Thursday, October 25, 2007

Ameriquest Mortgage Exposes Credit Reports and SSN to Identity Thieves

With this summer's melt down of the sub-prime mortgage
industry, Ameriquest was found to have dumped 40 boxes
worth of their customer's highly confidential credit information
into the trash dumpsters near a Atlanta area apartment complex.

For would be identity thieves, it just doesn't get any easier than
this example to steal the identities of a countless number of
unsuspecting victims.

Ameriquest Mortgage Exposes Credit Information By Id Theft Secrets Blog

According to the Wall Street Journal this mortgage industry
problem could be much worse than suspected when similar
incidents have been reported in Hawaii and Indiana:

"Over three days, he peered into 40 Dumpsters behind
loan branches and title companies that handle mortgage

In nearly half -- 18 -- he discovered sensitive information
about borrowers."

You could see their complete financial lives on paper,
dating back 20, 30, 40 years," he said. Among the finds
inside the mortgage files: a letter from one borrower's
counselor saying he was doing well in alcohol rehab."

Fortunately, though, at least in the Atlanta case a good samaritan
retrieved all of the boxes and turned them over to local police for

So, our tip for today is to assume that most companies,
especially those going through financial distress and
employee turnover, are prime suspects to loose your
confidential personal data.

Arm yourself by enrolling in credit monitoring as well
as to get your non-credit (but publicly available) personal
data secured.

Because, you never may know who can easily retrieve
your credit records or social security number (ssn) from
the trash someplace and ruin your financial future.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Microsoft Facebook Users Identity Theft Risk

Although with this week's big acquisition move by Microsoft,
Facebook users are still facing an even larger latent identity
theft potential.

In a recent example of how providing just a few personal
details on your Facebook page can lead to identity
a consumer watchdog group was able to secure enough
personal information from 35 out of 100 randomly contacted
people to enable opening up new credit accounts.

According to RTEBusiness:

"Despite knowing nothing about the person, 35 of those
contacted replied immediately - giving "Amba" and the
Watchdog team access to any personal details they
shared on the site.

One of them was Scott Gould, 23, from Devon.

His Facebook entry contained his date of birth
and home town. The team used these clues to
find more information about Scott on other
publicly available internet sites.

They were then able to open an online bank
account in his name and successfully apply
for a credit card."

A very sobering thought for any parents out
there who may have teen age kids as Facebook

So, our tip for today is to guard your kids
online information sharing practices. Let your
kids know anything they share about themselves
can lead to identity theft or worse.

As a result, its always a good idea to institute
credit & public profile monitoring on you and
your family's personal identities.

Finally, make sure to tell your friends or associates
about this important new development in identity theft

Friday, October 19, 2007

Identity Theft Gone Dog Wild

In a uniquely odd new way for identity theft
to be perpetrated, an 84 year old New York woman,
was scammed for at least $50,000 in fraudulent ATM
credit transactions.

It seems the owner of an dog walker service, who
had befriended the victim through the victim's
daughter, used the relationship to live rent free
and to steal from his victim to support a lifestyle
which also included evidence of casino activity.

According to the North County Gazette:

"From May 2007 to August 2007, he used a
Chase/VISA debit card in the victim’s name
and allegedly stole $36,618 from the victim’s
personal Chase bank account. Prosecutors said
Natale stole $14,660 from the victim’s Citibank

On 14 separate occasions, Natale allegedly either
wrote himself checks using her Citibank checkbook
or wrote checks to cash. He allegedly forged and
endorsed her name on all the checks and either
cashed or deposited them into his own bank account."

This identity thief violated the trust of a hospital,
elderly client to pursue his criminal intent.

Fortunately, though, this identity theft scam artist
was caught after the victim's noticed family
suspicious ATM withdrawals and
contacted law enforcement.

So, our tip for today is for anyone who has elderly
relatives that have suddenly met a person who's
all to willing to handle the mail and pay
bills on
behalf of their intended victim.

Be wary of any attempts to gain access to ATM
card passwords or joint access to credit cards.
Additionally, make sure you get your elderly
relative enrolled in fraud monitoring
for their banking and credit accounts.

Finally, make sure to tell a friend about this
unusual new way identity theft can dog a relative.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Corporate Identity Thief Raises The Stakes In Business Fraud

In a sign of identity theft maturing as a crime, the latest evidence
points to an alarming new level of fraudulent behavior.

It seems, in Southern California, a man stands accused of committing
$450,000 in identity theft in scamming at least 8 companies for their
goods and services.

According to the O.C. Register:

"Armed with a fake identification, Brown, 40, allegedly
filed paperwork to open corporations and rented offices.

He then took out corporate lines of credit from banks or
corporate credit cards and ran up hundreds of thousands
of dollars in debt. The goods, such as computers from
Hewlett-Packard or office furniture from Home Depot,
would be shipped to the offices, said Orange County
prosecutor Mark Sevigny. Authorities suspect Brown
sold the goods."

In a sign this evolved form of identity theft is a foreboding new
development, the story continues....

"It's a phenomenon that is a reasonably new development..."

"Why steal someone's identity when in a single stroke,
you can take a company down for $50,000 or $100,000?"

"It involves a sophisticated criminal who is hard to
track down"

Along the path towards eventually being apprehended by authorities,
this identity thief even caused a Northern California golf business
to close shop. It appears the identity thief ran up over $100,000
in fraudulent bills due payable to the real business owner.

So, our tip for today is for those business owners out there who think
identity theft only happens to hapless individuals who lose their check

Get you and your company protected with identity theft insurance.
It is also a good idea to also get your personal profile scrutinized for
any signs an identity thief may have already used your good name
to file bogus company incoporation paper work.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Recent Identity Theft Survey Reveals More Americans Fear Identity Theft

In a recent poll sponsored by the office super store
giant, Staples, over 7 out of 10 Americans indicated
an increased fear of identity theft from just two
years ago.

According to the Staples web site:

"A national survey conducted by Staples, Inc.
(NASDAQ: SPLS) reveals that 72 percent of
Americans are more concerned about identity
theft today than two years ago, 52 percent
are unsure they are doing enough to protect
their identities, and 43 percent wish they
had more information on how to protect

The survey also shows only 51 percent of
Americans are shredding junk mail, such as
credit card offers (an unsuspected source
of identity theft), and 43 percent of
shredder owners surveyed use strip-cut
shredders, which do not protect personal
information from identity thieves as well
as cross-cut shredders."

We, agree wholeheartedly, using a cross
cut shredder is one of the most cost effective
measures you can deploy against would be
identity thieves getting your bank or credit
card statements to commit fraud in your

So, our tip for today is to invest in a shredder
which most often times will cost less than
most people often spend on
entertainment and
dining out in a
typical month.

This simple step, however, will pay back even
greater dividends in you avoiding the thousands
of dollars involved in a typical case of identity
theft and credit fraud.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Vet's Burial Plot Stolen by Identity Thief

In what has to be the final insult to one's life here on earth,
a Vietnam veteran's burial plot was discovered already
occupied by an identity thief.

According to the News Day:

"Calverton officials told Owens that they already had
the body of a veteran with the same name, birth date
and Social Security number in section 24A, site '5.

That Willie Hayes died Nov. 8, 2003 - but it was
unclear who he was or how he acquired the other
Willie Hayes' identity and burial honors."

Later on in this story, the family was able to successfully
prove the real Willie Hayes was in fact eligible to rest in
peace with honor and got his veteran's burial plot.

So, our tip for today is for anyone who has relatives that
served in our nation's armed forces and by right deserves
to be buried with honor in our national cemetaries.

Get your profile checked out to make sure an identity
thief has not stolen your relatives burial rights.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Experian to Offer File Freeze to Consumers Nationwide

As a follow on to our most recent articles
involving Trans Union and Equifax, Experian
announced this past Thursday it too will now
to freeze credit reports to consumers nation

According to the Experian web site:

"Beginning Nov. 1, Experian will allow any
consumer across all 50 states, the District
of Columbia and U.S. Territories to place a
freeze on their credit report. A credit file
freeze prevents new creditors from accessing
the credit file without the consumer’s consent."

Experian also disclosed, while they will offer
credit freezes nationwide, this does not inhibit
consumers from taking advantage of previous
services they offer to deter identity theft fraud.

"Experian will continue to offer the placement
of fraud security alerts on a credit file for
consumers that may be victims of identify theft
at no charge."

So, our tip for today is if you haven't already
taken advantage of freezing your credit
, do so immediately.

Call Experian at this number below:

1-888-EXPERIAN (397-3742)

This time of year marks the increase of the
shopping catalogue mailing season - a time
when identity thieves can prey on innocent
consumers whose mail can easily be stolen.

Mail, in the form of shopping catalogs containing
your full name, address, & account numbers
which can be easily abused by an identity thief to
fraudulently purchase goods using your name
and credit.

Finally, make sure to tell a friend or co-worker
about this important new announcement from

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Identity Theft Victim Discovery Last for Months

Most identity theft victims time to actually discover this
crime of fraud has been committed against them falls into
two intervals. Disturbingly, over 40% of the victims do
not discover identity theft until much later than one would

According to the latest statistics released by the F.T.C.,
the chart above summarizes the distribution of the typical
time required for consumers to discover they have become
an identity theft victim.

Conclusion - you may stand a 4 in 10 chance that identity
theft has already been committed against you from one
of the past high profile data security breaches.

So, our tip for today is to get your credit and background
profiles immediately. Also, you might also consider enrolling
in automatic credit monitoring which is now more commonly
available as an employee benefit or as an add-on option to your
banking accounts.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Id Theft Secrets Widget Buzz Dashboard Launches

Today, we introduce an important new tool for you
to fight back against identity theft. The Id Theft
Secrets blog now is also available on a easy to
use widget dashboard that you can simply place on
your web start page or even desktop.

Catch the latest buzz from Id Theft Secrets.