Thursday, September 28, 2006

GE Stolen Laptop Exposes 50,000

Adding to this year's list of offenders, General
Electric corporation is the latest to have a
"stolen" laptop containing highly confidential
consumer data of their current and former

this is an audio post - click to play

With this exposure, resulting from the theft of
an employee's laptop from a locked hotel room, GE
was forced to notify an estimated 50,000 employees
last week in a letter their personal information
has been compromised.

Even though a GE company spokesman indicated he
believed the theft was simply a random criminal act,
they are offering a year's worth of free identity
theft monitoring to those negatively impacted.

Here's why.

General Electric, with diverse lines of business, is
also one of the leading providers of consumer credit
services through their GE Consumer Finance group.

GE Finance holds many retail clients who actually
open up the credit accounts with consumer. Here's
just a small sampling of their credit clients:

  • Home Depot
  • Mervyns
  • Lowes
  • Sam's Club
  • Walmart

According to an excerpt from the company's fraud
policy website, they offer tips they themselves
evidently do not take seriously:

" committed to helping consumers protect
themselves against identity theft and fraud"

"Will not ask for financial or personal information,
such as user names, passwords, credit card numbers,
social security or bank account numbers, via e-mail"

The data contained on the stolen laptop included
that highly sought by identity thieves for the
ability to quickly open up new credit and

  1. Names
  2. social Security Numbers (ssn)

Once again, an unsecured laptop in a publicly
accessible area - containing unencrypted and
highly confidential consumer data was stolen
due to an errant employee.

According to the GE spokeman the data was
"being used in a project".

What possibly would an employee need the
names and social security numbers of 50,000
people for a project that he had to work on using
a portable laptop with unencrypted data in a
hotel room?

Well, according to General Electric they have
"strict policies in place for laptop and data
security". Evidently those strict policies
do not cover encrypting sensitive
data transported outside
the company premises.

GE did not disclose what hotel nor even the
city the identity theft occurred.

Given, the average time needed by an identity
theft victims to repair the damage is 330
hours (14 days) most of which you can believe
will be away from work, it's prudent to pull
out all stops to prevent this type of fraud
from happening to you.

So, our tip for today is if you or anyone you
know is a GE employee both past and present,
have them contact their employee benefits
coordinator immediately for more information.

Make sure to get the details for how you can
qualify for the year's worth of "free"
credit monitoring services.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Woman Denied Loan Resulting from 1982 Identity Theft

Woman-Denied-Loan-Resulting-from-1982-Identity-Theft audio post - click to play

In what appears to be the earliest
documented incident of
theft, a Illinois woman was denied
a new car loan
because someone
24 years ago stole her identity to

  • A Mortgage
  • Credit cards
  • Utilities (e.g. gas,electric, etc.) started

Unfortunately for this woman, this identity theft and credit
fraud committed against her in 1982 proves that you can never
be too early to check out private and public records in your name.

So, our tip for today is to be diligent in verifying your name
is clear of any past identity theft. Get a copy of your free
credit report
and also make sure to check out your public
information profile as well for the identity theft
items no
credit report was ever designed to catch.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Identity Theft Victims Testify with Prevention Tips

Identity-Theft-Victims-Testify-with-Prevention-Tips audio post - click to play

As a follow on to our recent post requesting
comments from our valuable readers and
subscribers, we offer a brief sampling
of their personal experiences shared
with us for you to utilize in the war
against identity theft.

Identity Theft Victim #1 said....

When I recently got a copy of my credit report,
I learned someone had opened a credit card in
my name 9 years ago. The account had been
closed by the credit card company due to many
late payments.

The only way I found out about it was because
I was rejected from getting a credit card from
my own bank because they told me I was
a "bad" credit risk.

Identity Theft Victim #2 said...

Way back in 2002 we learned my identity had
been stolen and used to run over $800 in
charges on not one, but two of my credit cards.

We subsequently learned there was a mail fraud
ring operating in (city deleted) one of the
major inbound mail processing facilities.

What the identity thieves were doing was stealing
envelopes containing convenience checks mailed to
credit card holders.The thieves were providing the
stolen mail, for a fee,to the actual credit fraudsters
who would then use them just like cash.

By endorsing those unsolicted convenience checks, the
thieves were able to immediately go shopping - in this
instance using our previously unblemished credit.

The only way we noticed it then was weeks later upon
receipt of our monthly account statement.

Fortunately, for us, the identity thieves credit
fraudsters did not process a change of address
for the account. This would have delayed the
timeframe for us to recognize the identity theft
had actually taken place.

This one big reason why we are now firm believers
in getting automatic credit monitoring to alert
you to any new suspicious activity.

That way you still have time on your side to
take action before significant, long term damage
can be done to your credit record.

Identity Theft Victim #3 said...

I've been a victim of identity theft over a
year ago and had I known the things now on
your site, I could have avoided a h-u-g-e
amount of frustration in dealing with credit
bureaus and banks to correct my profile.

Three different identity theft victims with
different circumstances but all with one
common theme shared amongst them.

Identity theft is a crime of opportunity
practiced by ever resourceful criminals
against generally unsuspecting victims
who are simply too busy or pre-occupied
with the daily demands on their time to
notice what has become the familiar
pattern of fraud committed:

  • Unauthorized charges suddenly showing up on your credit cards
  • Mysterious cash withdrawals from your checking account
  • Monthly financial statements suddenly stop arriving in the mail
  • Credit issuers rejecting your loan applications for "bad" credit
  • Debt collectors start harassing you for unpaid credit bills
  • And many more...

So, our tip for today is take to heart the lessons learned
from each of these three identity theft victims. Get enrolled
in a quality credit and bank account monitoring
to serve as your very own personal fraud
"burgular alarm".

By doing so not only do you help to significantly reduce the
negative financial impact of identity theft, but you also
materially increase your odds of preventing fraud altogether.

Friday, September 22, 2006

25,000 Identity Thieves in LA

With California known as the "Golden State",
identity thieves have made Los Angeles their
prime hunting ground for victims.

25,000 cases of identity theft were reported
for Los Angeles county during 2005 with the
projection for
this year is expected to easily
surpass that
record number last year.

this is an audio post - click to play

Due to the sheer volume of cases needing
investigation, a special identity theft
task force estimates they only have
power to address 10% of the
total reported.

Evidently the thieves are also aware of a
$2,000 theft threshold before law
will even investigate.

"Thieves will take someone's credit card
information, charge under $2,000, then
take out another credit card and charge
under $2,000, so they never get caught."

The L.A. County Sheriff's Department
indicated they have experienced a ten
fold increase in identity theft
during the past 7 years.

While local legislators are being asked
to help contribute additional funding
to hire more investigators, the identity
thieves have a comfortable head start
for now with that other 90% of the
reported cases which do not ever

Want to lessen your odds of being in
that 90% bracket to becoming the next
identity theft victim?

Well, our tip for today is to seek out
your very own protection. Just as the
criminals have traded in their guns for
internet connected computers loaded with
fake document production capability, get
your own high tech identity theft

Enroll in a quality credit and bank account
monitoring service which will automatically
forward you wireless or email alerts whenever
suspicious activity takes place against the
threshold values you establish as normal
transaction volume.

With 90% of the known identity theft cases
being too small for police, but large enough
for criminals to pursue, your odds to
a fraud victim far outweigh
the chances of
winning the lottery
anywhere in America

So, remember, it's no longer an option to
wait further before pursuing monitoring
protection, but rather a right of self
for your financial future
and immediate credit safety.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Identity Theft Family Affair Nets Fraud Mastermind

A mother and her two kids, all capable identity
thieves, schemed how to simultaneously accumulate
7 residential properties split between two Pacific
Northwest cities using $500,000 in fraudulent
loans timed to trick the lender's audits.

Identity-Theft-Family-Affair-Nets-Fraud-Mastermind-audio post - click to play

This family of identity thieves then used the real
estate properties as adult foster care facilities
and collected substantial rents from their
occupants to generate a steady income.

When the lenders never received any payments on
the real estate loans which defaulted, the family
of identity thieves would promptly leave town
for their their next soft target of opportunity.

"...has committed fraud her entire adult life
and used her children to further her schemes..."

"...directed the actions of her children, recruiting
them into her criminal schemes and teaching
them a
lifestyle of deceit at a very young age."

To support our claim there was a criminal master mind
of identity theft & financial fraud operating within
this family, take notice of a brief summary of their
crimes courtesy of the U.S. Justice Department's
court case against this family:

  • Credit card fraud scheme
  • Fraudulent car loans
  • Fraudulent collateral for bail bond
  • Fictious credit histories (for bank loans)
  • Fictious Assets & Incomes (for bank loans)
  • False IRS form W-2s (for bank loans)
  • False IRS form 1040s (for fraudulent IRS refunds)
  • Identity theft of kidney transplant candidates

With a long history of dedicated identity theft
practice in operation, the mother and her children
managed to commit fraud in both Canada and the USA.
Within the USA, this identity theft ring operated in
Washington and Arizona before being apprehended.

So, our tip for today is to be especially wary of
the resourcefulness of professional identity thieves.
Not only credit monitoring, but also your public
information profile (pip) are prudent ways to
catch the often times faint signs of identity theft
committed in your name.

Remember credit reports were never
designed to
monitor fraudulent tax
returns or property liens
in your name.

Serious identity thieves, like this "grand dame of
identity theft" know this fact and will take full
advantage of you should you not have an
detection mechanism deployed
for your financial and public information

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

How an Identity Thief Got Dead People To Sell Their Stock

A San Diego man has admitted his guilt in a $500,000
identity theft scam perpetrated against deceased
holders involving their stock and dividends.

How-an-Identity-Thief-Got-Dead-People-To-Sell-Their-Stock-audio post - click to play

It seems the 28 year old man claimed he needed the funds
for a kidney transplant because he felt he was too low on
the waiting list for a timely USA medical solution.

However, according to court documents, this identity thief
managed to conduct almost 350 (346) fraudulent
wire or
check transfers totaling in excess of
which he did not need as he recieved his
kidney transplant anyway.

What it appears the San Diego man was up to was just good
old fashioned identity theft and fraud.

Here's how.

This identity thief would collect the names and social security
numbers (ssn) of deceased individuals accounts which had not
been closed but remained inactive.

He would then, using his home computer, managed to get his name
added as an authorized signatory to the deceased accounts.
With that level of access, this identity thief then would change the
contact mailing address on the account so that he now would be
the sole recipient of all correspondence, statements and most
importantly checks disbursed from the account.

As a result, this San Diego identity thief managed to obtain
dividend disbursements from the various stocks held
in the deceased accounts & was also able to direct the
institutions he simultaneously scammed
to sell him the stocks
rightfully owed by the account

This identity thief was caught by the FBI and is facing 30
years in prison for his crimes against the dead and their
financial institutions:

  • Mellon Investor Services
  • Wells Fargo
  • Bank of New York (BONY)
  • ComputerShare

So, our tip for today is if you have any deceased relatives
who may have held stock at or received their divident
disbursements at those financial institutions, contact them
immediately for further information to possibly claim
those assets rightfully owed tolegitimate heirs
of the account holders.

Additionally, for the living, if you have moved long ago to
another city but left behind small savings accounts or other
mailing addresses which were tied to stock dividend
payments - check back with those institutions to
make sure they have your most current mailing

Or, some other resourceful identity thief may become
the next millionare on your behalf.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Man Beats Wife into Coma Then Steals Her Identity

In a tragically sad story of how low the human spirit
can sink, a California man beat his wife into a coma,
then stole her identity while he was out on bail.

It seems the husband, or should we say accused wife
beater and identity thief, stole his comatose wife's identity
merely to pay his bail bond and lawyer fees - plus buy
a home.
Man-Beats-Wife-into-Coma-Then-Steals-Her-Identity-audio post - click to play
The husband, though, had a willing accomplice who aided
him in the identity theft credit fraud committed against
his wife while he was still in jail for the assault. His
mother, the identity theft accomplice, forged
the wife's
signature to make him co-owner of
the home
which had been solely the wife's.

Plus, the husband got the home refinanced and arranged to
have $224,000 from the transaction deposited to his
wife's savings account - which he had joint
access to.

Why would this man go to these great lengths to commit identity
theft against his own wife that he'd beaten into a coma?

Well, let's see what law enforcement found from the paper trail
left in the wake of his identity theft spree as he:

  • Managed to secure a $500,000 bond for his jail release
  • Applied for a credit card in his wife's name
  • Issued two cashier's checks totaling $112,000 for himself
  • Issued two checks totaling $60,000 to his parents
  • Paid $27,000 towards his bail
  • Paid $10,000 for his criminal attorney fees
  • Put down $18,000 for a new home
  • He also tried unsuccessfully for a $16,000 car loan

With a repeated criminal pattern exhibited by this identity
thief, no wonder it was simply a matter of time before he
was re-arrested and back behind bars.

He's now being held in prison awaiting a court hearing at
the end of this month. This time is bail is set at $1 million.

So, our tip for today is to be on guard for what is now
appearing to be a much more desparate and violent new
breed of identity thieves. As in the earlier story we
exposed about the Florida man who preyed on working
mothers, identity theft continues to spiral further out of
control towards dangerous new depths.

Use prudent, common sense and be wary of anyone who's
attempting to gain control of your financial assets. It's not
uncommon for a significant percentage of identity
victims to be known by the criminals who
defraud them
of their financial future or in this instance
their personal health and safety.

Finally, to protect your assets and insure the handling of your
personal financial affairs is executed within the limits of your
desires if incapitated, seek out capable legal advice for a living
will or estate

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Identity Thief Preys on Working Mothers

During a hectic morning, already running late for
the drive to work, you are victimized right outside
your child's preschool daycare center by an identity

Identity-Thief-Preys-on-Working-Mothers-audio post - click to play

Yes, an identity thief, evidently emboldened by many
prior successes, did exactly that against a Florida
mother and is suspected of having stolen the
of more than 100 other Hollywood
area women
using similar tactics.

''I think it's prey on a mother with her kids".

Evidently, this identity thief specialized in victimizing working
who were distracted while dropping off their children at local
area daycare centers and pre-schools.

Quite successful too, as his own twisted work from home scam,
for when he was thankfully arrested by local police they found
the following:

  • Personal Identity Information (PII) on at least 115 victims
  • 60 Passports, Bank Checkbooks and Retail Gift Cards
  • A Computer Printer for Creating Fake Checks
  • Lists of Broward County School Employees
  • Names
  • Addresses
  • Phone Numbers
  • Birth Dates
  • Social Security Numbers (ssn)

He pushed the mother down to the ground and smashed
the passenger side window of her car and proceeded to
steal her purse.

Illustrating the speed and boldness this identity thief
operated by, only 45 minutes after stealing that
mom's purse containing her personal information, this
criminal was out calmly purchasing gas for his car
his new victim's credit card.

Just like a lion stalking and preying on "easy targets"
of opportunity, this identity thief kept trophies of
his success that were found by the arresting officers
indicating there were many more victims of his violent
approach to identity theft credit fraud:

  • 25 Gucci or Coach Handbags
  • 40 to 50 pairs of designer sunglasses
  • 20 Personal Digital Assistants (pda)
  • 10 iPod mp3 music players

So, our tip for today is if you or someone you know was
the recent victim of purse snatching near any child day
care centers in the following Florida communities contact
your local police immediately:

  1. Hollywood
  2. Pembroke Pines
  3. Cooper City
  4. Weston
  5. Davie
  6. Bamford

After speaking with law enforcement authorities, also make
sure to contact any of the three major credit bureaus to
place a fraud alert on your credit file to minimize the
damage of unauthorized purchases using your name.

Finally, for all other working moms (and dads too), make
sure to give yourself an extra 20 minutes of time in
the morning's child care drop off schedule. This way you will
be less apt to be distracted and to become an easy mark
for this type of violent identity thief.

Friday, September 15, 2006

FTC Slaps Xanga with Largest Ever COPPA Fine

When a website knowingly violates kid's privacy
by taking their personal information illegally
and without parental consent, that act is a
violation of the federal law known as COPPA.

FTC-Slaps-Xanga-with-Largest-Ever-COPPA-Fine audio post - click to play
It also is a form of identity theft when you
use the unauthorized information collected on
kids to earn a profit.

Well, that is exactly what did over a
5 year period by knowingly accumulating and
disclosing the personal profile information
of 1,700,000 (million) kids to anyone with
access. That access, not just limited to members, also included anyone who
conducted searches through Google and Yahoo.

Children’s Online Privacy Protection Rule,
known by it's acronymn (COPPA)
protects the privacy
of children under the
age of 13. It also requires
any commercial
website to provide clear disclosure
to this
effect and parental consent being required.

But, not just disclosure and consent - actual controls
to insure under age kids are not registering

What got the largest fine ever issued by
the FTC for COPPA violations was the fact the owners
evidently knew their website would allow kids to
register - even after providing the required birthdate
entry field.

In practical terms, Xanga had a lock on their front door,
but never used it to keep out kids 13 and under.


Because in this instance Xanga was the identity thief.
The value of 1.7 million under age members
outweighed any fine deterrence to
this point.

However, the FTC made a striking point of dispelling
that myth as the $1,000,000 fine they slapped against and their primary owners was 2x any
fine assessed. And, 60% of that total fine
is due within 5 days of the Xanga owners signing the
consent decree with the federal government.

I can say from personal experience consulting with a
major artist & entertainment portal in 1999, COPPA was
and still is a major concern in operational procedures
being above reproach. That company went to great lengths
and considerable expense to eliminate any doubt the data
they possessed could be considered "tainted" and thus in
violation of COPPA.

I personally saw them walk away from an over 400,000
customer database worth tens of millions of dollars in
revenue solely for the reason they could not verify
those names were valid for use under the COPPA
., in contrast, perpetrated the worst and opposite
extreme. They knowingly collected, trafficked, & made
available the personal identities of innocent children
the law known as COPPA is designed to protect.

So, our tip for today is simple and direct. If you have
children under the age of 13, they must have your explicit
consent to provide their personal identifying information
to a commercial website. Furthermore, if your children 13
and under are members of or any of the other
major social networking sites like or
, they have put themselves and those sites at risk
with COPPA - not to mention the child predators who use
identity theft collection techniques to hunt down their victims.

For those instances, you can simply delete your child's account.
Also, use these convenient links to remove your child's Xanga
personal information from Google or Yahoo.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

HP Identity Theft Costs Chairman's Job

HP-Identity-Theft-Costs-Chairman's-Job-audio post - click to play

The Chairman of the Board for Hewlett Packard resigned,
after ordering an investigation of fellow board members
which resulted in their identity theft as well as a select
group of reporters.

What was she ever thinking?

Un-checked power in the board room evidently over ruled any
sense of common sense and adherence to commonly understood
laws governing identity theft.

By engaging private investigators to impersonate board
by contacting their phone service providers
to gain access to
calling records, an illegal practice
known as "pretexting", the
line was clearly crossed.

The line, between legal and illegal methods of investigation, was
sanctioned not by a common street criminal, but rather a person
in charge of the management oversight of a major

She had to know it would be illegal.

Identity theft using pretexting is illegal, but had the HP's
Chairman bothered to do any research at all over the internet
(HP is a computer and technology company), she would have known
Verizon, AT&T and other telecommunications firms have been very
publicly taking data brokers to court over this very same tactic
of pre-texting.

So, our tip for today is you might think twice about using HP
products - especially any of their computers. One may never
know if there isn't some secret chip lurking within the depths
of the machine silently recording all of your most personal

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

AOL Has Identity Theft Covered for You

AOL-Has-Identity-Theft-Covered-for-You-audio post - click to play

In an interesting move to restore trust with
their members, AOL announced this week
to cover the cost of identity theft insurance
for paid subscribers of their unlimited and
broadband access plans.

The identity theft insurance, provided by AIG, will
provide up to $10,000 to aid AOL members
to restore
their identity and credit. This offer
would be regardless of how their Social Security
Number (ssn), bank account or other personal
information became compromised.

Even though the AIG offer is a secondary policy
to the member's pre-existing homeowner or renters
insurance, this announcement is an encouraging sign
there is actually some hope that American business
is willing to put some actual good faith"skin in the
game" with consumers for the protection of your
confidential data.

Coming on the heels of last month's highly embarassing
episode where AOL released to the internet the detailed
search records of over 600,000 members resulting in
their loss of privacy, this identity theft protection
offer is a small step in the right direction towards
restoring consumer trust.

Not quite as far as we would like to see in terms
of an aggressive stance against identity theft by
an American company who's "accidently" exposed
consumer information to the world wide web.

Just consider had AOL really stepped it
up big time
and offered not credit insurance,
but rather "free"
credit monitoring for as
long as you are a subscriber.

But hey, we give credit where credit is due - even it's
a small step in the right direction for companies to take a
more proactive approach to insuring the customer's
information safety is a requirement and not an option
in striving towards profitability.

So, our tip for today is if you are currently a premium
service level subcriber to American Online (AOL), contact
them to get your "free" identity theft insurance.

Also, make sure to tell a friend or associate about this
important new development.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

When Identity Theft Gets a "Second Life"

Last Wednesday computer hackers accessed unencrypted
customer information for the virtual world role playing
game known commerically as "Second Life".

When-Identity-Theft-Gets-a-Second-Life-audio post - click to play

The unauthorized database access impacted all 600,000
plus members with information within the publisher,
Linden Lab's payment database.

The unencrypted information accessed included:

  1. Names
  2. Addresses
  3. Account data

In addition to the unencrypted data, the hackers were
suspected of having accessed the encrypted payment
information. But, the encrypted credit card
stored on a separate database,
was not compromised
according to the company.

As a precautionary note, however, Linden Labs moved
swiftly and invalidated it's entire base of user
accounts by last Thursday morning. Second Life
game players were then faced with having to create
new passwords in combination with an authentication
feature which challenges the individual to answer
a series of questions correctly to gain access to
the game again.

With an estimated $7,000,000 to $8,000,000 in
"real money" which is transacted monthly within this
virtual world, the fraud potential of this identity
theft hack is on par with any large scale real world

Plus, you have several high profile organizations which
have gained early stakes in leveraging Second Life's
virtual world. Wells Fargo, American Cancer Society,
& the American Library Association are just a few
amongst an ever increasing client list.

So, our tip for today is if you are or you know someone
who is a registered user or merchant of Linden Lab's
Second Life virtual world, contact the company immediately
to seek additional information regarding resetting your

Monday, September 11, 2006

Identity Theft Victim Stories Wanted

Identity theft has become the #1 fastest growing crime in America.

Since the Choicepoint data breach scandal in early 2005,
over 90
million Americans have had their confidential
data needlessly
exposed through additional security
lapses or outright identity

this is an audio post - click to play

As Id Theft Secrets has revealed to you every week new tips
for how you can fight back to prevent identity theft, we want
to hear from your own personal stories.

So, our tip for today is please contact us. Share with us your
favorite personal story of identity theft no matter if it's good
or bad as we believe there can be an important learning in

For your convenience in providing your personal identity
theft related story, please take advantage of our comments
section to this article.

It's safe. You can leave your comments anonymously
which is our preference to protect your privacy.

With the volume of feedback we hope to recieve, we will
consolidate your personal stories into a special
that we will publish this week for all to
learn from.

Thank you very much in advance for your cooperation
and continued support.

We look forward to hearing from you all.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Identity Theft Risk for 2.6 Million Circuit City Credit Card Holders

A unit of JP Morgan Chase & company has lost
millions of consumers data again - 2.6 million to
be exact.

In this latest self inflicted wound, the Circuit City
branded credit card holder's personal information
was mistakenly discarded as trash and is believed
to be buried in a landfill.

Identity-Theft-Risk-for-2.6-Million-Circuit-City-Credit-Card- Holders-audio post - click to play

A Chase, the 2nd largest card issuer in America
with over 91 million accounts, company spokesman
blamed the problem on “human error and said
the bank wished to apologize to its customers."

Excuse me, but this latest incident is not some measly
excusable offense. Chase Bank had a computer stolen
from their Dallas office in Nov. 2005 which contained
the personal and financial information of their clients.

Also, last year when Mastercard International let
hackers expose nearly 40 million consumers account
information to identity theft, Chase officials elected
to not even inform those customers they knew
been the victims of the data breach.

And now, in 2006, over 2,500,000 million people's
most sensitive financial information has been quite
literally tossed into the trash like it's totally worthless.

Tell that to all those potential identity theft credit
fraud victims or identity thieves who are quite
willing to pay as much as $200 for a credit
containing a complete set of the
following confidential

  • Names
  • Addresses
  • Phone numbers
  • Account numbers
  • Social security numbers (ssn)

For the lucky identity theft ring, the opportunity to recover
even a small percentage of those 2.6 million account holders
information is a veritable gold mine.

Here's why.

Identity thieves typically use stolen personal information to
either run up charges on existing credit accounts or open up
completely new charge accounts. In both instances, the identity
thieves have favored taking advantage of greedy retailers
who push "instant credit" as an incentive to immediately purchase
lots of expensive consumer electronics such as HDTV, laptops, &
cell phones which can quickly be sold for cash on the street.

Let's say even a miniscule percentage of those 2.6 million
Circuit City account holder's information can be recovered by
identity theft "collectors". Assuming only 10,000 names
combined with social security numbers could
be recovered
from this latest Chase security breach -
what would the damage
estimate be?

It would easily translate into a potentially $21,000,000 opportunity
for identity thieves and a huge bad debt write off for the merchants
and consumers to settle the damages from the fraudulent purchases.
($2,100 average loss to consumers for established accounts - FTC, 2003)

This latest consumer data security lapse by Chase just points
what many believe is the real reason behind identity theft data
exposures continuing to grow out of control with seemingly no
end in sight. These big companies like Chase evidently
don't see enough enough money to be made from

securing sensitive customer information like it was
their very own.

Further, there's not enough money to be lost in privacy
for those same company executives to care about.
Thanks to organizations like Chase & others, since 2005, the
number of Americans who've needlessly had their personal
information exposed to identity theft is now over 93 million.

With the very real prospects that number will climb over 100
by Christmas just points out the now widely
held suspicion that
many companies are woefully
inept at protecting consumer privacy.

Here's what you can do today to fight back.

Our tip for today is for all of those 2.6 million Chase card holders of
the Circuit City brand. Contact Chase for more information on how
to qualify for your "free" credit monitoring.

Also, contact any of the three major credit bureaus
(Experian, Equifax, & TransUnion) to place your "free" fraud alert
on your credit report as an added prevention step against would be
identity thieves ruining your good credit.

The toll free number to contact Chase is 877-284-7840.

Finally, make sure to tell a friend or family about this Chase data
security breach - especially if there are or were Circuit City card
holders - so they too may avoid the pain and agony of
identity theft.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Inmate Ran Identity Theft Ring From Prison Cell

Inmate-Ran-Identity-Theft-Ring-From-Prison-Cell-audio post - click to play

"The sheer brazenness of this criminal enterprise is incredible"
according to Michigan Attorney General Mike Cox upon the
of an inmate who orchestrated a sophisticated
identity theft empire
from his jail cell.

Involving thousands of stolen names and social security
(ssn), the prison inmate ring leader's arrest resulted
from his attempt to defraud Michigan taxpayers out of "hundreds
of thousands" of dollars in state tax funds earmarked for low
income renters.

The criminal ring leader, from his jail cell, managed to gain
control of confidential consumer information he used to direct
his accomplices to file hundreds of fraudulent homestead
tax claims with the Michigan Treasury Department.

When the inmate's identity theft ring was busted, hundreds of
Michigan Treasury refund checks were in the process
of being
sent to various addresses in Detroit.

Not surprisingly many of the addresses did not
actually exist
, but they all had a change of address
card filed with the U.S. Post Office for mail to be
forwarded to a P.O. box in a nearby Detroit suburb.

What is surprising - the post office box was
rented by a company
which was incorporated
by the inmate while he was in prison!

So, our tip for today is to remember identity theft can come
from just about any imagineable direction. Even criminals
are behind prison bars can still inflict serious
harm to your
financial future.

That's why it's important to not only setup an automatic
alerting system for your banking accounts, but also regularly
screen for those other serious types of identity theft
no credit report was ever designed to catch.

Get your public information profile scrutinized
twice per year just to insure your good name has not already
been victimized by the criminal master minds behind identity

Thursday, September 07, 2006

How Convicts Legally Access Your DMV Data

Imagine hardened criminals such as murderers and
drug dealers regularly retrieving your highly personal
information as part of their prison job.

How-Convicts-Legally-Access-Your-DMV-Data-audio post - click to play

Well, if you resided in the state of Oregon during
2005 - this was the reality then and it may have been
occurring for as long as 17 years!

It seems, the state "DMV employed inbound call support
services from the Coffee Creek Correctional Facility."

What that means is, say you called into the DMV for
help. There was a 50% chance your call could either
be handled by a regular DMV employee -or- a
convicted criminal forced to work by a state

What type of information, then, could those convicted
murders and other hardened criminals have access to
that you wouldn't necessarily even want a stranger to

Try these golden pieces of information highly prized
by just about any identity theft credit fraudster:

  • Your Full Name
  • Your Date of Birth (dob)
  • Your Driver's License Number
  • Vehicle Identification and Title Numbers

While the inmates who were convicted for identity
theft were prohibited from working within the prison
call support center, alarmingly those convicted of
drug offenses were.

With the reoccuring connection which has subsequently
emerged between crystal meth users and identity theft,
combined with the explosion of documented id theft
disclosures since 2005, we find what was allowed to
happen in Oregon as extremely appalling at best.

Here's why:

"In Nov. 2005, Portland Police discovered
the DMV records for 1999 to 2000 on a laptop
computer at a meth-house. The records
contained information on thousands of
individuals including their names, dates
of birth,home addresses, social security
numbers and credit scores.

Unfortunately, there is no law in Oregon that
would require the DMV to notify individuals
whose personal information was found in this

At worst, it represents more of the short sighted
inept management decisions which have allowed over
90 million Americans to have had their most prized
and confidential personal information to have been
exposed since 2005.

So, our tip for today is to not leave your financial
well being and future in the hands of corrupt public
officials, misguided management policies, & ever
resourceful identity theft criminals.

Get your data out of the public domain as
much as humanly possible by utilizing opt out

Also, contact your local DMV to request your
personal information be restricted from wide
spread use as allowable within the laws of the
state you reside in.

Finally, make sure you regularly check your
public record profile for any criminal or
suspicious activity.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Identity Theft Drives $7,000 Taco Bell Purchase

Identity-Theft-Drives-$7,000-Taco-Bell-Purchase-audio post - click to play

A Georgia woman paid the equivalent of over
$7,000 for her recent fast food purchase using
the drive thru window.

That's right, $7,000 from the result of her
Taco Bell purchase - not because she was very
hungry - but rather due to an eager identity
thief who stole her account information.

It seems the identity thief, while working the
drive thru lane for Taco Bell, was illegally
"skimming" unsuspecting customer's
credit and
debit card information.

She was what we refer to as a simple identity
theft "collector" who actually does not make
the fraudulent purchases, but passes the stolen
data on to an accomplice who does the fraud.

As a result, she was rapidly capturing and
forwarding the stolen identities to an accomplice
who would then utilize the stolen data to
subsequently defraud the unsuspecting customers
bank accounts.

Unlike credit cards, your debit card tied to a
banking account, can have unlimited liability
up to the amount of available funds - especially
if you do not contact the bank within 1 week or
less of the fraud event.

This is how the Georgia woman came to lose over
$7,000 through a series of fraudulent
from her bank account.

Evidently this was a very profitable operation
for the identity thieves as the accomplice was
willing to pay "$1,000 for every 50 card
stolen" which translated into
$200 per individual

The identity theft accomplice, operating as a
"transactor", was later found to have been
engaged in recruiting fast food drive thru
workers all across the greater Atlanta

No wonder, with his ability to generate a
$7,000 return from an initial $200
, identity theft was a more
profitable venture than most other forms
of criminal activity.

So, our tip for today is it's better to pay cash
for fast food purchases - especially late at night
when only the drive thru window is open at your
favorite munchie haven.

Also, to aid Atlanta area law enforcement officers
engaged in the continuing investigation behind
this latest identity theft scam, citizens with
any information
or who may have now
discovered they have been
scammed after using a Taco Bell
contact the local police tip line.

That tip line number is (404)583-3086.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Identity Theft Hits the North Pole

In the land of what many school age children
would consider the domain of Santa Claus and
reindeer, an identity theft ring had been

The ring leader, a 23 year old man, has been
recently convicted for multiple counts of
theft and forgery including criminal

When arrested the North Pole identity theft
ring leader's auto contained "forged driver's
licenses and stolen checks."

Usually identity thieves prefer to frequently
change their locations and as a result often
carry with them the stolen identities and the
means to monetize them.

Fortunately, for the habitants of the North
Pole, this ring leader and his accomplices
will soon all be behind bars.

After all, we wouldn't want Santa Claus, his
elves, or even Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer
to become the North Pole's most recognizable
identity theft victims.

So, our tip for today is no one and not even
at the North Pole is beyond the reach of
identity theft. Make sure you order a copy
of your own credit report this month to
check for any signs of unauthorized activity
using your good name and social security
number (ssn).

Finally, to insure mobil dentity thief has not
used your stolen information to avoid arrest,
get your personal information profile (pip)
checked out before an arrest warrant
is issued
against you.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Help Catch an Identity Thief

Want to contribute in an active identity
theft man hunt? Join in on this identity theft
"reality" episode to help out law enforcement
track down a criminal victimizing a Hurricane
Katrina victim.

The identity thief, caught on tape by a Lowe's
retail store surveillance camera, appears below.

Help-Catch-an-Identity-Thief-audio post - click to play

Thisidentity thief, since July 11, has charged
more than $40,000 worth of goods at more than
15 stores across North Carolina.

The identity thief, evidently, has been using
the stolen identity of a New Orlean's area man
who was displaced a year ago by the devastating
Hurricane Katrina.

But the Louisiana man has learned he's being
ravaged again not by Mother Nature but by
an unscrupulous identity thief on a spending
spree. Some of the items purchased by this
shameless identity thief included:

  • Two lawn mowers
  • A Diamond ring

In only a month and a half, this identity thief
has managed to scam the following stores:

  • Lowe's
  • Radio Shack
  • Zales Jewelry
His area of focus has been evidently in the
Raleigh - Durham, Cary, Chapel Hill communities.

So, our tip for today is to help assist law
enforcement with any information you
have to take a shameless
identity thief off
the streets.

The Smithfield police ask that anyone who
can help identify the man in the Lowe's
surveillance photo call 934-2121.