Saturday, August 09, 2008

Feds Indict 11 in Biggest Ever Identity Theft Case

As a follow up to our original 2007 story on
the Identity "Theft to the Maxx" large scale
data breach effecting 40 million consumers,
a federal court this past week charged a fraud
gang responsible for data breaches involving
nine major retailers.

 Feds Indict 11 in Biggest Ever Identity Theft Case

11 people, including even a confidential informant
working for the Secret Service, were charged in
connection with a case involving illegally tapping
into the wireless payment processing systems
of the following retail outlets:

  • TJX (TJ Max)
  • OfficeMax
  • Boston Market
  • Barnes & Noble
  • Sport's Authority
  • DSW
  • Forever 21
  • BJ's Wholesale Club

Besides tapping into the wireless networks of
these major retailers, the thieves were successful
in setting up programs that captured card numbers,
passwords and account information from a massive
amount of unsuspecting consumers.

While TJX admitted to 45 million consumers were
negatively impacted from the two year period
the identity thieves had unauthorized access to
their payment processing data, court documents
revealed the real estimate was closer to 100
million consumers confidential data was compromised
based on depositions by Visa and Mastercard.

The ring leader, a Miami man who was also the
confidential informant for the Secret Service,
turned out to be a double agent who had been
providing criminals information about ongoing
investigations and tipping off associates.

With the massive amount of credit account
access information stolen and provided to
worldwide identity thieves, this case involving
TJX has a big impact in our personal identity
and financial safety.

So, our tip for today is contact your Visa or
Mastercard issuer and request a replacement
account number as well as the capability to
have "alias" number issuance for when you
conduct business online.

Additionally, make sure you select a credit
monitoring service to alert you to any
unauthorized transactions and/or over a
certain threshold amount to keep the chances
of identity theft credit fraud from damaging
your financial future.

Finally, be a good friend and share this tip
with them so they too can fight back against
identity theft