Archive for September, 2012

Visalia police arrest three in identity theft ring

Friday, September 28th, 2012

Visalia police arrested three people on suspicion of identity theft, burglary, and possession of forged identification and checks Thursday, police said.

Two men were arrested around 11 a.m. after a traffic stop by police revealed that the suspects had forged checks and identity theft related items in the car.

A third suspect, a woman, was arrested Thursday evening after police searched a room at the Holiday Inn Downtown Fresno, where the two suspects were staying. Inside, police found forged identification and checks, a computer, printer and an external hard drive used in the forgery process, police said.

The three suspects were using forged checks and identifications to buy items from various businesses across the state and then returning the items for cash, police said. Four of the victims were in Visalia, with an estimated loss of $4,000.

Article source: http://www.fresnobee.com/2012/09/28/3009654/visalia-police-arrest-three-in.html

Technorati Tags: ,

Agents: Trio of identity thieves had suitcase full of teacher info

Friday, September 28th, 2012

Brevard County Sheriff’s investigators say they busted an extensive identity theft ring that targeted as many as 90 elementary school teachers.

They said all of the victims work or used to work at Apollo Elementary School in Titusville.

When investigators got a search warrant for the motel two of the three suspects were staying in, they said there was a suitcase full of paperwork with the names, addresses, birthdates and Social Security numbers, primarily of teachers.

After nearly a year long investigation, deputies said Richard Harvill, Michelle Walker and Alison Greenlay were arrested.

Investigators said the trio managed to get their hands on reams of personal data for more than 100 people from Apollo Elementary School and then held on to the information until they needed a new fraudulent credit card.

“They would compromise two or three and when the victim found out they would move on to three or four more victims,” said agent Jacqueline Hearon.

Investigators showed WFTV surveillance pictures of the suspects while they said they were using fraudulent credit cards at major chains.

Agents said they started to get reports of identity theft from various school teachers within the district and then the teachers realized all the victims worked at Apollo Elementary at some point.

Agents said a relative of one of the suspects worked at the school but investigators don’t have a case against that person yet.

“It wasn’t anything the school did. Everything was properly secured but sometimes I think that a compromise point is we can’t always trust every employee we have,” said Hearon.

Greenlay has already pleaded guilty to her involvement. The other two, Harvill and Walker, were caught in a motel room in North Carolina, according to investigators.

Investigators said Harvill has an extensive criminal history and is now fighting extradition.

Brevard County sheriff’s agents said they were assisted by Titusville police as well as the Burke County Sheriff’s office in North Carolina.

Sheriff’s agents are urging teachers to check their credit reports at annualcreditreport.com.

Article source: http://www.wftv.com/news/news/agents-trio-accused-identity-thieves-had-suitcase-/nSNcT/

Technorati Tags: ,

Agents: Trio of identity thieves had suitcase full of teacher info

Friday, September 28th, 2012

Brevard County Sheriff’s investigators say they busted an extensive identity theft ring that targeted as many as 90 elementary school teachers.

They said all of the victims work or used to work at Apollo Elementary School in Titusville.

When investigators got a search warrant for the motel two of the three suspects were staying in, they said there was a suitcase full of paperwork with the names, addresses, birthdates and Social Security numbers, primarily of teachers.

After nearly a year long investigation, deputies said Richard Harvill, Michelle Walker and Alison Greenlay were arrested.

Investigators said the trio managed to get their hands on reams of personal data for more than 100 people from Apollo Elementary School and then held on to the information until they needed a new fraudulent credit card.

“They would compromise two or three and when the victim found out they would move on to three or four more victims,” said agent Jacqueline Hearon.

Investigators showed WFTV surveillance pictures of the suspects while they said they were using fraudulent credit cards at major chains.

Agents said they started to get reports of identity theft from various school teachers within the district and then the teachers realized all the victims worked at Apollo Elementary at some point.

Agents said a relative of one of the suspects worked at the school but investigators don’t have a case against that person yet.

“It wasn’t anything the school did. Everything was properly secured but sometimes I think that a compromise point is we can’t always trust every employee we have,” said Hearon.

Greenlay has already pleaded guilty to her involvement. The other two, Harvill and Walker, were caught in a motel room in North Carolina, according to investigators.

Investigators said Harvill has an extensive criminal history and is now fighting extradition.

Brevard County sheriff’s agents said they were assisted by Titusville police as well as the Burke County Sheriff’s office in North Carolina.

Sheriff’s agents are urging teachers to check their credit reports at annualcreditreport.com.

Article source: http://www.wftv.com/news/news/agents-trio-accused-identity-thieves-had-suitcase-/nSNcT/

Technorati Tags: ,

I-Team: Medical ID Theft On The Rise, Could Put Lives In Danger

Friday, September 28th, 2012

BOSTON (CBS) – We’ve all heard of identity theft and having our financial information stolen. But now there’s a new, scary twist on this crime.

Thieves are stealing medical identities, and that’s leaving victims with big bills and the potential for medical catastrophes.

It’s called medical ID theft; someone stealing your identification to get expensive health services.

For an average person whose identity is stolen, their exposure is about $2,000. However, someone’s medical identity that is stolen could have an exposure of about $20,000.

“We have 24 counts of fraud on using my social security number for various things, mostly medical identity theft; medical charges,” a college professor named Lisa told WBZ-TV’s Joe Shortsleeve.

Lisa is on the hook for $50,000 for services and drugs obtained in half-dozen states.

“It’s always an emotional burden because you are always on guard and you never know when she is going to strike again,” Lisa said of the woman using her identity.

Christine O’Neill, the FBI’s supervisory agent for health care fraud in Boston told the I-Team that medical ID theft can start with a single stolen wallet, or with organized crime rings breaching huge data systems.

Investigators have seen employees inside health care offices with access to all the patients personal information stealing it, which happened at Health Sports and Rehab physical therapy office in Dorchester.

Court records obtained by the I-Team show Laverne Miskel pled guilty to stealing personal information while interning there.

Owner Andrew Watson said Miskel worked in tandem with a boyfriend on the outside to create bogus checks.

The result can be a financial headache that can take years to untangle. What’s worse is if someone uses your medical information to go get health treatment; that can cause a life or death situation.

If somebody had a different blood type, that information is going to taint your medical history. So in an extreme case, if somebody was in an accident and they go to seek treatment and that blood type has been changed, they could be given a wrong blood type for a transfusion

Making matters worse, Pam Dixon, a nationally recognized expert on medical ID theft, says getting records corrected is next to impossible.

Under the federal privacy law, hospitals are not supposed to give people records that are not about them, and once a thief has used your file, it’s not actually you anymore, even though it is,” Dixon said.

Agent O’Neill believes medical facilities could make one small security change to reap big benefits.

“Ask for somebody’s license and other identifiers when they come to seek treatment,” she suggested.

The FBI says the best way to protect yourself is to shred every health care bill you receive, and to scrutinize those invoices to confirm each charge is for care you receive.

 I Team: Medical ID Theft On The Rise, Could Put Lives In Danger

Article source: http://boston.cbslocal.com/2012/09/27/i-team-medical-id-theft-on-the-rise-could-put-lives-in-danger/

Technorati Tags: ,

I-Team: Medical ID Theft On The Rise, Could Put Lives In Danger

Friday, September 28th, 2012

BOSTON (CBS) – We’ve all heard of identity theft and having our financial information stolen. But now there’s a new, scary twist on this crime.

Thieves are stealing medical identities, and that’s leaving victims with big bills and the potential for medical catastrophes.

It’s called medical ID theft; someone stealing your identification to get expensive health services.

For an average person whose identity is stolen, their exposure is about $2,000. However, someone’s medical identity that is stolen could have an exposure of about $20,000.

“We have 24 counts of fraud on using my social security number for various things, mostly medical identity theft; medical charges,” a college professor named Lisa told WBZ-TV’s Joe Shortsleeve.

Lisa is on the hook for $50,000 for services and drugs obtained in half-dozen states.

“It’s always an emotional burden because you are always on guard and you never know when she is going to strike again,” Lisa said of the woman using her identity.

Christine O’Neill, the FBI’s supervisory agent for health care fraud in Boston told the I-Team that medical ID theft can start with a single stolen wallet, or with organized crime rings breaching huge data systems.

Investigators have seen employees inside health care offices with access to all the patients personal information stealing it, which happened at Health Sports and Rehab physical therapy office in Dorchester.

Court records obtained by the I-Team show Laverne Miskel pled guilty to stealing personal information while interning there.

Owner Andrew Watson said Miskel worked in tandem with a boyfriend on the outside to create bogus checks.

The result can be a financial headache that can take years to untangle. What’s worse is if someone uses your medical information to go get health treatment; that can cause a life or death situation.

If somebody had a different blood type, that information is going to taint your medical history. So in an extreme case, if somebody was in an accident and they go to seek treatment and that blood type has been changed, they could be given a wrong blood type for a transfusion

Making matters worse, Pam Dixon, a nationally recognized expert on medical ID theft, says getting records corrected is next to impossible.

Under the federal privacy law, hospitals are not supposed to give people records that are not about them, and once a thief has used your file, it’s not actually you anymore, even though it is,” Dixon said.

Agent O’Neill believes medical facilities could make one small security change to reap big benefits.

“Ask for somebody’s license and other identifiers when they come to seek treatment,” she suggested.

The FBI says the best way to protect yourself is to shred every health care bill you receive, and to scrutinize those invoices to confirm each charge is for care you receive.

 I Team: Medical ID Theft On The Rise, Could Put Lives In Danger

Article source: http://boston.cbslocal.com/2012/09/27/i-team-medical-id-theft-on-the-rise-could-put-lives-in-danger/

Technorati Tags: ,

Tarrant records scrubbed to deter identity theft

Friday, September 28th, 2012


Almost 1 million records were recently restored to the Tarrant County clerk’s website for online access after we scrubbed them of sensitive personal data to protect the public from identity theft.

The project started in March after the Tarrant County Sheriff’s Department notified me that suspects arrested in New Mexico on drug charges might have mined personal data from records on county websites nationwide to create false identities.

We immediately began an audit of the 12 million public records on our website to determine which ones contained sensitive data.

Although it was not required by law, we quickly removed 1 million records containing personal information that could be used to create false identities.

We redacted Social Security, driver’s license and federal tax numbers, as well as birth dates, from 17 categories of documents, from divorce records to property deeds to powers of attorney.

Six months later, the redacted records are now accessible on our website, https://ccrecordse.tarrantcountytx.gov/RealEstate.

Providing online access to public records saves taxpayers time and money.

We will continue to review and redact personal information from the half-million or so new documents filed with the clerk’s office every year.

Those who see sensitive personal information in their online documents can file a redaction request by e-mail at WM-CountyClerk@TarrantCounty.com.

Personal identifiers are visible in the original records available at the Tarrant County Courthouse, but only upon request.

While protecting against identity theft is a continuing concern, we have also taken steps to fight property and mortgage fraud in Tarrant County.

It’s one of the fastest-growing crimes in the country, according to the FBI. Already this year, our local grand jury has indicted almost a dozen squatters who filed fraudulent affidavits of adverse possession to claim ownership of homes and property.

To help protect against this and other kinds of fraud, the county provides a free automated alert program that serves as an early warning to property owners. To register for the program, go to www.tarrantcounty.com/ecountyclerk and click on the Property Fraud Alert icon in the upper-right corner. About 10,000 county property owners signed up this year.

Although innovative new scams emerge all the time, by working together we can better protect our families, our property and our personal information.

Mary Louise Garcia is the Tarrant County clerk.


Advertisement

Looking for comments?

Article source: http://www.star-telegram.com/2012/09/27/4294264/tarrant-records-scrubbed-to-deter.html

Technorati Tags: ,

Authorities identify Hoover woman charged with identity theft

Friday, September 28th, 2012

lawson2.JPGFairfield police charged Carolyn Davis Lawson on Thursday, Sept. 27, 2012.

FAIRFIELD, Alabama – Fairfield police today charged a Hoover woman after authorities say she stole a woman’s identity and more than $21,000 over the past two years.

Police Chief Leon Davis this afternoon identified the woman as Carolyn Davis Lawson, 48. She is charged with identity theft and is being held in the Jefferson County Jail. Her bond is set at $15,000.

The victim, who hasn’t been identified, reported to police in July 2010 and again in March 2012 that her personal information had been unlawfully used to buy services and merchandise. She learned of the predicament when she was contacted for overdue/past-due car and insurance payments totaling $21,673, Davis said.

Davis said the theft tally could be higher. “We don’t really know yet how much is still out there,” Davis said today.

She also was contacted by collection agencies regarding past-due payments to water and cable companies. This year, the victim was contacted by the IRS about taxes owed at places she never worked.

Davis said investigators were able to identify a suspect who was living and working under the victim’s name. She had bought vehicles, been hired, obtained credit cards, leases and bank accounts all under the victim’s identity. She was even able to fraudulently acquire and Alabama State Driver’s license in that name.

Davis said the woman was arrested at her son’s residence. Several agencies worked with Fairfield police in the investigation.

Article source: http://blog.al.com/spotnews/2012/09/authorities_identify_hoover_wo.html

Technorati Tags: ,

Justice Department, IRS Seek to Avoid Tax Identity Theft

Friday, September 28th, 2012

The U.S. Justice Department and the
Internal Revenue Service are working to head off identity theft
aimed at stealing people’s tax refunds when the filing season
begins in January, the government’s top tax prosecutor said.

The Justice Department will draw information from local
prosecutions to identify patterns in the cases and help the IRS
create computerized filters to block potentially fraudulent
refunds. They peak each year in the first few weeks of the
filing season as criminals try to get refunds under legitimate
taxpayers’ names before those people file their own returns.

“The schemes can be extraordinarily simple, and they
vary,” Kathryn Keneally, assistant attorney general for the Tax
Division, told reporters today in Washington.

In a typical case, criminals steal or illegally purchase
taxpayers’ identifying information from hospitals, medical
offices, prisons and other places that have the data. They then
file false tax returns, claim a refund and have the money
deposited on a prepaid debit card.

The crime, which Keneally described as “horrifying,”
exploits the tension between the IRS’s twin goals of preventing
fraud and issuing refunds as quickly as possible.

In some cases, Keneally said, criminals have used the
Social Security numbers of Puerto Rico residents, many of whom
don’t have a federal tax-filing requirement. In these cases, she
said, it can be difficult for the IRS to distinguish between
fraud and a Puerto Rico resident who has moved into a state and
owes taxes.

$15 Billion

In a Sept. 15 speech in Boston, IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman said his agency this year stopped more than 3 million
tax returns and determined that 90 percent of those were
“bad.” He said the IRS blocked $15 billion in fraudulent
payments from being sent, up from $11 billion the year before.

Shulman also questioned whether the agency should place a
greater emphasis on fraud prevention and less on what he called
a “sacred assumption” that refunds should be delivered as
quickly as possible.

“We need to rethink the speed of refund paradigm,” he
said, according to prepared remarks. “I’m the first to admit
that this is a very delicate and difficult balancing act, but we
should not and cannot shy away from the challenge.”

Shulman’s term ends in November, and he has said he doesn’t
want to remain in the job.

Keneally also said today that the assignment of Tax
Division attorneys to federal prosecutors’ offices around the
country is ending as scheduled Oct. 1. Bloomberg News reported
March 27 that 25 of the 95 prosecutors in the division had been
given six-month assignments around the country.

“We are looking forward to welcoming back” the lawyers,
who mostly worked on tax cases while they were working in other
offices, she said. She said some of them, fewer than 10,
accepted offers to remain outside Washington.

To contact the reporter on this story:
Richard Rubin in Washington at
rrubin12@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story:
Jodi Schneider at
jschneider50@bloomberg.net

Article source: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-09-27/justice-department-irs-seek-to-avoid-tax-identity-theft.html

Technorati Tags: ,

Police arrest 41 on ID theft, fraud charges during raids on Mexican …

Thursday, September 27th, 2012

LAWRENCEBURG, Ind. — Police had arrested more than 40 people on identity theft and other charges and were seeking dozens of others Wednesday stemming from raids this week at several Mexican restaurants in southeastern Indiana.

The charges stemmed from an 18-month investigation of five Acapulco Mexican Restaurants owned by Adolfo Lopez of Lawrenceburg, Indiana State Excise Police spokesman Cpl. Travis Thickstun said.

Lopez was being held on $3 million bond Wednesday at the Dearborn County Jail in Lawrenceburg. It wasn’t clear whether he had an attorney.

Besides the 41 people under arrest, 67 others were still being sought, Thickstun said.

The raids Monday targeted restaurants in Lawrenceburg, Batesville, Rising Sun, Aurora and Versailles. Police also searched a tax preparation service in Greenwood and several banks and seized about $3 million in cash, a dozen vehicles and an undisclosed amount of foreign currency.

Several charges allege about 100 restaurant employees filed tax returns under fraudulent Social Security numbers. Other charges include laundering, forgery, perjury and theft.

A phone at a home listing under Lopez’s name rang unanswered Wednesday when The Associated Press called seeking comment.

Several media outlets reported that Lopez was last year’s Dearborn County “Businessman of the Year.”

The excise police are the enforcement division of the Indiana Alcohol and Tobacco Commission and focus primarily on alcohol, tobacco and related violations. But Excise Police Superintendent Matt Strittmatter said the investigation showed how the agency’s regulatory duties can lead to other criminal violations.

Article source: http://www.therepublic.com/view/story/616ca32c22004e10b6e487ef5fd2a44b/IN--Restaurant-Raids

Technorati Tags: ,

How to Prevent Business Identity Theft

Thursday, September 27th, 2012

CLICK HERE
TO PUBLISH

TCIMC on your phone via twitter: @TCIMC | @TCIMCFeatures
Visit us on Facebook

National: indymedia.us
Global: indymedia.org

Article source: http://twincities.indymedia.org/node/20073

Technorati Tags: ,