Archive for August, 2012

Florida woman accused in rash of identity theft crimes in Milford

Friday, August 31st, 2012







Article source: http://nhregister.com/articles/2012/08/30/news/milford/doc503f827cbfd0a420496326.txt

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Protect your business from identity theft

Friday, August 31st, 2012

On Aug. 8, we received a visit from Secretary of State Scott Gessler.

It was unfortunate that more business owners did not take advantage of his visit. He presented us with changes his office has already implemented regarding identity theft, some changes yet to come and tips on how you can best protect your business.

Just as personal identity theft has seen an enormous increase, business identity theft has suffered the same. If that doesn’t get your attention, just imagine your business being hacked to the tune of $60,000-$80,000 per occurrence. Is this amount something your business can afford?

The Colorado Secretary of State’s office is the first to roll out password protection for registration of your business. There are many amenities and benefits to be had by utilizing the state’s website. For example, if you continue to register your business in a paper mode, you are paying somewhere around $100 per year. If you register and renew online, you pay only $10. You can register to vote online, change your personal and professional information online and remove information as long as you have a valid driver’s license. With the improvement of the website of Office of the Secretary of State, many answers to your questions can be found online — instead of you calling the office and waiting and waiting. The call volume, though, has decreased from 110,000 calls per year in 2010 to about 72,000 calls last year.

Here is a synopsis of some of the steps you should enact in protection of your business. For more information or steps, follow the Tools for Business Success link from the Chamber website, www.pagosaspringschamber.com. From the Tools for Business Success site, go to the “You May Need to Know” link for more detailed Business Identity Theft information.

Protect your business on file with the state office by signing up for e-mail notification about changes to your business record at www.sos.state.co.us/biz/businessFunctionsEmailNotification.doc and sign up for secure business filing. File any changes to your business information in a timely fashion — change of name, address and especially any changes for the registered agent. Periodically check your information on the state website. If you receive any unusual calls regarding ordering product, billing information or other suspect calls, contact the secretary of state’s office and report potential fraud immediately. For business owners no longer doing business, remove your business from the state website, but do not unsubscribe from the e-mail notifications. In this way, you can track if someone tries to use your old business to set up a “fake” business and conduct unauthorized business activity under your name.

Other safe business practices include creating and protecting passwords for business and bank accounts. Make sure the passwords are safe.

Shred confidential or “sensitive” material. There is a company in Durango that will come to Pagosa if you have a large quantity of material to shred.

Do not share sensitive information through e-mails. If you must share this information, make sure the website is secure by looking for “https” in the website address.

Store personnel files, tax records and other sensitive information in a secure location with minimal access.

These are just a few tips to help you protect one of your most major assets — your business. Take an hour and see if you are protecting your business to the best of your ability. Visit the state website and the Tools for Business Success on the Chamber’s website to get more information about business protection.

Tickets to ColorFest

There are only two weeks left to get your tickets for the Passport to Pagosa Wine and Food Festival and the Bands, Brews, Etc. blowout.

This year’s festival will be a showcase for amazing food being prepared by some of Pagosa’s best restaurants. Former food winners will be back, including Alley House Grille, Plaza Grille, Nello’s and the Pines Restaurant. We also have some newcomers to the event: Coyote Moon, the Back Room Wine Bar and First Crush.

The Passport to Pagosa Wine and Food Festival will take place Friday, Sept. 7, from 6-9 p.m. The countries and areas represented this year at the wine tasting are Australia, Italy and, of course, the West Coast — California, Washington and Oregon. Bob Hemenger will be performing that evening, making the Passport to Pagosa one of the major fall events in Pagosa.

Tickets can be purchased online or at the Chamber for $40 in advance (until about 3 p.m. the day of the festival) and $45 at the gate.

Then, on Saturday, Sept. 8, beginning at noon, there will be Kiddie Karaoke followed by the Bands, Brews, Etc. blowout with the Getbacks and JJ Davids Blues Band. Microbreweries from around the region will open their booths at 2 p.m. and will serve until 7 p.m. There will be food vendors, activities for the kids and wine by the glass. These activities will continue until the hot air balloons take to the field for the annual Balloon Glow. This is always a magical event and a great photo opportunity. Tickets for Bands, Brews are also available online or at the Chamber for $5 for general admission and $15 for the beer tasting. Both of these events will take place rain or shine under the big tent on the athletic field in Town Park.

On Saturday morning, Sept. 8, the balloons will ascend from the downtown area. On Sunday, Sept. 9, the balloons will ascend from the west side. Ascensions begin at about 8 a.m. after a pilot meeting that begins at 7 a.m. See next week’s PREVIEW for further details, but don’t wait to get your tickets.

Chamber board

It is time to begin making nominations for the 2013 Chamber Board of Directors. A total of six candidates will be selected to run for three open positions. If you are interested in submitting your name, would like more information about serving on the Chamber board or would like to receive the paperwork to submit your name in the nomination process, stop by the Chamber of Commerce. Nomination forms will also be available on the Chamber website at www.pagosaspringschamber.com.

Business news

Have you logged onto your Chamber account? Do you know your user name and password or do you need a new one? As we will be offering online voting this year for the Chamber Board of Directors, this is one facet of your account that you must know if you would like to vote online. If you want to stop in and vote in person, then you won’t need your log-in information. But, obtaining your user name and password is beneficial since you can change your business information and gain access to your Chamber account at any time. If you want to acquire your log-in information, contact Jan Santopietro, membership coordinator, at 264-2360.

We thank all our renewing members this week: the Bear Creek Saloon Grill, Lantern Dancer Gallery and Gift Shop, Mud Shaver Car Wash, Exodus Shipping, the Pinewood Inn, Wolf Creek Run Motor Coach Resort and the Durango Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad.

We welcome all our visitors this Labor Day weekend. We hope everyone has a safe, fun time. We also wish good luck to the students as we begin another school year. Watch out for the kiddos next week!

Article source: http://www.pagosasun.com/archives/2012/08August/083012/chamber.html

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Authorities seek identity theft victims in Santa Cruz, Santa Clara counties

Friday, August 31st, 2012

Click photo to enlarge

SANTA CRUZ – Deputies are looking for more than 30 identity theft victims whose mail and other items were found in two cars, a Santa Cruz hotel room and a Scotts Valley apartment that authorities raided on Thursday.

Deputy April Skalland said a man and a woman have been arrested in the suspected identity theft ring, but 26-year-old Erin Boetzer of Santa Cruz is still on the lam.

As investigators unraveled the case in the past two weeks, they contacted about 30 identity theft victims. They hoped to reach more victims and distributed a list of initials and last names to the media on Thursday.

The victims are from Santa Cruz, Scotts Valley, Felton and other cities including Milpitas and Morgan Hill.

“Identity theft can just ruin your credit and it can take a long time to untangle the mess,” Skalland said.

“Try to be safe about it,” she said, by collecting mail as soon as possible and not leaving mail and valuables in parked cars.

Deputies said the suspects stole mail and other identity information, then opened credit cards in the victims’ names. They bought items online and had them shipped to a fourplex on the 100 block of Oak Lane in Scotts Valley.

The suspects then used the items or sold them for cash to buy drugs, Skalland said.

About 11 a.m. Thursday, deputies raided a ground-floor apartment in the building. No one was home, but deputies said they found heroin, stolen mail, stolen property and drug paraphernalia.

The case started

on Aug. 22 in Soquel.

A deputy was on the 2600 block of Orchard Street for an unrelated call when his K-9 alerted to possible drugs in a gray Mercedes and a white Ford Mustang parked near it, Skalland said. The deputy knocked on the door of a home near the cars and spotted Gomez and Boetzer run from the back door. He recognized them.

The Mustang, registered to Gomez, contained a loaded .22-caliber handgun, heroin packaged for sale, stolen checks, cash and stolen property. The Mercedes contained a .44-caliber handgun, and both cars had two-way radios, police scanners and burglary tools, Skalland said.

On Aug. 24, the investigation led deputies and the county’s Gang Task Force to a trailer park on Holm Road in Watsonville. They found Gomez and arrested him on suspicion of drug possession, a parole violation and weapons violations, according to authorities.

Later that night, deputies visited a hotel room in the Santa Cruz. No one was there, but they found stolen property and more stolen mail that they believed was related to the case.

Jovanna Moller, 26, arrived at the room and deputies questioned her. She had stolen computers and other stolen property in her vehicle and was arrested on suspicion of possession of stolen property, said Skalland.

Skalland said deputies were investigating whether there were more suspects in the case.

Moller was not in County Jail on Thursday, but Gomez remained locked up in lieu of $5,000 bail, according to jail records.

Skalland said she hoped residents would protect themselves from becoming victims of theft and identity theft. Residents on vacation should request a hold on their mail from the post office, deputies said.

“Just because you’re in a certain part of the county, don’t think you’re exempt from crime,” said Skalland.

The Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Office asks anyone with information to call 911, the investigations division at 454-2311 or the anonymous tip line at 454-5995. The case number is 12-07169.

———————————————————————————–

The Sheriff’s Office asked victims of identity thefts with these names to call investigations at 831-454-2311.

C. Concetta

A. Alheit

J. Monroy-Melgar

K. Malone

M. Randick

V. Abbott

M. Kornievsky

S. Kuo

T. Murphy

P. Murphy

J. Reymolds

Debraurick

J. Chagi

J. Pickart

D. Sanchez

M. Verar-Villalobos

R. Owens

E. Perez

M. Hughey

D. Quach

P. Nguyen

P. Harding

C. Rodriguez

L. Charles

R. Renteria

I. Vidrio

H. Pinckney

H. Haveman

G. Ruiz

S. Premo

Wildflower Cafe

P. Margos

O. Chinchilla

K. Hawkins

J. Marshall

J. Dmello

T. Rufo

M. Ake

E. Lewis

A. Penuelas

J. Walsh

Follow Sentinel reporter Stephen Baxter on Twitter: @sbaxter_sc.

Article source: http://www.mercurynews.com/breaking-news/ci_21437373/authorities-seek-identity-theft-victims-santa-cruz-santa

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COLUMN: Identity thieves targeting children

Friday, August 31st, 2012

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In past columns we have discussed the serious and continuing problem of identity theft.

This is a crime that can absolutely devastate its victim, not just financially but professionally and emotionally.

As with many crimes, rising awareness of the issue has led to better response and prevention of the problem. These thieves have responded to these measures by targeting new and even more vulnerable victims: children.

Since 2009 there have been 57,000 cases of child identity theft reported to the Federal Trade Commission.

There have been victims as young as 5 months old, as well as many cases of children whose identities were stolen before they were even born (these children were victimized by thieves who “adopted” their then unused Social Security numbers using different names and birth dates).

According to a report from the Carnegie Mellon CyLab, the “…primary drivers for such attacks are illegal immigration (e.g., to obtain false IDs for employment), organized crime (e.g., to engage in financial fraud) and friends and family (e.g., to circumvent bad credit ratings, etc.).”

The Department of Justice defines identity fraud as “all types of crime in which someone wrongfully obtains and uses another person’s personal data in some way that involves fraud or deception, typically for economic gain.”

The personal data that is most valuable to identity thieves are identifiers like your social security number, credit card or bank account numbers, drivers license numbers or any other information (either as a whole or in part) that can allow the criminal to obtain credit under your name.

The best defense against identity theft is to prevent the thieves from obtaining this information.

However, once the thief has obtained your personal information, many people find out that they have been victimized by either monitoring their credit history or by being turned down for credit they should have been granted. Continued…

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Shred all papers and delete computer files that include your child’s personal information when they are no longer needed.

Teach older children to keep their information private, and monitor their interactions on the computer, especially on social media sites.

Some warning signs that your child may have been victimized by identity theft include calls from collection agencies or from banks about accounts in your child’s name. You may also receive a letter from the IRS or the SSA asking you to confirm your child’s employment. After filing your tax return you may receive a notice from the IRS that your child’s Social Security number has already been used on another return, or that your child has failed to pay taxes, even though your child has no income.

If you think that your child may have been a victim of identity theft, you need to alert the three credit reporting bureaus immediately. Equifax can be reached at 1-800-525-6285, Experian at 1-888-397-3742 and TransUnion at: childtheft@transunion.com

Next you need to file an identity theft report with the FTC at 1-877-438-4338 or: www.ftc.gov

Once you receive a copy of that report, called the Identity Theft Affidavit, give a copy to your local police department and file a police report. More helpful information can be obtained at www.ftc.gov/idtheft.

Tim Bates is the Detective Commander of the Rome, New York Police Department. For questions or comments, he can be reached at (315) 339-7715 or via email at batest@romepd.com.

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In past columns we have discussed the serious and continuing problem of identity theft.

This is a crime that can absolutely devastate its victim, not just financially but professionally and emotionally.

As with many crimes, rising awareness of the issue has led to better response and prevention of the problem. These thieves have responded to these measures by targeting new and even more vulnerable victims: children.

Since 2009 there have been 57,000 cases of child identity theft reported to the Federal Trade Commission.

There have been victims as young as 5 months old, as well as many cases of children whose identities were stolen before they were even born (these children were victimized by thieves who “adopted” their then unused Social Security numbers using different names and birth dates).

According to a report from the Carnegie Mellon CyLab, the “…primary drivers for such attacks are illegal immigration (e.g., to obtain false IDs for employment), organized crime (e.g., to engage in financial fraud) and friends and family (e.g., to circumvent bad credit ratings, etc.).”

The Department of Justice defines identity fraud as “all types of crime in which someone wrongfully obtains and uses another person’s personal data in some way that involves fraud or deception, typically for economic gain.”

The personal data that is most valuable to identity thieves are identifiers like your social security number, credit card or bank account numbers, drivers license numbers or any other information (either as a whole or in part) that can allow the criminal to obtain credit under your name.

The best defense against identity theft is to prevent the thieves from obtaining this information.

However, once the thief has obtained your personal information, many people find out that they have been victimized by either monitoring their credit history or by being turned down for credit they should have been granted.

In the case of children, the thieves can go years if not decades undetected.

In fact, many children do not find out they have been victimized until they apply for student loans for college.

Sometimes the perpetrators are complete strangers to the victim, who have obtained their personal information for these fraudulent purposes.

They may do this by hacking into the family computer or by rummaging through the trash.

Other times, they may be family members or friends, or even employees of an institution that has access to their records such as schools or doctor’s offices.

You can help to prevent your child/ren from becoming victims of identity theft by adopting a few preventative measures.

Never share your child’s Social Security number unless you are sure you can trust the other party and that it is absolutely necessary.

Keep all documents that contain your child’s personal information such as their Social Security card and Birth Certificate safeguarded.

Never share personal information over the internet unless absolutely necessary; and then only if the website has a lock icon in the address bar and a URL that begins with “https”, and only use a computer with up to date firewall and anti-virus protection.

Read all of the privacy notices that are sent to you by your child’s school; The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) protects the privacy of student records and allows you to opt out of the release of your child’s information to third parties (this includes other families).

Shred all papers and delete computer files that include your child’s personal information when they are no longer needed.

Teach older children to keep their information private, and monitor their interactions on the computer, especially on social media sites.

Some warning signs that your child may have been victimized by identity theft include calls from collection agencies or from banks about accounts in your child’s name. You may also receive a letter from the IRS or the SSA asking you to confirm your child’s employment. After filing your tax return you may receive a notice from the IRS that your child’s Social Security number has already been used on another return, or that your child has failed to pay taxes, even though your child has no income.

If you think that your child may have been a victim of identity theft, you need to alert the three credit reporting bureaus immediately. Equifax can be reached at 1-800-525-6285, Experian at 1-888-397-3742 and TransUnion at: childtheft@transunion.com

Next you need to file an identity theft report with the FTC at 1-877-438-4338 or: www.ftc.gov

Once you receive a copy of that report, called the Identity Theft Affidavit, give a copy to your local police department and file a police report. More helpful information can be obtained at www.ftc.gov/idtheft.

Tim Bates is the Detective Commander of the Rome, New York Police Department. For questions or comments, he can be reached at (315) 339-7715 or via email at batest@romepd.com.

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Article source: http://www.romeobserver.com/articles/2012/08/30/opinion/doc503faa6b7cc59289771891.txt

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Meet Orange County’s Accused Identity Theft King: Hyun Su Moon

Friday, August 31st, 2012

Hyun Su Moon mug 2012.jpgMoon’s 2012 mug shotEither Orange County’s Hyun Su Moon suffers severe multiple personality disorders or is a serial crook embarrassing California’s Three Strikes laws.

Moon apparently can’t decide who he wants to be.

Is he Korean with a different name, Ji Su Moon?

Or is he a Vietnamese, Hoa Vinh Hoang?

Moon allegedly used those identities and after authorities found him in possession of a whopping 21 California driver’s licenses earlier this year a federal grand jury indicted the 29-year-old Fountain Valley man, according to court records.


The charge? Aggravated identity theft.

Though Moon claims he’s innocent, he’s stuck inside a cell at the Santa Ana Jail without bail.

That’s because he has a long rap sheet:

–In 2006, he was convicted of identity theft and drug possession charges and got an eight-month prison sentence;

Hyun Su Moon mug 2006.jpgMoon’s 2006 mug shot

–Later that same year he found guilty of similar felonies and got 210 days in the Orange County Jail;

Hyun Su Moon mug 2007.jpgMoon’s 2007 mug shot

–In 2007, he was convicted of drug possession charges and sent to prison for 16 months;

and

–In 2010, he was convicted on identity theft charges and give two years in jail.

Hyun Su Moon mug 2010.jpgMoon’s 2010 mug shot

Now, Moon is facing federal charges in a case that will be prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Joseph McNally.

An October 16 trial has been scheduled in Judge Cormac J. Carney‘s courtroom inside the Ronald Reagan Federal Courthouse in Santa Ana.

Follow OC Weekly on Twitter @ocweekly or on Facebook!

Tennessee launches identity theft investigative unit

Friday, August 31st, 2012

Tennessee is creating a new statewide unit to investigate crimes of identity theft.

Tennessee is creating a new statewide unit to investigate crimes of identity theft.







The Tennessee Department of Safety Homeland Security is launching a new unit to investigate identity theft cases that local law enforcement often don’t have the resources to handle, The Associated Press reports.

The 14-person unit will include personnel from the Tennessee Highway Patrol and the Tennessee Office of Homeland Security. The unit will also work with U.S. Secret Service in Memphis and Nashville as well as the Federal Bureau of Investigation division in Memphis.

Commissioner of Safety and Homeland Security Bill Gibbons, former Shelby County district attorney, announced the program earlier this week and said identity theft is a growing problem in the state.

“Very few police departments have investigators that have the expertise to investigate these types of crimes,” he said, according to the report.


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Article source: http://www.bizjournals.com/memphis/blog/morning_call/2012/08/tennessee-launches-identity-theft.html

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Temple: Local Woman Sentenced In Identity Theft Case

Thursday, August 30th, 2012


TEMPLE (August 29, 2012)–A Temple woman was sentenced to federal prison Wednesday after she earlier pleaded guilty to participating in an identity theft ring.

U.S. District Judge Walter S. Smith ordered Ashley Dawn Stokes to serve two years in federal prison after she completes a sentence she’s now serving in state prison.

In addition Smith ordered Stokes to serve three years on supervised release, pay $3,201.45 in restitution and $200 in special assessment to the court.

Stokes and two other men pleaded guilty on April 26 to conspiring to commit identity theft.

Willie James Pierce, Jr., and Gordon Brett Kelley both have already been sentenced.

Documents presented in court indicate the three conspired to steal identifying information by breaking into mailboxes and other personal storage locations to steal checks, social security documents and other documents from which they would copy personal information.

The trio would use stolen checks to make fraudulent purchases at retail stores in the Temple area.

Beginning at least as far back as October 2010, Temple Police Department, United States Secret Service, United States Postal Inspection Service, and many other law enforcement agencies began receiving information regarding a group of individuals in the Central Texas area who were involved in stealing identities.

Article source: http://www.kwtx.com/ourtown/home/headlines/Temple-Local-Woman-Sentenced-In-Identity-Theft-Case-167882835.html

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Young adults among last to detect identity theft – Omaha World

Thursday, August 30th, 2012

College students are returning to school, and it’s time for many parents to begin worrying, again, about the security of their young adult children who are away from home.

We spend a lot of time during our kids’ childhoods teaching them how to keep themselves safe. We remind them to tie their shoes so they won’t trip over their laces, and we urge them to swim using the buddy system. They know it is important to use seat belts and to walk only in well-lit areas. We discuss the dangers of binge drinking and encourage them to lock their bicycles, their cars and their doors. The list of precautions goes on and on.

We issue so many warnings to our children that we might not remember to educate them about protecting their very identities.

We sometimes think a student has little for a thief to steal — perhaps someone could make off with a laptop and a nice skateboard — but Javelin Strategy and Research reports that 11.6 million American adults became victims of ID theft last year. This is an increase of 13 percent since 2010, and the losses total $37 billion or more.

Young adults, savvy as they seem, are actually an alarmingly vulnerable group. Many people in this age group are not yet fully independent, and they often lack experience with financial matters. Those ages 18 to 24 are among the last to detect identity theft. It takes young adults an average of 132 days to notice important discrepancies that signal identity fraud, so their average loss was roughly five times more than the amount lost by other age groups.

Please encourage teenagers and young adults to take the following steps to fight identity theft:

Update their computer and phone’s operating systems. Javelin Strategy found that 7 percent of smartphone owners were victims of identity fraud in 2011. Keep anti-virus and spyware updated to prevent hackers from accessing devices remotely and password-protect your home screens to discourage prying eyes.

If possible, have students leave their Social Security card, passport, birth certificate and bank and credit card statements at home. If they require these documents while at school, encourage them to store them securely — meaning lock them up. School mailboxes are not always secure and often easily accessed in dorms or apartments, so try to have sensitive mail sent to a parent’s home or even rent a Post Office box.

Students should never lend credit or debit cards to anyone, ever, even for a few minutes. Encourage your young adults not to use their account numbers to finance items like televisions or microwaves and to refuse roommates who want them to co-sign for loans. They can still contribute to purchases, of course, but if they do so directly they avoid the credit risk.

Young people should read their mail. Remind your students to check credit or debit card statements closely for any suspicious activity. In general, the sooner they identify fraud, the less they lose. Also, teach your children not to just toss “junk mail” credit card offers and documents including financial information — shred them.

Sadly, identify theft is only one type of fraud concerning young adults. Recently, a student at the University of Missouri-Columbia thought she found the perfect part-time job — as a nanny for the 6-year-old son of a counselor for the deaf. Instead, she lost over $2,000 to a con artist.

The student contacted “Amanda Smith” through Care.com, an online resource that connects families looking to employ caretakers for children, seniors or pets with those seeking this type of employment. All correspondence with Smith was via email because she claimed to have a hearing disability, but she introduced herself as a single mother who lived with her young son in Portland, Ore. Smith said they were planning to move to Columbia and she would need a sitter for her boy five hours a day.

The student received many friendly emails and photographs from Smith, supposedly of Smith’s young son, and she thought she was developing a close relationship with her new employer. Eventually, she received a check for $2,775 from Smith, who asked her to deposit the money into her own account. The student was asked to keep $375 as advanced payment for her first week’s salary. The rest of the money was to be used to pay for the delivery of a wheelchair for Smith’s child, who had recently been involved in an accident.

The student dutifully followed Smith’s instructions, but soon Smith contacted her to tell her she had made other arrangements for a wheelchair. The student then sent the $2,400 via a MoneyGram wire transfer to what she thought was a wheelchair supplier in Fort Worth, Texas, per Smith’s request.

We all know how this goes. The student soon discovered that the $2,775 check she deposited was fake and she had to repay the bank the $2,400 she’d withdrawn. Of course, there was no wheelchair company, and “Smith” took the student’s money.

Like most college kids, she did not have that kind of money. The bank froze her parents’ accounts and they had to borrow money to cover their daughter’s debt.

Offshore crooks have been using “nanny scams” for years to steal money from unsuspecting job seekers. These thieves are calculating, cunning and often quite sophisticated. Students looking for employment need to be extremely cautious when dealing with anyone they meet through the Internet.

The BBB offers the following tips on how to identify a “nanny”- style job scam:

Be cautious if a potential employer wants to communicate only via text messaging or emails. This is a way to hide one’s true identity or to withhold a phone number.

Be concerned if you get emails or texts containing broken English or numerous grammatical errors. Many of these scammers are foreigners pretending to be Americans.

Be wary of any potential employer who is hesitant to give out personal information, such as place of employment or other references. Thieves do not want potential victims checking out their backgrounds.

Beware of “sob stories” or other ploys to elicit sympathy.

If a potential employer asks for money, it is a swindle. Never send or transfer money (such as via Western Union, MoneyGram or a Green Dot Money Card) to anyone you do not know.

We certainly do not want to discourage our young adults from trying to find work, but be cautious of any job offer that sounds too perfect. We all rejoice when a young person stumbles into a wonderful opportunity, but when the “employer” is a crook, that lucky break ends up just being a costly and unpleasant lesson.

Add this information to the list of advice with which we send our children off to school, because college is already expensive enough.

Jim Hegarty is president of the Better Business Bureau representing Nebraska and southwest Iowa. To contact him, email jhegarty@bbbnebraska.org or call 402-898-8520.

Article source: http://www.omaha.com/article/20120830/MONEY/708309948/1697

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Library hosts identity-theft-protection program Sept. 18

Thursday, August 30th, 2012

Residents who would like to learn more about how to protect themselves from identity theft are invited to attend a program at 7 p.m. Sept. 18 in Flint Memorial Library, 147 Park St. . The program, presented by the Better Business Bureau of Boston, will teach participants how to prevent theft of identity and personal information such as bank accounts and credit cards and what to do if it does happen. The program is sponsored by the Friends of the Flint Memorial Library. It is free and open to the public. Registration is requested. To reserve a seat, call the library at 978-664-4942.  

Article source: http://www.boston.com/news/local/massachusetts/articles/2012/08/30/library_hosts_identity_theft_protection_program_sept_18/

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Coral Springs Police: Identity Theft Ring Busted

Thursday, August 30th, 2012

CORAL SPRINGS (CBS4) – Detectives in Coral Springs say solid police work and a little serendipity led to the bust of a major identity theft ring.

Investigators say it’s a case that may make you rethink the way you use your debit and credit cards.

The case began earlier this year when a detective arrested Germithe Geffrard for using a skimmer to steal customer’s credit card numbers while she worked as a waitress at a Coral Springs Chili’s restaurant.

As that detective shared notes with another investigator they realized that one of the credit cards in Geffrard’s skimmer was used in another crime allegedly committed by Benson Clermont.

At that point, Detective Robert Ames said they began to unravel the scope of the operation.

“We knew this was pretty big,” Ames told CBS 4′s Carey Codd.

And when they searched Clermont’s home in Sunrise, Ames said their belief was solidified.

On Tuesday Ames and other investigators showed the evidence recovered to CBS 4 News — a credit card making machine, a credit card skimmer, laptops, blank credit cards and pages and pages of victim’s personal information.

“(It was) full of names, dates of birth and social security numbers on over 940 people,” Ames said, adding that detectives still have to search through three laptops and more than a dozen cellphones belonging to the group.

At this point it’s unclear how many victims there are. Detectives believe most of the victims are from South Florida but said they have victims up and down the East Coast.

Ames said the thieves were prolific and used the stolen credit card information to make phony credit cards and went on shopping sprees. One of their biggest purchases — renting cars.

Detectives have yet to put a dollar amount on the money stolen by the group.

“It’s a modern day bank robbery,” Ames said.

Arrested in the case — Geffrard, Benson Clermont, Fredman Clermont and Patrice Duck. Investigators tell CBS 4 News when they arrested Duck she had a skimmer in her possession with 600 credit card numbers on it. Geffrard is charged with criminal use of personal information and use of a scanning device. The others are charged with grand theft and fraudulent use of a credit card.

CBS 4 News tried to reach the accused but had no luck. An attorney for Duck said it was too early for him to comment on the case.

The crime took its’ toll on victims. CBS 4 News spoke to one woman who said Geffrard skimmed her credit card.

“I feel very violated,” she said, declining to be identified.

She said she’s afraid of who the group gave her info to and after being hit for nearly 5-grand in charges she only uses cash.

“I use cash for multiple things,” the victim said. “I will never use a credit card at a restaurant ever again.”

The corporate offices of Chili’s sent a statement to CBS 4 News. It reads in part:

“This was an isolated incident involving one employee. Chili’s is cooperating fully with authorities on their investigation and this food server’s employment ended when we learned of this conduct. The employee did not obtain credit card numbers using the corporate or local restaurant computer system and the security of these systems was not compromised.”

Investigators say the biggest takeaway from this story is to check your credit card statements often.

“You have to pay attention to your credit card statements. You have to be diligent in understanding that there are bad people out there taking advantage of that,” Ames said. “They’re hoping you’re not going to be diligent and that gives them more time to commit fraud against your account.”

Article source: http://miami.cbslocal.com/2012/08/28/coral-springs-police-identity-theft-ring-busted/

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