Monday, June 08, 2009

$1.4 million Identity Theft Fraud Ring Recruited Bank Employees

In a sign of the financial services industry turmoil has created
fertile ground for identity theft by insiders, a major identity
theft fraud ring was recently uncovered that stole over $1.4
million with the aid of tellers in at least 3 major banks.

According to the New York County District Attorney, the
identity theft criminals used the stolen personal information
to mostly create counterfeit checks in the thousands.

By fraudulently cashing and depositing the
counterfeit checks, the defendants stole over
$1.4 million from one bank’s accounts and
substantial additional sums from other banks.

"Victims of this scam included private individuals,
corporations, religious institutions, hospitals, and
schools, as well as city and state government agencies."

While every major retail bank in Manhattan was targeted,
the following banks were disclosed in the recent indictment
as part of an on-going investigation:

  • JP Morgan Chase
  • TD/Commerce
  • Wachovia
  • HSBC

The fraud ring would not have been as successful in their identity theft
fraund operation without the aid of bank staff.

"These employees, often tellers, had access both to the
banks’ computer systems and to large numbers of valid
checks processed during legitimate customer transactions.

In return for cash payments, the recruited tellers
photocopied valid customer checks and printed out
copies of customer profiles, which contained the
customers’ names, addresses, social security
numbers, bank account numbers and account balances."

Serious personal information used in a very serious identity
theft fraud crime - one which may very well still yet to be
fully uncovered as the investigation continues possibly
involving these additional financial institutions:

Some of the other financial institutions affected by this
group’s criminal activities are

  1. Bank of America
  2. Citibank, Capitol
  3. One Bank
  4. Washington Mutual Bank
  5. EAB Bank
  6. Banco Popular
  7. Amalgamated Bank
  8. M & T Bank
  9. Sovereign Bank
  10. First National Bank
  11. United Bank
  12. Citizens Bank
  13. Fleet Bank

With the scale and scope of this latest insider fueled identity theft
fraud, this case has the opportunity to become of one of the the
largest in 2009.

So, our tip for today is to take action by not waiting for the identity
theft criminals and the banks to notify you of your financial future
being ruined.

Check out your bank statements if you transact with any of the
financial institutions listed above. Also, for the on-going prevention
of identity theft, it would be wise to institute automatic credit
monitoring on all of your major banking and credit accounts.

Finally, as your social security number (ssn) can be used in
other major forms of fraud such as medical identity theft and
arrest warrant scams both of which can put you in jail - get
your public information profile (pip) to review for these very
serious forms of identity theft that no major credit bureau
report was ever designed to catch.