Thursday, October 12, 2006

Identity Theft All Stars Stopped by Special Task Force

Identity-Theft-All-Stars-Stopped-by-Special-Task-Force-audio post - click to play

In an age of rampant identity theft, we often learn
of many criminals who successfully beat the system.

However, a California task force has successfully
halted the operations of several highly productive
identity theft rings responsible for millions of
dollars in losses.

The task force, comprised of inter governmental agencies,
was formed to stem the tide of the most serious identity
theft cases. Cases which, over the past few years, have
evolved from simple identity theft to large scale
identity-theft rings where bank employees, civil servants
and mortgage brokers – people who are instilled with
trust – victimize their customers.

For you to to gain an insider's view behind how serious
identity theft rings operate and threaten your financial
safety, here's a few excerpts from many successful
operations recently busted by the crime task force:

Operation Paper or Plastic

Operation Paper or Plastic focused
on members of a widespread identity theft ring who
purchased tax refund checks and credit cards
had been stolen from the mail. The identity
theft ring, which allegedly was run by a Las Vegas,
Nevada man manufactured counterfeit identification
, which allowed members of the ring to cash the
tax refund checks and to use the stolen
credit cards
for merchandise and cash advances at

Operation Paper or Plastic resulted in 20 defendants
for allegedly causing more than $1 million in losses
over four years.

Operation French Fry

In this case, waiters at over 100 areas restaurants
are charged with "skimming" – or collecting encoded
information – from customers' Washington Mutual
and Wells Fargo Bank ATM cards. Other defendants
are charged with restriping their own ATM cards
with the stolen information and obtaining new PIN
numbers that allowed them to access the bank

More than 150 accounts were compromised by the ring,
which caused losses of more than $1 million.

Undisclosed Operation Name

A Huntington Beach man who advertised within the
Street Journal pretending to be a would be
attempting to locate businesses for sale used
information fraudulently gained from the businesses, as
well as personal information belonging to the owners, to
defraud banks and other lenders.

This identity thief would then open up fake business
, secure lines of credit under the business names,
and then illegally obtain merchandise and cash.

All told, this identity thief was responsible for more than
$1.5 million in losses.

Undisclosed Operation Name

This identity thief opened more than 70 credit
accounts, mostly under false names, and then used
the credit cards to take cash advances and transfer
funds among other credit cards and bank accounts.
This Santa Ana identity thief specialized in the
use of stolen Social Security numbers (ssn)
defraud lenders.

As a result this identity thief is facing up to 35
years in prison for his role in generating over
$700,000 in credit card losses.

Serious criminals, serious losses for consumers and
financial lenders. And in these few cases, out of
the thousands which take place across America each
month, a few well organized identity thieves have
been removed from threatening consumer safety.

But, you can be assured for every identity thief
stopped by the crime force there are countless
others still out there operating quietly and
effectively in destroying innocent American's
financial futures. Even more daunting are
the internationally based identity theft rings
which combine the use of locally based criminals
with a world wide internet reach to trade your
stolen information on fraud exchange web sites,
seemingly beyond the grasp of local or
law enforcement.

So, our tip for today is to help crime fighters
stop these sophisticated identity theft rings
from victimizing you. Get active credit and
bank monitoring so you will instantly know
when suspicious activity takes place in your

Special endnote:

One of our editors recieved (4) alerts to her
wireless phone within the past week as part of
a personal test to gauge the effectiveness of
her credit monitoring service.

It was no cause for alarm, however, as her
test coincided with her opening up a new
credit card account and then immediately
transferring the balance from an older
account she planned to close down.

Her test was designed to emulate the type
of common identity theft activity used today.

The three alerts she was automatically notified
about as planned were:

  • A credit file inquiry made by the new card company
  • A new credit card account opened in her name
  • A balance increase of $1,141 which triggered
  • A balance increase alert of 323%

The test was successful and just illustrates
had an identity thief, like the ones from
the crime rings above been stealing from
her, she would have instantly been notified
via text messages on her cell phone while
at work.

She would then have ample time to contact
her credit card or bank companies to file
a fraud alert and avoid the charge losses.

Identity theft prevention can work for you.

Final note, excerpts of today's post were provided
courtesy of the U.S. Attorney's office.


At 6:25 AM, Anonymous RiaShw said...

100 diners at restaurants were "skimmed" by waiters masquerading not as identity theft artists!

I'm paying cash from now on.

You never know who you can trust anymore.

Is there any other way to beat these guys?

At 11:48 AM, Blogger agent99 said...

riashw asked:

"Is there any other way to beat these guys?"

Two things immediately come to mind specifically related to this "skimming" identity theft problem with dishonest restaurant employees:

1) Do not use your bank ATM card which also doubles as a credit card.

2) Use a low credit limit card strictly for dining out transactions but make sure it also has automatic account monitoring to alert you instantly when suspicious actity takes place

3) Call ahead and request to speak to the manager of the restaurant to inquire if they require their staff to be "bondable" in light of the "insider" based identity theft crime wave.

At 11:10 PM, Anonymous Plastic Cards said...

Thanks for sharing the useful information about to the task force of California.I really don,t know about it.


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