Archive for December, 2012

ID theft law, gay marriage take effect

Monday, December 31st, 2012

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ANNAPOLIS — A Maryland law enabling parents to better protect their children from identity theft is among several taking effect this week.

Same-sex marriage also will be allowed in Maryland this week, and another new law taking effect on Tuesday will allow veterans to show that status on their driver’s licenses.

The child identity theft law, which is the first of its kind in the nation, will allow parents to freeze their child’s credit any time. Credit agencies have been required to place a security freeze on the credit of anyone who requests it, but they have been able to refuse to lock the credit of those who do not have a pre-existing credit report. That has presented problems for children, because if they have a credit report, they likely already are a victim of fraud.

Delegate Craig Zucker, a Montgomery County Democrat who sponsored the bill this year, noted that it also will benefit elderly and developmentally disabled residents who could become victims of identity theft.

Identity theft can be a big problem for children, because they usually don’t learn they are victims until they are older, when they apply for a credit card or a loan.

The law will apply to a person younger than 16 at the time of a request. It also will apply to an incapacitated person who has a legal guardian.

A consumer reporting agency would be required to place a security freeze after receiving the request.

Parents will have to opt in to trigger the credit freeze. A consumer reporting agency will be required to place a security freeze after receiving the request. Parents or guardians will have to contact a credit agency and provide proof of identification for the person they want to protect, such as a Social Security number or birth certificate.

Meanwhile, some Maryland couples are preparing for New Year’s Eve celebrations leading up to the Jan. 1 effective date of the state’s new law allowing same-sex marriage. Some couples have already received marriage licenses in advance to fulfill a required 48-hour waiting period, so they can be married officially at 12:01 a.m. on Jan. 1.

All but several laws approved by the General Assembly in 2012 already have taken effect, after a year that included two short special sessions.

The first in May was called to approve a budget plan that included income tax increases on single filers who make more than $100,000 and joint filers who make more than $150,000. It was called by Gov. Martin O’Malley after a similar plan fell apart during the Legislature’s regular session.

The second special session in August was held to expand gambling to include table games and approve a new casino site in Prince George’s County. Maryland voters approved the expansion in a statewide vote in November.

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New Md. laws on chicken feed, parole and identify theft take effect Jan. 1

Monday, December 31st, 2012

Most laws passed by the General Assembly and signed by Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) this year have already taken effect. But about a dozen had delayed implementation dates, for a variety of reasons.

The effective date of the same-sex marriage law, for example, was set as Jan. 1 to allow time for an anticipated referendum in November. That took place after opponents gathered enough signatures to force a public vote. Voters approved of the new law, 52 percent to 48 percent.

With the new year, Maryland will become the first state to ban the use of additives containing arsenic in chicken feed, a practice already prohibited by Canada and the European Union.

Last year, Pfizer suspended sales of its drug roxarsone, an arsenic-based drug used to fight parasites in animals, after a Food and Drug Administration test that showed trace amounts of the known carcinogen in the livers of chickens.

Perdue Farms stopped using the additive years ago, and some restaurants including McDonald’s do not allow its suppliers to use it.

But growers in Maryland, particularly on the Eastern Shore, continued to use stockpiles of the feed after Pfizer suspended it.

Del. Tom Hucker (D-Montgomery), the bill’s sponsor, has argued to his colleagues that unknown levels of arsenic have been seeping into the state’s soil and waters for decades through chicken waste, which is often used as fertilizer.

Opponents of the legislation argued unsuccessfully that such fears are overblown.

Under another law that takes effect this week, Maryland will join a growing number of states that are allowing its probationers and parolees to earn “compliance credits” and reduce the length of their supervision.

The legislation was sponsored by a pair of Republicans — Sen. Christopher B. Shank (R-Washington) and Del. Michael J. Hough (R-Frederick) — and won bipartisan support.

The goal of the legislation is to provide incentives for compliance and free up criminal-justice resources for those in need of more stringent supervision. Nevada is considered a forerunner in adopting such policies, which are similar in concept to programs in place in prisons around the country.

Lawmakers, meanwhile, are giving Maryland parents a new tool to fight identity theft under another law that takes effect Tuesday.

Under the law, parents will be able to freeze their child’s credit, with the hope of preventing the child’s personal information from being used fraudulently.

If contacted by parents, major credit reporting agencies must put a freeze on the information of children under age 16 within 30 days.

Del. Craig Zucker (D-Montgomery), who sponsored the bill in the House, said it should deal with the growing problem of child identity theft. Similar legislation was sponsored in the Senate by Sen. John C. Astle (D-Anne Arundel).

Staff writer Darryl Fears contributed to this story.

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Social Security Q&A: an ID theft checklist

Monday, December 31st, 2012

A: On average, it takes approximately 10 to 14 days to receive your replacement Social Security card. However, if we need to verify documents you present as proof of identity, it could take longer in some cases. For more information about your Social Security card and number, go online to

Stolen identities

Q: What can I do if I think someone has stolen my identity?

A: You should do several things, including:

File a report with the local police or the police department where the identity theft took place, and keep a copy of the police report as proof.

Notify the Federal Trade Commission, (877) ID-THEFT or (877) 438-4338.

File a complaint with the Internet Crime Complaint Center at; and contact the fraud units of the three major credit reporting bureaus: Equifax (800) 525-6285; Trans Union: (800) 680-7289; and Experian: (888) 397-3742.

Learn more by reading our publication, “Identity Theft And Your Social Security Number,” by going to

This column was prepared by the Social Security Administration. For fast answers to specific Social Security questions, contact Social Security toll-free at (800) 772-1213.

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Government fraudsters have a new weapon as they commit identity theft: prison …

Sunday, December 30th, 2012

Financial fraudsters are increasingly getting help from an unlikely source: prison inmates.

Identity theft rings are borrowing or stealing prisoners’ Social Security numbers to use in financial crimes against the government, such as posing as legitimate applicants to steal student loan money or unemployment benefits, or filing bogus tax returns

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‘Monitor your spending’ scheme raises risk of ID fraud identity theft

Sunday, December 30th, 2012

“With increasing amounts of this data held on home computers or with third
party intermediaries, it may increase the likelihood of identity theft or
fraud,” the document said. A third area of concern is that fraudsters may
impersonate people to gain sensitive personal data.

Once the detailed information has been stolen, officials said it could be used
to carry out a range of crimes. For example, data on gas and electricity
usage could allow burglars to know when homes are empty.

The Government still believes the potential benefits of the scheme outweigh
the risks. It thinks people will be “nudged” to make changes to their lives
after analysing their data, such as working out the nutritional content of
their shopping or how “green” purchases are.

People may also be more likely to switch their mobile phone, energy or banking
services if they realise they are not getting a good deal.

Consumer Focus, a watchdog, is generally supportive of the Midata scheme and
welcomes its “positive potential”. However, it also warns that there must be
protections against companies seeking to gather data “with malign intent”.

The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills said it has set up working
groups comprised of businesses, consumer protection groups and regulators to
examine the issues. Sources said the department is taking the concerns “very
seriously” but believes privacy and security issues can be resolved.

Plans to implement Midata on a voluntary basis are under way but if not enough
access to information is given the Government could make it compulsory for
companies to comply.

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ID theft victims get letters from LSU

Sunday, December 30th, 2012

LSU officials are sending letters to more than 400 people alerting them to the potential theft of personal information about them by a former employee.

The individuals names were found during a search of the residence of former LSU Health Care Services Division employee Pamela Reams, one of seven people arrested recently in a counterfeit check and identity theft scheme.

Reams is accused of printing images of checks stored in the hospital system’s financial database and turning them into counterfeit checks.

LSU HCSD manages seven public hospitals in south Louisiana, including those in Baton Rouge, New Orleans, Lafayette, Bogalusa, Independence, Houma and Lake Charles.

“There were victims in each of the areas served by our seven HCSD hospitals,” LSU HCSD spokesman Marvin McGraw said.

So far, 417 people have been sent the notifications, McGraw said.

“Internal investigators are currently going through computer access reports to see if there might be any other patients’ information … inappropriately accessed,” McGraw said. “It’s a slow process, but if that’s found to be the
case, those patients will be notified.”

Information accessed by Reams varied by patient but may have included checking account, driver’s license, Social Security numbers, date of birth and other demographic information, according to a news release issued Wednesday.

The checks were being made only in Baton Rouge but were spent all over Louisiana, including in Shreveport, Lafayette and Hammond, law enforcement officials said at the time of the arrests.

The checks were also cashed out of state, in such places as McComb, Miss., and Destin, Fla.

One official involved in the investigation, Washington Parish Sheriff’s Department criminal investigations chief Capt. Tommie Sorrell, said $100,000 in fraudulent checks may have been cashed. Washington Parish investigated numerous complaints of identity theft.

The common denominator among most victims was that they had written checks to the LSU Health Care Services Division before being victimized.

The LSU HCSD letter encourages those affected to review their bank account statements for 2012 to determine whether any unauthorized checks were written against their accounts. Any questionable transaction should be immediately reported to your banking institution, the letter advises.

Further, LSU HCSD requests that any findings of unauthorized access be reported to it at (800) 735-1185 so that law enforcement may be notified. As an additional precaution, those affected are encouraged to monitor their credit history, the letter advises.

LSU HCSD were notified by law enforcement on Nov. 14 of the activity.

It has been estimated that the unauthorized access may have begun in January, the news release said. But LSU HCSD is continuing its investigation to determine when the activity began.

The illegal use by the employee of patient checking account information has led LSU HCSD to re-evaluate its policies and procedures related to employee access of patient confidential information, the release said.

LSU HCSC must by federal law and regulations notify all known affected patients by letter of the unauthorized access.

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Officers investigate identity theft on Education Hill | Police blotter for Dec …

Sunday, December 30th, 2012

The police blotter feature is both a description of a small selection of police incidents and a statistical roundup of all calls to the Redmond Police Department that are dispatched to on-duty police officers. The Redmond Reporter Police Blotter is not intended to be representative of all police calls originating in Redmond, which gets more than 500 calls (emergency and non-emergency) per week.

Friday, Dec. 28

Warrant: At 2:03 a.m., Redmond police made a fugitive arrest in the 9300 block of Avondale Road on Education Hill.

Thursday, Dec. 27

Thefts: Redmond police responded to two theft reports from downtown. At 4:33 p.m., officers investigated a theft of wallet at an entertainment business. There was no suspect information. At 8:16 p.m., Redmond police arrested a subject for internal theft from a business.

Identity theft: At 1:16 p.m., a resident in the 11300 block of 183rd Place Northeast on Education Hill contacted police to report an unknown suspect had obtained his identification and opened fraudulent accounts and a number of businesses. No suspect information is available.

Vandalism: Police responded to a report about an unknown suspect possibly breaking the rear passenger’s side window of the victim’s vehicle while parked at a business in the 16400 block of Northeast 75th Street downtown. This report was taken for insurance purposes.

Malicious mischief: Police investigated two malicious mischief reports in Grass Lawn between 8:52 a.m. and 9:31 a.m.

Grand theft auto: At 7:58 a.m., Redmond police investigated a report of an auto theft at a business in the 15000 block of Northeast 90th Street in Grass Lawn.

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Graffiti Christmas, $1100 in Identity Theft: Western Springs Police Blotter

Saturday, December 29th, 2012


Graffiti Christmas

Someone used black spray paint to deface the exterior of a private garage on the 1300 block of 48th Street at an unknown time or date, police said. The incident was reported at 11:12 a.m. The value of the damage was not estimated in the report.


Teens and Booze

An 18-year-old River Forest man, a 17-year-old Oak Park girl and a 17-year-old Elmhurst girl issued local ordinance citations for consumption of alcohol by minors after they were found in the back seat of a car stopped at the corner of Ogden Avenue and I-294 for a moving violation at 11:34 p.m.

Hit and Run

Police reported a hit-and-run crash on the 1300 block of Oak Street in which an unknown driver hit a car parked on the side of the road sometime between 3:00 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. and left the scene.

Hit and Run Part II

Police reported a hit-and-run crash by an unknown vehicle and driver in the Garden Market parking lot (4700 block of Gilbert Avenue) sometime between 4:50 p.m. and 5:10 p.m. in which the car struck a vehicle parked in the lot and left the scene.

Guy Gets Disorderly

A 21-year-old River Forest man was issued a local ordinance citation for disorderly conduct at 5:55 a.m. after police said he “caused a minor disturbance outside of a private residence” on the 600 block of 52nd Place.


Identity Theft Pays for TV

An unknown person reportedly used the personal information of a victim on the 5300 block of Commonwealth Avenue to purchase $1,114 in satellite TV services over an unknown period of time. The identity theft was reported at 2:25 p.m.


Lockport Man’s DUI

Michael C. Rossow, 54, of the 800 block of S. Washington Avenue, Lockport, was stopped at the corner of Ogden Avenue and I-294 for improper lane usage at 11:44 p.m. and was charged with driving under the influence of alcohol after police said he had glassy eyes, slurred speech and he failed field sobriety tests.


Busted for Drugs

Joseph J. Ursich, Jr., 19, of the 2400 block of Keystone Avenue, North Riverside, was stopped for speeding at the corner of Ogden Avenue and I-294 and charged with possession of drug paraphernalia and possession of cannabis after an officer smelled a drug odor from the car, police said.

Driveway Burglary

Someone reportedly entered an unlocked car parked on a residential driveway on the 4000 block of Grand Avenue sometime between 4:00 p.m. Saturday and 9:00 a.m. Sunday and stole two unspecified items with an estimated combined value of $650.

Teen and Pot

A La Grange 15-year-old was issued a local ordinance citation at 11:40 a.m. after being found with a small amount of cannabis at Lyons Township High School North Campus.

Police Blotter information is provided by local law enforcement agencies. Charges are not evidence of guilt. They are a record of police actions taken on a given day, and persons charged with a crime are presumed innocent until proven guilty in court. If you or a a family member are charged or cited and the case is subsequently adjudicated, we encourage you to notify the editor. We will verify and report the outcome.

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Hollywood man convicted in identity theft scheme – Sun

Saturday, December 29th, 2012

A Hollywood man was convicted in an identity theft scheme with fraud totaling $117,000 in victims’ tax refunds, the U.S. State Attorney’s Office announced Friday.

Jonathan Torres-Bonilla, 36, was convicted of two counts of access device fraud and four counts of aggravated identity theft. He faces a maximum prison sentence of 28 years.

Authorities say that Torres-Bonilla used multiple debit cards at various ATMS while at the Aventura Mall on Nov. 25, 2011.

Officers tracked him down at the mall’s garage where he tried to flee in a minivan, but was taken into custody.

At the time of his arrest, he possessed 28 pre-paid debit cards with $117,000 in others’ tax refunds, more than $1,700 in cash and dozens of ATM receipts. He also refused to provide police with identification, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.

Torres-Bonilla is scheduled for sentencing March 9.

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Tips for Maryland’s new child identity theft law

Saturday, December 29th, 2012

Posted: Saturday, December 29, 2012 5:00 am

Tips for Maryland’s new child identity theft law


BALTIMORE (AP) — Attorney General Doug Gansler is providing some tips for parents who want to take advantage of a new Maryland law to protect children from identity theft.

The new law takes effect Tuesday.

Parents or guardians can contact the three major credit reporting agencies to place a freeze on their children’s credit.

A request can be made online to Equifax at , to Experian at , and TransUnion at

Maryland’s law is the first of its kind in the nation. In the past, credit agencies have been able to refuse to lock the credit of those who do not have a pre-existing credit report. That’s a problem for children, because if they have a credit report they’re likely already a victim of fraud.

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Saturday, December 29, 2012 5:00 am.

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