Saturday, September 29, 2007

Gap Identity Theft from Stolen Laptop Exposes 800,000 Job Applicants

From the when will companies ever learn file, 800,000
job applicants from the Gap affiliated stores became
the latest identity theft victims due to a stolen laptop
containing unencrypted personal data.

Gap Identity Theft from Stolen Laptop Exposes 800000 Job Applicants

According to a Los Angeles Times report released yesterday:

"The laptop stored Social Security numbers and other data
from people who applied online and by phone from July 2006
to June 2007 for jobs at Gap, Old Navy, Banana Republic and
Outlet stores.

The laptop in the Gap case was lifted from the offices of a
third-party vendor that manages job applicant data for the
San Francisco-based clothier. Gap would not provide the
vendor's name or details of the theft."

Evidently the 3rd party vendor kept the data unencrypted in
violation of the Gap's agreement and as a result has opened
the Gap to liability to all those 800,000 innocent consumers
becoming identity theft victims.

"Gap is notifying applicants and offering a year of
credit monitoring services with fraud resolution

So, our tip for today is if you or anyone you know of who
applied for employment during the time period of 07/2006 -
06/2007 for any of the following Gap affiliated branded
retailers within the U.S.A., Puerto Rico, & Canada:

  • Gap
  • Old Navy
  • Banana Republic & outlets

Contact the Gap immediately to get more details on your free
credit monitoring offer. Their toll free contact number is

Finally, due to the sensitive data which was stolen, make sure
to tell a friend about this important new development as the
usual notification method (USPS mail) allows plenty of time for
an identity thief to open up bogus credit accounts during
this weekend to ruin the unsuspecting victim's credit.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Dad Steals Son's Identity to Buy A Cadillac

In another sad incident of a father committing
identity theft against his own son, a New York
state man has been arrested after attempting
to secure an auto loan with the son's social
security number (ssn).

According to the UPI story:

"The father, Christopher Hendrickson of East
Islip, N.Y., was arrested and charged with
first-degree identity theft, police said.

Investigators told Newsday Hendrickson used
his own name, but lifted his son's Social
Security number and used an altered date of
birth to apply for a loan for the 2004
Cadillac CTS he bought in March."

Proving that identity theft criminals
typically do not limit themselves to
only a single act, the story further
points out how shameless this father
turned out to be:

"Hendrickson was being investigated in an
unrelated identity theft case when law
enforcement officials uncovered the new
incident involving his son, police said."

So, our tip for today is for anyone who
has "shady" family members or associates.
Guard well your personal identity and
credit information.

Lock up your confidential information
and shred any bank or credit card
statements immediately after
inspecting for incorrect balances
fraudulent transactions.

Finally, since most identity theft criminals
are habitual thieves, get your own silent
defense system by enrolling for credit
monitoring and periodic background
self checks of your public information
profile (pip).

Finally, as an added bit of preventative
identity theft protection - tell your friends
and shady relatives about your identity
theft secrets you are actively using so they
too will think twice about identity theft.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Million Dollar Jamaican Identity Theft

A man is accused of identity theft after withdrawing
over $1,000,000 from a Jamaican credit union and
then took out a $800,000 loan using just a driver's
license all of which happened in only 2 months.

According to the Jamaica Observer,

The accused, 27-year-old Damion Deer
of no fixed address, has been charged
with several counts of forgery, uttering
forged document, obtaining money by
means of forged documents, attempting
to obtain money by mean of forged documents
and conspiracy to defraud.

So, our tip for today is for any consumers who still believe identity
theft is something that only happens to other people. Guard well
your savings. Make sure to get your bank or credit union to put
in place "stop loss" amounts which will require more rigorous
background checks prior to major withdrawals.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Trans Union Voluntarily Offers Credit Freeze Nationwide

In a surprisingly good development for consumers, Trans Union
became the first of the three major credit bureaus to offer credit
freezing of your consumer credit profile across all 50 states and
District of Columbia.

According to the story as originally reported by the Washington Post:

At present, at least 39 states and the District of
Columbia allow consumers to freeze their credit files,
but many of those laws do not take effect until 2008
or 2009.

TransUnion would be the first bureau to
voluntarily offer freezes to consumers in all
50 states (and D.C.).

So, our tip for today is to run, don't walk to your
nearest phone or computer to contact Trans Union
to get your credit file frozen.

This is one of the best identity theft prevention
tools you can deploy in your fight against credit

Make sure to tell your friends and associates
about this important new development.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Ameritrade Client Data for 6 Million Stolen

This past Friday, online brokerage firm
Ameritrade announced the contact data
for 6,300,000 clients had been stolen when
hackers breached the company's database.

According to the Kansas City Star:

"Online brokerage TD Ameritrade Holding Corp.
said Friday that one of its databases was
hacked and contact information for its more
than 6.3 million customers was stolen.

A spokeswoman for the Omaha-based company
said more sensitive information in the
same database, including Social Security
numbers and account numbers, did not
appear to have been taken."

Possibly, this time Ameritrade only lost contact information such as
email addresses.

But given their past history, who's to insure the hackers may
not have breached the more sensitive information such as
social security numbers ( ssn) in an earlier attempt which
may have gone un-noticed or even unreported?

So, our tip for today is to not rely on "for profit" organizations
to protect your precious identity and credit profiles.

Get your own protection and be safe in knowing you are
proactively insuring your risk of identity theft has been
lessened by adopting preventative measures such as
credit monitoring
, opting out of credit solicitations,
& eliminating paper statements via USPS mail.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Identity Thief Attempts to Hide from Murder

In New York state, a man who had attempted
to hide his true identity by using another,
gets convicted for 300 years in prison in
the murder of a policemen.

According to Newsday, the murderer turned
identity theft criminal's story took a
strange turn:

"...he was arrested for the slaying of
New Hartford Police Officer Joseph Corr
after a million-dollar jewelry store
robbery in February 2006.

Davis was convicted in April of second-
degree murder under Healy's name. It was
not until just before sentencing that
authorities learned his true identity.

The real Healy reported his personal
information stolen in late 2005."

To illustrate how easy it is for dangerous
criminals to use someone else's legitimate
identity in avoiding an arrest, the story

"Several police witnesses testified that
Davis signed John Healy's name to several
fingerprint cards when his arrest was being
processed. Other witnesses recalled finding
two counterfeit driver's licenses in Davis'
pocket that indicated he was John Healy.

Hameline said it was also important to clear
the name of the real John Healy."
This story is one very crucial reminder to us all
of just how important it is to understand the dangers
of identity theft extend far beyond merely credit.

So, our tip for today is to guard against the potential
for false arrest and imprisonment due to the misdeeds
of an identity theft.

Get your public information profile checked out to insure
you have not already fallen victim to an identity thief
with an arrest in your name.

Failing to do so, could cost you your freedom or job
if not both.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Identity Theft Using P2P Network

A Seattle man was arrested Wednesday on charges
that he illegally downloaded peoples' tax returns,
student aid applications and credit card numbers
through the use of popular peer to peer networks
used for file and music sharing.

According to the Seattle Post Intelligencer:

"The feds accuse Gregory Kopiloff, 35,
of using the information to steal people's
identities, then buying tens of thousands
of dollars in such electronics as laptops,
iPods and cell phones that he sold for
50 cents on the dollars.

Kopiloff is believed to be the first
person in the nation to be arrested
for using peer-to-peer software for
the purposes of identity theft."

The story continues with how he
was able to easily commit identity
theft against other people using their
own computers:

"In peer-to-peer file sharing, people
download software allowing them to
connect to networks such as LimeWire,
Kazaa, Soulseek, eMule and Morpheus,
which gives them access to every other
laptop or PC that is part of those networks.

When people log in to these networks, they
type in a search term for the music they want,
such as Bright Eyes or Madonna.

But instead of typing in Madonna, Kopiloff
would type in tax return or credit report,
authorities said."

Relating to an original story we first published
last year regarding the dangers of using
LimeWire, a similar warning has arisen in
this latest espisode involving popular P2P
file sharing software:

"People engaged in peer-to-peer file sharing
don't realize what they are sharing is their
entire hard drive."

"This is the new world of identity
theft," he said.

"There are tens of thousands of
individuals making a living doing
this kind of work."

So, our tip for today is directed towards
those parents of children or even any
unsuspecting adults who are unware
of the potential identity theft which
can arise from using P2P file sharing

Make sure to either complete delete
and disable the P2P software altogether
from your personal computer -or- store
any confidential data on a separate hard
drive which is not online altogether.

To not do so, is to open yourself up to
identity theft and financial fraud.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Identity Theft of Blind Aunt by Nephew

A blind New York state woman became the unsuspecting victim
of her nephew's identity theft against her. Fortunately,
he was arrested this past Tuesday for allegedly stealing
thousands of dollars in fraudulent credit and atm card

"According to, the identity thief nephew stole
more than $6,000 in unauthorized credit card charges and
more than $2,000 unauthorized ATM withdrawals were made
without her knowledge, police said.

After a friend helped Pajkowski's aunt review her records,
she realized someone had been making unauthorized
from her bank account as well as charges
to her Chase credit card.

She told police in July, initiating an investigation."

So, our tip for today is to guard well your financial
well being. Make sure to protect your elderly relatives
from fraud which unfortunately comes all too frequently now
from other relatives or other trusted individuals known by
the identity theft victims.

Finally, an important reminder to check for - not all identity theft
fraud is strictly limited to credit. Identity theft criminals know
most unsuspecting victims do not know their right to inspect their
public records.

Those who do, however, find their public records identity is even
more scattered than with credit data, typically residing across over
400 unique repositories.

To ease the heavy burden of attempting to quickly find that identity
thief who has either used your name to avoid an arrest warrant or
to get free medical insurance coverage, or even get a new job - you
need an edge.

An edge which the major credit bureaus and banks were never
designed to provide you.

Get your public information profile checked out at least twice per
year to insure you will not be the very next victim to identity theft
which can cost you your job or even send you to jail for someone
else's misdeeds using your name.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Pfizer Pharma Hit by Identity Theft for 3rd Time

The third data breach in the past three months
at Pfizer Inc. came to light Tuesday, leading
state Attorney General Richard Blumenthal to
call for a criminal investigation of the incidents,
the latest of which exposed an estimated 34,000
innocent people to potential identity theft.

With the 3rd data breach disclosed this past Tuesday
within the past three months at Pfizer, has prompted the
Connecticut Attorney General to call for a criminal

Pfizer Pharma Hit by Identity Theft for 3rd Time

According to the, an estimated
people (5,000 in Connecticut) have
been exposed by the internal security breach
to potential identity theft.

“This is part of a pattern that is unacceptable
and which the company should find intolerable,”
Blumenthal said in a phone interview Tuesday.

Current and former Pfizer employees, as well
as health-care workers and other individuals,
were affected by the breach, which occurred
late last year when a Pfizer employee “wrongfully
removed copies of confidential information from a
Pfizer computer system,” according to a letter
sent by Pfizer to Blumenthal.

What one can find especially disturbing about
Pfizer losing sensitive consumer data for a
third time in as many months, is there
appears to be no assurances it will not yet
happen again.

As the story continues:

“One of the very disturbing aspects of the
third breach is that it appears to be a
purposeful invasion of the securities safeguards,”
Blumenthal said. “That really demands a more
complete explanation from the company.”

A former Pfizer senior manager, made an even
more alarming accusation suggesting there are
inadequate security controls to prevent disgruntled
staff members from stealing sensitive employee

“The clowns at Pfizer clearly have no way of
keeping confidential data safe,” commented
Dr. Peter Rost, a former Pfizer vice president.

While we can not judge the merit of that accusation,
the unprecedented proximity of these 3 data breaches
by internal staff is alarming - especially when you
consider the type of data reported stolen:

Pfizer said in its letter, written by company attorney
Bernard Nash, that it believes the breach involved the
names and Social Security numbers
(or Taxpayer Identification numbers) of all people affected.

In some cases, it said, home addresses, home and/or
cell phone numbers, fax numbers, e-mail addresses,
credit card numbers, bank account numbers, passport
numbers, driver's license numbers, military identification
numbers, birth dates, signatures and reasons for
termination of employment were exposed as well."

This is very sensitive consumer data and represents
the type most prized by identity theft criminals
world wide.

So, our tip for today is if you are a Pfizer employee
or spouse of one - both past and present - contact
the company immediately for your Pfizer for details
on how they've made provisions for you to get
$50,000 of identity theft insurance with no
as well as credit monitoring.

But, even more importantly, contact the three major
credit bureaus to get an immediate fraud alert
placed on your credit file - if not an outright credit
depending on your eligibility which varies by
your state of residence.

Finally, due to the very serious nature of these three
data breaches, please tell a friend or an associate of
this crucial warning.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Identity Theft of Connecticut Revenue Services Employees Data

Another stolen laptop containing unencrypted consumer data
has lead to the Department of Revenue Services (DRS) being
forced to disclose last week that
106,000 Connecticut
employees have been exposed to potential identity theft.

The stolen laptop contained taxpayer names and Social
Security Numbers (SSN).

According to the DRS website:

“Steps are being taken to protect Connecticut
residents from individuals who may try to use
this personal information in criminal ways,”
DRS Commissioner Pam Law said.

“In the meantime, we urge all state residents to
sign up for free identity theft prevention services
to ensure their personal information is safe from

So, our tip for today is directed to any Connecticut
D.R.S. employees.

Check out, using the official state website, your
personal information was part of those 106,000

But, since the state is notifying by slow USPS mail
those who are suspected of being potential identity theft
victims, let your friends and associates know of this
important warning.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Lost Laptop Exposes 10,000 Maryland Employees to Identity Theft

Another stolen laptop incident has unnecessarily exposed
innocent consumers to identity theft. In this latest incident,
involving unencrypted consumer data, the Maryland
Department of the Environment's 10,000 employees
were negatively impacted.

According to the Baltimore Sun:

A Maryland Department of the Environment
laptop computer stolen from an employee's
car last weekend held personal information,
including Social Security numbers (SSN),
for 10,000 residents registered with one of
four state boards.

The computer included names, addresses
and phone numbers of members of the boards
of well drillers, environmental sanitarians,
waterworks and septic inspectors.

So, our tip for today is for any employees
or spouses of those impacted. Contact the
web site of the Maryland Department of the
Environment (MDE) for more information.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Indiana Hoosiers Get Credit Freeze

A new credit freeze law has just taken effect for Indiana
residents which interestingly differs from the other 40
similar state laws.

According to the Tribune Star, Indiana residents do not
have to pay credit reporting bureaus to freeze their

Indiana’s law is different from most because
the credit reporting companies are not permitted
to charge Hoosiers for credit freezes or for lifting
the freezes. Many states allow the companies to
charge between $5 and $10 for these services.

It is a “strong law that doesn’t cost
consumers anything”

So, our tip for today is for any Indiana resident.
Take advantage of this important and free new
right for you to significantly reduce your potential
for identity theft and credit fraud.

Contact the three major credit bureaus in writing
to get your free credit freeze within 5 days.

Equifax Security Freeze
P.O. Box 105788
Atlanta, GA 30348

Experian Security Freeze
P.O. Box 9554
Allen, TX 75013

TransUnion Security Freeze
P.O. Box 6790
Fullerton, CA 92834-6790

Finally, make sure to tell your
friends and associates of this
important new law designed
to reduce the potential for
identity theft.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Texas Get Credit Freeze Identity Theft Protection

An important new law has taken effect for
Texas residents this past Saturday by
providing the right to "freeze" their credit
report without needing a police report.

As first reported by The Dallas Morning News,
Texans now join the list of several dozen other
states which already have credit freeze laws
available to their citizens to seen proactive
protection against identity theft:

People should be allowed to freeze their
credit files as soon as they discover
that their personal information has
been exposed.

"It's like putting your credit report
in a safe deposit box for which you and
the credit reporting agency has keys."

So, our tip for today is for all residents
of the state of Texas. Contact the 3
major credit reporting bureaus in
writing to request your personal
credit freeze.

Also, make sure to tell your friends and
family members residing within Texas of this
important new method to fight personal
identity theft.