughly and not
just limit your scrutiny to credit reports.

Knowledgeable industry insiders commonly know
there are over 400 other data repositories
holding your most sensitive and confidential data

Any of these 400 data repositories could be now
holding the results of the misdeeds of

The risk is too great the odds being 400 to 1
that a single incident of identity theft
ruin your financial future. Or, in
the case of this poor Miami man, his
immediate future due to the loss of
job and income and potential
custody of his only child.

So, our tip for today is to seek the most
comprehensive edge we know of to easily
check the over 400 different data
for identity theft which do
NOT have
anything to do with
credit reports
, but can definitely
cause you the type of financial pain
suffered by this Miami area identity
theft victim.

We've found, using this source, instances
criminals in other states with similar
and last names but different middle
who's records could easily get
mistaken for
your own - causing the loss
of job, income, & even freedom through arrest
for outstanding warrants.

We highly recommend it to balance against
only checking your credit report.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Daughter Makes Her Mom First Identity Theft Victim

Daughter-Makes-Her-Mom-First-Identity-Theft-Victim-audio post - click to play

A 24 year old New Hampshire woman was
indicted last week
for identity theft after
opening three different credit cards
her mother's name.

Allegedly, the daughter told police when she
was caught she hoped the whole situation
would "just take care of itself".

Her mother, however, saw the identity theft results
much differently.

The mom only found out about her daughter's identity theft
against her when her home loan was rejected because mom's
credit score was judged to be "too low".

This was due in part to over $13,000 in fraudulent
the daughter ran up over a 1 year period
using dear ole mom's credit.

The end result of this sordid affair is mom's credit has been
dealt a serious setback. But, her daughter is now facing the
prospect of some very serious prison time with the three
fraudulently opened credit card accounts being
a felony
offense each.

So, our tip for today is no one can assume they are safe from
identity theft. Unfortunately, many times victims of identity
theft may actually known the criminal who stole their personal
information. Whether it was a close relative or co-worker
looking to get even with you for some past slight, it pays to
be constantly on guard for that unsuspecting identity thief
looking for the opportunity to ruin your financial future.

To guard against this happening to you, take these
simple, but
effective steps:

  • "Freeze" your credit report (where valid by state)
  • Enroll in automatic credit monitoring including alerts
  • Opt out from prescreen credit marketing lists
  • Select online statements for your credit cards
  • Shred any credit applications mailed containing your name
  • Install a lockable mailbox to prevent mail theft
  • Check your social security benefits for any duplicate names
And as always, feel free to share these tips with a friend
or loved one.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Congressman Attempts to Dismantle 22 State Id Theft Laws

Congressman-Attempts-to-Dismantle-22-State-Id-Theft-Laws audio post - click to play

An Ohio congressman wants to roll back existing
state credit freeze laws to support the American
Association over your consumer rights.

It seems Congressman LaTourette's bill would override
credit freeze laws available in 22 states which were
to allow consumers to block access to
their credit files
by prohibiting a lender or any other
third party from running a credit check without getting
the consumer's permission first.

However, in the congressman's bill, consumers would only be
allowed to freeze access to their credit information if they
had filed a police report indicating they had already
an identity theft victim.

Think of it this way, instead of now being able to lock your
doors to keep a would be identity thief from stealing your
credit information, the good congressman's bill would serve
the opposite end of the problem.

The thief would be able to get unobstructed access
to your credit report, through merchants typically
offering "instant credit" approval.

After you've been robbed, then Congressman
LaTourette's bill
would allow you to "lock"
the doors to your credit report.

In other words, this bill would preempt the efforts of
over 22 state's attorney generals who see the identity
theft prevention need the same way as most consumers.

Lock the door upfront and deny identity theft
criminals the
opportunity to rob you.

One has to wonder just who Congressman LaTourette really
represents? The good will of the people he represents in his
home state of Ohio as well as across America with this bill?

Or, perhaps the interests of the American Banker's
who has been the most vocal
supporter of his bill

If the good congressman's campaign finances are any
indication of his true interests, the odds are there's an
almost 3 to 1 favorable decision coming from him
on most issue for business over consumers.

Plus, when it comes to his voting record, Congressman
LaTourette has demonstrated his decidedly pro-business
posture of his bill is nothing but more of the same
recent trend:

2004 - Representative LaTourette supported
the interests of the Financial Executives
International "100" percent.

2003 - Representative LaTourette supported
the interests of the Public Citizen's Congress
Watch "0" percent.

2003-2004 - Representative LaTourette
supported the interests of the Business-Industry
Political Action Committee "83" percent.

Stay tuned for updates from us on this latest attempt by a
U.S. congressman to undermine the will of consumers
as the fate of this bill is scheduled to be determined in
September when legislators reconvene from their August break.

So, our tip for today is to not wait for the forces of identity
theft to render you the latest in over 90 million victims the
past 1.5 years.

Get your very own burgular alarm for your credit and banking
relationships. Enroll in a quality credit monitoring service
as well as getting your most current credit report checked out.
Also, it's always a good idea to get your public information
profile (pip) reviewed as well to find the identity theft
alerts which credit reports are not designed to catch
for you

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Chevron Leak Results in Identity Theft With Explosive Implications

Chevron-Leak-Results-in-Identity-Theft-With-Explosive-Implications audio post - click to play

Chevron, the oil refining and gas distribution giant,
was itself the victim of a "leak" when a laptop was
stolen this month from an employee of an accounting
firm who held unencrypted, confidential consumer
offsite from the company premises.

The accounting firm was auditing the employee savings,
health and disability plans of Chevron. As a result
Chevron issue an email to all of it's employees
advising them of the laptop theft August 7th.

Why would a giant oil company, coming on the heels
of a record $4.4 billion dollar in profit quarter
even be concerned about a single laptop which most
likely only costs a miniscule fraction of the profit
Chevron is raking in?

Because, that laptop contained the following
information negatively impacting
of employees:

  • Social Security Numbers (ssn)
  • "Other private data"

Identity thieves certainly can do substantial damage
with this type of confidential consumer information.

But, there is another more omnious incentive
for Chevron
to quickly put out the damage control.

It's a fact the oil companies are raking in record profits
year over year, based on ever increasing prices consumers
pay at the gas pump. As a result, they're now being questioned
whether or not they're deliberately gouging consumers
with higher than required gas prices.

Then, here comes Chevron and their $4.4 billion quarterly
profit announcement, subsequently followed by an identity
theft incident caused by an auditor's slopping securing of
their employee's sensitive data - all within the same month!

Add these two single events together and you have the potential
for an explosive and messy potential class action lawsuit.

No wonder Chevron is more than happy to extend the offer of
paying for their employee's services related to the security

This incident is the latest a string of continued "lost" or
stolen laptops containing unencrypted personal information
highly sought after by identity theft and crime syndicates.

Ever wonder why identity thieves have enjoyed
so much
success this year in pilfering laptops
from careless employers?

The Ponemon Institute, a privacy expert,issued a study
revealing just how big a problem laptop security
(or lack thereof) really is for American companies:

"81 percent of companies surveyed have
the loss of one or more
laptops containing sensitive
over the past 12 months."

"64 percent of almost 500 data-security
surveyed admit that their companies
never performed an inventory to
the location of customer or
employee info."

With survey numbers like those backed up by the record
number of identity theft incidents solely due to the
repeated twin mistakes one would wonder why these
obvious preventitive steps continues to happen:

  1. Unencrypted consumer data
  2. Consumer data away from a secure data center

Let's face it folks, Congress while very vocal recently over
the Veteran's Administration data breach, hasn't been
anywhere near as action oriented over the continued
data breaches caused by sloppy employers.

Until a few high profile and successful class action lawsuits
against the type of firms most consumers hold distrust for,
say a big oil company or financial services company, your
elected representatives in Congress and their primary
benefactors (the rich industrialists) are quite happy to
continue protecting their record profits while playing it
fast and loose with your most sensitive personal

So, our tip for today is for those Chevron employees, of
which roughly 1/2 of the 59,000 reside within the U.S.,
is to contact your company's benefit's department for your
"free" package of services to comfort you with this

For all of the rest of us who have yet to be stung by identity
theft, count your blessings and get protected as soon as possible.
With over 90 million Americans already negatively
by these type of data security breaches, it's only
a matter of time before your turn is due to become the next
identity theft victim.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

HCA Identity Theft Impacts Over 7 States

HCA-Identity-Theft-Impacts-Over-7-States-audio-post - click to play

"Toto, it sure isn't Kansas, anymore".

Not when identity thieves stole not
1, not 2, not 3, not even 5, but 10
computers from HCA's regional office
in Wichita, Kansas.

As a result, thousands of employees and
doctors with patients across 8 states
including Kansas are now potential
identity theft victims.

All total it is suspected the number of
impacted individuals of this latest case
of identity theft to be as many as
"..18,000 patient records are

The type of sensitive personal information
which has been exposed, but highly sought
by this identity theft includes:

  • Names
  • Social Security Numbers (ssn)

Even more alarming than the large amount
of computers stolen in a single incident
from a locked building, is HCA did not
disclose when it happened

Identity thieves, typically moving quickly
to exploit the stolen data by committing
credit fraud through unauthorized purchases,
may already have a sizeable head start
against the innocent victims who will need
to scramble to place a freeze or minimally
a fraud alert on their credit and banking

But, to HCA's credit, they have made provisions
with Trans Union to provide a year's worth of
free credit monitoring.

So, our tip for today is to contact TransUnion
and HCA immediately if you were -or- someone
you know was ever a patient of during the
timeframe of 1996 - 2006 in the following

  • Kansas
  • Colorado
  • Louisiana
  • Mississippi
  • Oklahoma
  • Oregon
  • Texas
  • Washington

Also, if you were one of the 7,000 employees or
affiliated with HCA's Wesley Medical
Center servicing the following states call HCA
on their special, toll free hotline for further

  • Kansas
  • Colorado
  • Texas
  • Louisiana
That toll free number to contact HCA is

Finally, given the length of time and difficulty of
HCA to contact all of the potential identity theft
victims dating back 10 years ago, please
forward this notice to any friends or family
members you care about that should be
aware of this threat to their financial future.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Identity Theft String Leads to Smoke Shop Owner Arrest

Identity-Theft-String-Leads-to-Smoke-Shop-Owner-Arrest-audio post - click to play

It may have been better to go "smokeless in Seattle."
An owner of a suburban Seattle smoke shop has
arrested after police linked him to more
than 20
incidents of identity theft credit fraud.

It seems all of the identity theft victims had shopped
at this particular smoke shop which lead police
investigators to the owner's front door.

The identity theft victims would be scammed within
of having used their credit or debit card at the
smoke shop. The identity thieves, evidently working
closely with the smoke shop owner, would quickly get
copies made of the victim's card information and
then empty out the legitimate card holder's bank
using automated teller machine's (ATM).

What made the smoke shop stand out for police investigators is
the credit fraudsters were operating, not so much in the Seattle
area, but rather as far away as Las Vegas and cities in

This identity theft case is still under further investigation
and the Redmond police have asked for anyone with
to call them on their tip line.

So, our tip for today is to help the dozens of other victims
across the east side of Seattle and tell them about the police
tip line. Being an identity theft victim dictates fast action
and one of the key tasks you need to do, after freezing
your credit and banking
accounts, is to file an
immediate police report

This step will immeasurably aid your arduous
journey through the mountain of paperwork and
phone calls needed to clear your
good name from debt
collection and future
credit problems.

That local police tip phone number to call is

Finally, if you know of a friend who may have
been stung by this crime but has not reported
it to police, please forward this article to them.

It's free and harmless to share id theft secrets
your friends and associates.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Identity Theft Busted City Alderman facing $1,000,000 Fine

Identity-Theft-Busted-City-Alderman-facing-$1,000,000-Fine-audio post - click to play

In the middle aged times in England, an alderman could be defined
as "a noble of high rank or authority". However, in present day
America one alderman was just the opposite with his arrest for
multiple felony charges including identity theft.

It seems, this Moss Point, Mississippi alderman was arrested
combining identity theft and bank fraud in relation to
operation of his auto dealership.

Because the alderman and alleged identity thief was charged with
13 counts of various felonies, if convicted he is facing a stiff
penalty for his crimes.

All totalled, this latest identity thief could be facing 30 years in
prison and also having to pay a hefty fine of $1,000,000.

Unfortunately for fellow law abiding citizens, this is not the
first incident of an automobile dealership harboring employees
who turned to identity theft.

In March of this year, we exposed a story about an auto
salesman who turned out to be an identity thief:

"..a car salesman in suburban Chicago
has been charged with felony financial
identity theft by authorities after a
search warrant of his home reveals
showing another man's
personal information
was used to
setup cable, Internet and

So, our tip for today is to always be wary with whom you
provide your most sensitive personal information to;
especially your social security number and/or driver's
license information.

An identity thief has proven to be just about anyone
in America - even a city alderman.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

1.4 Million Dollar Identity Thief Attempts Suicide but Gets 10 Year Jail Sentence Instead

1.4-Million-Dollar-Identity-Thief-Attempts-Suicide-but-Gets-10 Year-Jail-Sentence-Instead-audio post - click to play

This identity thief tried to take the easy way out of his
crimes against friends & relatives . The judge saw things
much differently and sentenced this Pennsylvania
thief to 10 years in jail.

It seems the 27 year old identity thief, was guilty of several
  • He missed not one but two court sentencing hearings
  • He victimized his parents
  • He victimized his dead grandfather
  • He victimized the grieving mother of one of his deceased victims
  • He scammed 19 friends and relatives
  • He used his friends and relatives credit information to scam 25 banks
  • He sent the judge a forged doctor's note after failing to appear for sentencing
  • He spent all of the money he stole on cars, trips, & home improvements

With that much excess baggage, the judge found it quite
easy to increase what would have originally been a
6.5 year sentence to 10 years instead

So, our tip for today is to be wary of anyone promising you to
improve your credit by gaining access to your confidential
financial information. Remind even relatives or friends that
unauthorized access to your credit report and making false
claims on a loan application can be punishable
under the law

Plus, to catch the "helpful" brother in law who suddenly
knows more about your credit condition than perhaps
even you do, enroll in a quality credit and bank account
monitoring program which will alert you to
suspicious transactions
involving your social
security number (ssn).

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Sentry Insurance Client Data for Sell from Identity Theft

Sentry-Insurance-Client-Data-for-Sell-from-Identity-Theft-audio post - click to play

For a cool $25,000 cash you could have purchased
during June the
personal identity information of
36,000 innocent victims of
identity theft from the
Sentry Insurance company.

At the end of July a Michigan computer consultant working
for Sentry
Insurance was arrested after attempting to sell to
an undercover law enforcement officer a portion of the total
Sentry Insurance customer files he had stolen. The
information stolen by this identity thief involved the company's
worker compensation claim files and included the following
sensitive consumer information so valued by credit fraudsters:

  • Names
  • Social Security Numbers (ssn)
  • Dates of Birth

Evidently this identity thief had become emboldened by his previous
sale over the internet of 72 victim's information from the
same company.

All of the identity thief's illegal activities took place during the
timeframe of May 25 and June 22.

So, our tip for today is if you are or know someone who is a customer
of Sentry Insurance, contact the company on their company toll free
phone line to seek further assistance if your name was on the list
of people who's social security number (ssn) and other personal
information was compromised by this case of identity theft.

Although all of the stolen data has been recovered, Sentry Insurance
has made arrangements for its impacted customers to receive "free"
credit monitoring to help prevent fraudulent use of their personal

To find out more, contact Sentry Insurance, based in Wisconsin,
at 1-877-Sentry (7368).

Monday, August 14, 2006

Identity Theft Not So Pulp Fiction Hits Weyerhauser

Identity-Theft-Not-So-Pulp-Fiction-Hits-Weyerhauser audio post - click to play

Weyerhauser, the paper manufacturer, has become the latest
case of identity theft when a woman was arrested while in
possession of a computer printout containing employee data.

It seems this identity thief, a New York woman, was arrested
after attempting to open a line of credit using a false identity.

Law enforcement authorities discovered she also held a

computer printout of hourly employees of two of the pulp
and paper manufacturer's plants.

As the company believes, based on the information held by
this identity thief, their entire employee information
for the two plants has been exposed, they are offering
a year's worth of "free" credit monitoring to
those 1,800
negatively impacted.

But, there's one big condition to those victims actually
receiving their "free" credit monitoring.

So, our tip for today is if you were a hourly employee
Weyerhauser's New Bern and Plymouth plants
during the time
period of Aug. 1 to Nov. 1, 2000,
you must contact any of the three major credit bureaus
to file your "free" fraud alert and to start your credit
monitoring account.

Weyerhauser will NOT automatically start the credit
account for you if you do not contact the
credit bureaus.

That's the condition, even though they have already paid for
your account.

Contact any of the three major credit bureaus to file your
free fraud alert and they will share that information with
the other two. However, it is only necessary for you to
open up credit monitoring with a single credit bureau from
the following list with toll free numbers:

Equifax - (800) 685-1111

Experian - (888) 397-3742

Trans Union - (888) 909-8872

Finally, since it's been nearly six years
many former employees may not have
recieved the news yet directly from
Weyerhauser, so be a good friend any
forward this notice to anyone you know
who could be missing out on their "free"
credit monitoring to protect their credit.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Identity Theft with Medical and Assisted Living Centers

Identity-Theft-with-Medical-and-Assisted-Living-Centers-audio post - click to play

Alert: your aged loved ones residing in an
assisted living
center are prime targets for
unscrupulous identity thieves.
So are
patient records at medical groups.

The common element in both of these recent cases is
vulnerable patients and disgruntled employees.

It seems in our first case, two identity thieves, one who
actually worked at an assisted living facility aided an
outside accomplice by stealing elderly patient's personal
information such as:

  • Names
  • Date of Birth
  • Social Security Number (ssn)

The outside accomplice would then apply for car and student
loans in the unsuspecting elderly victim's name.

However, at least in this case, one of the intended victim's
daughter was alerted by law enforcement when a $15,000
student loan
application raised red flags.

Evidently the assisted living center employee was able to
gain access to the victim's personal information as part
of her job responsibilities to "shred old financial

When arrested, this identity thief, had even managed to
steal the personal information of a former
patient who
had died four years previously.

Is there any shame left with this type of behavior by
greedy identity thieves?

Evidently not as our next case involves a Washington state
medical center former employee who is charged with
acquiring the medical records of 6,000

It seems the former employee used his laptop computer
download the medical records containing the highly
prized information identity thieves will $100 or more for:

  • Patients' Names
  • Addresses
  • Social Security Numbers (ssn)
  • Dates of Birth (dob)

With this late breaking story, there is no evidence yet
available the patient's personal information has been
used in credit fraud. But, the medical center involved has
set up a special hotline and is advising it's patients
to check their credit reports.

So, our tip for today is twofold. First, those patients
both past and present of the Madrona Medical Group in
Bellingham, Washington, should immediately file a "free"
fraud alert with any of the three major credit

Secondly, contact the Madrona Medical Group on their
special hot line for further assistance.

That local hot line number is 752-5635.

Finally, for those who have elderly relatives residing
in assisted living centers, make sure you enroll them
in a credit monitoring service to automatically send
you wireless alerts, email, or phone calls upon any
suspicious credit activity involving their social
security number.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Grandpa You Stole My Credit Identity

Grandpa-You-Stole-My-Credit-Identity audio post - click to play

We've exposed sons, fathers, priests, policemen,
teachers & more all committing identity theft.
However, even this latest episode by a 71 year
old Florida man caused us to collectively shake
our heads in disbelief.

It seems this 71 year old Florida man, while a
suspect in "numerous" identity theft cases was
caught when a suspicious bank teller alerted
authorities during his attempt to cash a $4,770
check using a fake driver's license.

It turns out the check was forged which the
Florida thief evidently had previously been
successful in scamming other banks using the
same ploy. Detectives estimated this Florida
thief had stolen up to $200,000 by using
fake driver's license or immigration ID
to cash stolen and counterfeit checks.

What's disturbing about this man, at 71
years of age, is you normally consider that
time when most people are happily enjoying
their retired life as a grandparent. But,
this elderly identity theft and credit fraudster
took up a life of crime at the age of 51.

For the past 20 years, this recent identity
thief had previously been a frequent jail
guest for crimes such as fraud, larceny,
arson, burglary, molestation, & even battery
against a law enforcement officer.

What this track history tells us, especially
when combined with the other non-typical
criminals such as priests, policemen, kids,
fathers, etc. is that identity theft has
become the crime of choice in

With the fact that now over 90 million
Americans have had their most sensitive
personal information needlessly exposed
or outright stolen in the past 1.5 years,
is that the odds of you too becoming
identity theft victim is merely a
of when - not if.

So, our tip for today is to arm yourself
against the army of identity thieves lurking
to steal your financial future, consider the
need to inspect your credit report for any
new accounts not opened by you. Secondly,
to catch the non-credit related offenses
committed in your name, get your public
information profile (PIP).

With your PIP in hand, thoroughly review
the pages of detailed information which
will illuminate for you when an identity
thief has done any of the following
crimes against your good name:

  • Filed bankruptcy
  • Generated arrest warrants
  • Triggered liens against your property or person
  • Been sued resulting in a cash judgment outstanding
  • Acquired or Sold Real Estate fraudulently
  • Any many more....

One of our subscribers was shocked to find out a
very similarly named man residing in a different
state half way across the country held a lengthy
criminal history of assault and battery along
with a recent bankruptcy resulting from extensive
debt and a poor job record.

That subscriber shared their personal story with us
of how that man's misdeeds kept him from
high paying executive level jobs because
his personal background checks would suddenly screen
him out with employers that had previously
excited to hire him...that is until they
discovered his evil twin living in Ohio.

Imagine what an identity thief could be
to you right now, like the 71 year old
man, that you would not even find out until your
life was ruined?

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Identity Theft of Transportation Dept

Identity-Theft-of-Transportation-Dept audio post - click to play

There was a time, in popular movies, where the
criminal would be rescued by his gang members.
Now, however, we have lived to see a laptop
liberated (stolen) from a government vehicle
by the bad guys instead.

The stolen laptop, belonging to the federal
Department of Transportation inspector
office contained the highly sensitive
information of over 100,000 (133,000)
of Florida.

Once again, unencrypted personal data prized by
identity thieves was not only placed on a portable
laptop computer, but it was transported in a
far less secure than just about any
corporate data center.

That laptop data involved in the identity theft

  • Names
  • Social Security Numbers (ssn)
  • Dates of Birth
  • Addresses
  • Pilot's Licenses
  • Driver's License

Any reasonably capable identity thief or credit fraudster
will be able to easily use this rich bounty of personal
information to quickly open up new accounts and
illegal purchases while leaving their unsuspecting
victims financial future in ruins.

As part of the typical pattern of "after the fact" spin,
the Transportation Department issued the usual
apologies and press releases promising to do better.

"We regret this matter and take our
responsibilities seriously," Zinser wrote.
"We have taken action and will continue
to take steps necessary to prevent this
from happening again."

Excuse me, but had the Department of Transportation put
even half of that energy into these two simple preventative
steps, the lives of over 100,000 individuals would not be
in sudden peril:

  1. No unencrypted personal data leaves secure data centers ever
  2. No laptops are left in an unattended vehicle ever

However, just as Ernst & Young and other organizations we've
helped to expose this year as having slopping data handling
practices, the Transportation Department is now the latest
in a highly likely continued sad string of "stolen"laptops
containing consumer information.

How much do you want to bet some of these "stolen"
laptops may very well be inside jobs?

Want to gain back some degree of protection
against these
data mishaps which needlessly
put you or your family members at risk?

Our tip for today, then, is twofold. First, for the innocent
victims of identity theft caused by the Transportation Dept.,
contact any of the three major credit bureaus to get your
free fraud alert placed immediately. Secondly, you
can also contact the Transportation Department's toll
phone hotline to get any assistance you will require
for the mountain of legal paperwork, hassles from debt
collectors, and phone calls you'll make to creditors.

That hot line number is 800-424-9071.

Know someone else who you can share this episode with?

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Veterans Affairs Personal Data MIA as Id Theft Suspected Again

Veterans-Affairs-Personal-Data-MIA-as-Id-Theft-Suspected-Again audio post - click to play

Coming on the heels of the arrest of a pair of teenagers
responsible for the stolen VA laptop in May containing
26.5 million Veteran's social security numbers (ssn),
another incident has occurred prompting cries to fire
the Veterans Affairs administrator Jim Nicholson.

Less than a month after promising to make the VA the
"gold standard" in data security, a desktop computer
in the Reston, Virginia office of an out-sourced medical
billing contractor (Unisys) was "taken from a secured
office space."

That secured part of the Unisys office required
company id badge for access.

Similar to the previous security breach, the personal
data suspected to be contained on the "missing"
computer included:

  • Full Names
  • Date of Birth
  • Social Security Numbers (ssn)
  • Other Insurance Companies
  • Medical information

This latest VA security breach has negatively & needlessy
impacted as many as 38,000 veterans who received
at VA medical centers in Philadelphia and

Adding more fuel to it's critics in recent weeks the VA has
also acknowledged losing sensitive data for more
than 16,000
veterans in at least two other cases
in Minneapolis and

So, our tip for today is if you are a veteran who's utilized
the VA's services in these four cities, contact any three of
the credit bureaus to seek getting a credit freeze or
alert placed on your credit report. Additionally,
contact the Veterans Affairs special toll-free hotline for additional
information on how this latest identity theft may impact access
to your benefits.

To reach that Veteran Affairs hot line call 1-800-333-4636.

Also, make sure to tell a friend about this important new warning.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Identity Theft Leads to Credit Bureau Damages

Identity-Theft-Leads-to-Credit-Bureau-Damages audio post - click to play

In what may yet become an opening salvo
of consumer litigation
in the continuing war
against identity theft, one of the three
credit bureaus has been ordered by a federal
judge to
pay over $350,000 in damages to a
Virginia woman.

The woman's lawsuit was originally filed against all three
major credit bureaus: Equifax, TransUnion, & Experian as
well as her creditor, CitiFinancial for the total of $45

This whole sad episode, for all parties involved, started
in June, 2003 with the birth of the Virginia woman's son
at a local area hospital. That hospital stay resulted in
her social security number (ssn) becoming stolen
by an identity thief masquerading as an temporary worker
within the billing department.

The identity thief used the woman's stolen social security
number to open several credit accounts generating
of dollars" in fraudulent debt
responsible for the victim to

The appalling part of the hospital's hiring was the staffing
agency who supplied the temporary billing person evidently
did not conduct a thorough background check. The temporary
worker was later exposed to have had prior convictions for
identity theft and was on probabition at the time she was
placed within the hospital's billing department.

Although the identity thief was arrested and sentenced to
two years in prison, the identity theft victim was left
with several more years of harassment by debt
companies as her credit reports continued
to show non-payment.

Note, this was after the identity theft victim attempted to
clear her credit record for over a year. This was even
after she initially reported the crime to all three credit bureaus.

Although all three credit bureaus filed written denials
against the lawsuit's allegations, the federal court saw things
differently with the judgement against Equifax.

More importantly, though, the lawsuit claimed the credit bureaus
lack a mechanism to repair the damage identity theft
to a person's credit report.

In other words, you are on your own to clean up the
financial wreakage caused by identity theft based credit fraud.

So, our tip for today is to learn wisely from this identity theft
victim's tragic painful story. The credit bureaus, while mostly
diligent in their data protection and accuracy efforts, are reliant
upon the quality of the data reported to them. The fact
in this case that you've learned was a proven identity thief was
actually hired in a highly sensitive personal data rich information
was a mistake you can never control against.

However, there is a better way to seek a solution to the control
you deserve for your financial safety and well being.

Your best option to avoid this problem is to institute your very
own burgular alarm to warn you when you have fallen victim
to identity theft. By adopting a quality account and credit monitoring
system, you can avoid the severity and lengthy amount of harassment
you will face from debt collectors like this Virginia woman.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Identity Theft When Will They Ever Learn

Identity-Theft-When-Will-They-Ever-Learn audio post - click to play

Here's a pop quiz for you. What does a
model, a policeman, & a Nebraska
loan company
all have in common?

Now for the answer.

They all were caught recently as being
perpetrators of various forms of identity
theft and or credit fraud.

First up is our fashion model, Beverly Peele.
She was sentenced this past Thursday by a Los
Angeles area judge to 3 years probation and
repaying the victims of her identity theft
credit fraud committed. It seems our super
model went shopping with someone else's
credit card numbers, but had the
delivered to her home.

Next up, is a Baltimore, Maryland police
officer of three years, who was arrested
and suspended from the force for attempting
to use a fraudulent American Express card.
The police woman, tried to monetize the
card by purchasing a $1,000 gift
certificate at a local shopping mall.

Instead, this police woman now faces
charges including 5 counts of identity
theft & 2 counts of theft by deception
plus a likely law enforcement career
in ruins.

If anyone, a policeman should know that
crime does not pay.

Our final spotlight on this triology
of "when will they ever learn" identity
theft cases illustrates the continuing
problem we have exposed all throughout
this year.

Lost or "missing" data resulting from
transporting unencrypted data outside
the physical premises of a company
entrusted with sensitive consumer
information highly prized by identity
thieves worldwide:

  • Names
  • Social Security Numbers (ssn)
  • Other personally identifying information

In this latest computer tape gone "missing",
the personal loan data of over 180,000
and former students who held
loans currently serviced by a Nebraska firm
known as Nelnet.

Nelnet was informed by the courier (UPS) the
computer tape was "lost" July 10th while in
transit in Texas.

One would think by now with all of the public
disclosures this year of companies with
careless data handling procedures needlessly
exposing hundreds of thousands of Americans
to identity theft, that you would encrypt
data prior to transportation.

So, our tip for today is twofold. If you
have or had a student loan registered with
the Nelnet/College Access Network during the
time period of Nov., 2002 - May, 2006 contact
the special toll free number for more information.

That phone number for Nelnet is 1-800-552-7925.

Secondly, since last month, residents of the state
of Colorado now have access to a credit freeze law.
With this new law, you now have the right to request
all three of the major credit bureaus to place a
security freeze on your credit report to make it
inaccessible without your authorization.

Retailers who offer "instant credit" approval
have typically been the targets of identity
theft fraud artists which this new Colorado
law will help to deter.

In closing this article, while identity
thieves may never learn crime does not pay,
you are now armed with some added knowledge
to use as part of the continuing opportunity
to prevent identity theft from claiming you
as their next victim.

Be a good friend, share this story.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

$11 Million Identity Theft Ring Busted in Philly

$11-Million-Identity-Theft-Ring-Busted-in-Philly audio post - click to play

Philadephia, known as the city of brotherly love, was
just recently found to have a little too much of the wrong
kind of affection. It seems, identity thieves had been
loving the target rich environment Philadelphia presented
as a 10 member identity theft ring were charged
for a massive
fraud scheme.

That fraud scheme involved fraudulent mortgages
180 properties which could potential cost
the government and private mortgage lenders

Additionally, another fraud ring of 10 identity thieves,
managed to steal from 4 different Philadelphia banks for
over 17 months using an elaborate, well organized
designed to gather detailed consumer information
used in check cashing scams.

This scam netted over $1 million dollars from
bankers and consumers.

All totalled, two identity theft rings involving 20 people
and over $12 million dollars in fraud in Philadelphia.

So, our tip for today, is if you live in Philadelphia and
have accounts with PNC Bank,Wachovia Bank, M&T Bank, or
Commerce Bank during the time period of 2/2004 to 11/2005
now's a great time for you to review your other banking
alternatives as well as to seek account monitoring to
alert you of any future unauthorized account

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Drug Raid Reveals Police Identity Theft Too

Drug-Raid-Reveals-Police-Identity-Theft-Too audio post - click to play

Thirty six police offers were revealed to be
the victims of identity theft in Texas. It
seems during a recent drug raid documents
were recovered at the crime scene indicating
three dozen law enforcement officers had been
previously targeted by the perpetrators.

According to the report, one of the suspects
arrested evidently made unauthorized
of the officer's gym membership
where this identity thief worked.

Some of the highly sensitive personal data
the identity thief had access to on the
member slips were:

  • Names
  • Home Address
  • Phone Number
  • Next of Kin

Besides the obvious point that credit fraud and
identity theft could be committed against these
peace officers, just the fact that criminal drug
dealers knew where they lived and who
their family
members were is even more
alarmingly - especially if there were any
undercover operatives.

So, our tip for today is for all those in law
enforcement. Guard your personal data just like
you do in guarding your life and the lives of those
civilians you serve on a daily basis.

Demand, as it's your right, to know how
personal information is
securely stored or better yet
by the organizations, clubs, & any other
entities you have relationships with. Make
sure those organizations also understand you
are a law enforcement officer and that extra
special care should be provided to secure your
highly sensitive personal information from
unauthorized access.

Besides, not just for law enforcement, everyone living
in America is protected by the FACTA law which governs
the secure handling of your personal information.
Organizations which can not demonstrate
with this federal law are liable
to penalties and fines
for each incident.