Archive for February, 2013

Man arrested for identity theft after using fake Social number

Thursday, February 28th, 2013

A local man was arrested on identity theft charges Tuesday after the rightful owner of a Social Security number he had allegedly obtained and used fraudulently sought to claim benefits.
 
Alex M. Canas, 37, of Basalt, was advised Wednesday that he faces a class 4 felony count of identity theft. He is being held on a $2,500 bond and also has been placed on an immigration hold. Canas turned himself in and is cooperating with police, according to department spokeswoman Blair Weyer.
 
The case began when a 47-year-old woman in Mesa, Ariz. applied for Social Security benefits because she was unable to work due to medical issues. Her claim was denied because the government found that her Social Security number was attached to wages being earned in Aspen, at the Hickory House restaurant.
 
“[The victim] denied ever working in Colorado,” according to an arrest warrant affidavit written by Aspen police detective Walter Chi.
 
She made a report to Mesa police last month, who contacted authorities in Aspen. Police here got in touch with the restaurant staff, who determined that the Social Security number in question was used by Canas on an I-9 form he filled out when he began working there a few years ago.
 
Canas came in for an interview with police Tuesday, and through an interpreter, said he obtained falsified documents allowing him to work, including the Social Security number, for $150 in MacArthur Park in Los Angeles, a notorious trading post for fake IDs. He told police he was in the country legally at one time about six years ago, but that authorization had expired, according to the affidavit.
 
The victim was still unable to collect Social Security benefits when she was interviewed by Aspen police, according to Chi’s affidavit.
 
Canas will be back in court next month.

Article source: http://www.aspendailynews.com/section/home/156889

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5-year-olds victims of identity theft

Thursday, February 28th, 2013

Identity thieves will stop at nothing to pawn others’ identities for their own personal gain. But you know the newest trend in identity theft has reached an ultimate low when identity thieves start to target innocent children for their own personal gain.

Why are children being targeted for these crimes when they cannot even have driving records, credit scores or criminal records, you ask?

Criminals see clean-slate identities as a way to hide their own identities and sell them to stolen identity rings. Identity thieves do this by stealing children’s Social Security numbers, birth certificates and other information to decrease the likelihood that someone will challenge them on a stolen identity. 

A Government Accountability Office (GAO) Report released in March 2009 showed just how easy it is to forge birth certificates when an inspector was able to obtain four passports under a fake birth certificate each time. A criminal just has to forge a birth certificate under a child’s name and adjust the birth date to make a new identity.

These criminals will go identity “dumpster diving” through public birth and death records, newspaper announcements, and court documents to obtain this information. Once they have the information, they take a trip to the local Department of Motor Vehicles to use the fraudulently gathered information as documentation that will enable them to obtain a state-issued driver’s license or non-driver ID card with the child’s name plastered upon an ID that shows an adult photo and age.

If we are to protect the integrity of our children and our nation as a whole, we need to crack down on identity fraud and make it harder for criminals to misrepresent the most vulnerable in our population.




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Article source: http://thehill.com/blogs/pundits-blog/crime/285191-5-year-olds-victims-of-identity-theft

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Bellevue police break up alleged identity theft ring

Thursday, February 28th, 2013

SEATTLE — Accompanied by a SWAT team, Bellevue police raided a suspected identity theft ring in West Seattle Wednesday morning.

Police arrived at the home, located in the 7300 block of 16th Avenue SW, Wednesday morning and arrested four men and a 15-year-old runaway girl.

Police believe the group was behind an unsophisticated but prolific theft ring that victimized people throughout Puget Sound.

On Wednesday, officers found a stockpile of more than 200 credit cards, a healthy mix of driver’s licenses, passports, social security cards and black checks.

Officers also uncovered laptops and cell phones, all of which police believe were stolen from car prowls, burglaries and mailboxes in the area.

“We are still going through all the evidence, but several cities besides Bellevue have already been victimized,” said Carla Iafrate of the Bellevue Police Department.

Anthony Badon lives next door to the home that was raided. He said he frequently saw large numbers of people, mostly in their 20s, milling around the house and being loud. He also said he sometimes heard a woman screaming in middle of the night.

“It sounded like torture,” he said. “I’m serious, it’s disturbing.”

While the alleged thieves were prolific, Iafrate said there was nothing high-tech about the scheme.

“The level of sophistication doesn’t appear to be that great,” she said.

Police got a lead on the group while working a related case. They don’t know if the thieves were successful in using the IDs, credit cards and blank checks, but detectives hope the seized laptops will provide evidence of that.

The bust comes on the heals of several publicized mail theft busts throughout the region, including one in Port Angeles where a man is accused of stealing more than 100 pounds of mail.

When he learned what his next door neighbors had been arrested for, Badon said he’s going to change his habits.

“It makes me kind of paranoid because I always put my mail out,” he said. “Hopefully they didn’t get a hold of my stuff.”

Police do not believe there’s a connection between the Port Townsend case and Wednesday’s arrests. Officers will now begin the long process of contacting the victims.

Article source: http://www.komonews.com/news/local/Bellevue-police-break-up-alleged-identity-theft-ring-193700051.html

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Identity theft victim struggles to renew his license – WALB

Thursday, February 28th, 2013

THOMAS COUNTY, GA (WALB) –

The State of Georgia ranked 2nd in the nation last year in the rate of identity theft complaints.

If you’ve ever been a victim, you know how aggravating it can be.

One Thomas County identity theft victim is having a heck of a time just trying to renew his driver’s license.

Five years ago, Ochlocknee resident Wayne Jenkins tried to renew his license.

“They said no you can’t renew your license. And I said why? And they said you got a DUI and I said I ain’t got no damn DUI,” said Jenkins.

Jenkins learned he was the victim of identity theft.

After the Department of Drivers services denied his request for a new license, he called the Thomas County Sheriff’s Office.

“He contacted us because he could not get a driver’s license back in 2008 stating that someone had been arrested in the state of Alabama for a DUI off a Tennessee driver’s license,” said Lt. Tim Watkins.

“He argued with them. The state of Alabama and the State of Tennessee. And they sent him a picture of the guy and it didn’t look a thing like me,” said Jenkins.

Lt. Watkins was successful in 2008 with helping Jenkins renew his license.

But when Jenkins tried this week to once again renew his license, he had a moment of deja vu.

“She kept looking at me and looking at the computers and I finally said well what is wrong? She said you got a DUI and I said I aint got no DUI,” said Jenkins.

“Our office has spent two days with the Department of Drivers Services trying to clear up Mr. Jenkins situation. The Department of Driver’s Services just refuses to acknowledge it’s not him and issue him a license,” said Lt. Watkins.

“One of them won’t release my license because the other one won’t release my license because the other one won’t release my license,” said Jenkins.

Lt. Watkins says the computers show Jenkins still owes the state of Tennessee a fine from a DUI he was never involved in.

“I don’t think it’s right to punish me for something somebody else has done. And living by myself, I have got to drive some,” said Jenkins.

Lt. Watkins says the sheriff’s office is going the extra mile to help Jenkins because he is the victim of identity fraud and they need to make sure he is taken care of.

Follow the link below to find more statistics on state and national identity theft.

http://www.ftc.gov/sentinel/reports/sentinel-annual-reports/sentinel-cy2012.pdf

 

WALB. All rights reserved.

Copyright 2013

 

 

Article source: http://www.walb.com/story/21417721/identity-theft-victim-struggles-to-renew-his-license

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Bellevue police arrest 5 in identity theft ring

Thursday, February 28th, 2013

Bellevue Police Department SWAT officers and detectives arrested five people Wednesday morning after executing a search warrant in West Seattle.

 Police said that during an investigation, detectives were led to a house in the 7300 block of 16th Avenue Southwest where four men and a 15-year-old girl were arrested.

 Police said before officers left the home, many neighbors approached suggesting that they were aware something was going on in the house for some time.

 Detectives said several bags of evidence were collected and will be sorted in the next several weeks.

 Several items collected belonged to victims from Bellevue and surrounding cities, police said.

Article source: http://www.kirotv.com/news/news/bellevue-police-arrest-5-identity-theft-ring/nWbz8/

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FTC Releases Top 30 Consumer Complaints of the Year; ID Fraud Is No. 1

Thursday, February 28th, 2013

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Article source: http://abcnews.go.com/Business/identity-theft-tops-top-consumer-complaints-year-13th/story?id=18598136

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Wanna buy a loophole? Trickster turns corporate identity theft into online …

Wednesday, February 27th, 2013

How much would you pay for an offshore tax haven in the Cayman Islands? Without the slightest hint of irony, Paolo Cirio says he’ll sell you one for 99 cents.

Cirio isn’t a troll — he’s more what you might call an information performance artist. His works, like “Face to Facebook,” which “stole” public profile pictures and then posted them onto a fake dating website, borrow heavily from the realm of PR sensationalism. And for good reason: like renowned culture-jamming provocateurs The Yes Men, his almost-plausible schemes, no matter how absurd or exaggerated, always seem to illuminate something critical about privacy, politics, and the way we look at data as it exists within different contexts.

His latest provocation is Loophole For All, a website which claims to have hijacked the identities of tax-dodging corporations registered anonymously in the Cayman Islands. Visitors are invited to “steal” companies’ accounts through official-looking certificates, sold for a measly 99 cents in something Cirio describes as democratizing the art of corporate tax fraud. Thoroughly researched, the scheme leaves behind a trail of questions. After all, why can’t normal people exploit the same loopholes that allow multinational corporations to pilfer billions from government coffers? Like any good fiction writer, Cirio tells lies to reveal the truth. But instead of the printed page, his medium is the internet itself.

“These days the truth doesn’t produce any change.”

“I feel that these days the truth doesn’t produce any change. People tend to adapt to injustice and absurdity,” Cirio tells The Verge in an email. “However, when concrete reality arrives, it is tough and it hurts — like a hurricane flooding your house, or working just to service your debt or discovering your privacy no longer exists.” At a time when Wikileaks infodumps already make massive caches of government secrets readily available, Cirio’s goal is not just to produce raw data but to “simulate that shock of the concrete apparition of the truth before people get hurt for real.”

In this case, the “hurt” is very real, though largely unseen. Offshore tax havens are one of the most insidious tools in today’s global economy, and their use has increased exponentially over the past decade. 83 of the Fortune 100 companies in the US currently rely on them, masking banks and multinational corporations like Barclays, Apple, and Facebook from regulators, in many cases allowing them to avoid taxation entirely (Google, for one, avoided a record-breaking $2 billion in taxes last year by moving funds through a shell company in Bermuda).

Loophole4all

As such, these offshore centers play a key role in the budget sequesters and austerity measures that threaten the well-being of citizens in Europe and the United States — in 2011, a report from the Tax Justice Network estimated that illegal tax evasion had cost 145 countries (comprising 98% of the world’s GDP) a total of $3.1 trillion. As a result, multinationals like Shell Oil devastate the environments and local economies of the developing countries they’re based in with virtually no obligation to compensate for the mess.

“Outdated laws and means of legislating are outstripped by technological development.”

“I found it interesting that some of those offshore centers are hubs of the global trade but in terms of legislation and governmental infrastructure, basically in the Middle Ages,” says Cirio. “The world is always changing faster because of the development of technology and connectivity, but global governance is slow and unprepared. That is the origin of most legal loopholes today. We see the same situation with privacy and copyright issues, where outdated laws and means of legislating are outstripped by technological development.”

Cirio’s own plot, however, was short-lived. The Cayman Islands’ corporate registrar issued a press release a few days later, reassuring the media that there had been “no interference” with their online registry system — even before, a look at their website shows that the data Cirio claimed was public-facing, copied and pasted onto the false certificates. But for Cirio’s purposes, the deception is more of a political demonstration. His stunts serve to bathe a larger injustice in the harsh light of day, and in doing so, reveal the raw power of information simply by shifting it from one setting to another.

Cirio’s mock certificates, 200,000 in total, may not actually entitle you to tax-free lifestyle. But as part of the project’s physical installation, they’re part of the fiction he has created, meant to produce awareness and give materiality to the shock that sometimes comes when data suddenly changes places. “People still get confused about the value of information when it’s on a screen, on the Internet, or distributed in unexpected way,” says Cirio. “Sometimes it’s underestimated, sometimes it’s overestimated. But the reaction is just as important as showing what is invisible to common perception.”

Article source: http://www.theverge.com/2013/2/26/4031516/wanna-buy-a-loophole-paolo-cirio-makes-corporate-identity-theft-into

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Wanna buy a loophole? Trickster turns corporate identity theft into online …

Wednesday, February 27th, 2013

How much would you pay for an offshore tax haven in the Cayman Islands? Without the slightest hint of irony, Paolo Cirio says he’ll sell you one for 99 cents.

Cirio isn’t a troll — he’s more what you might call an information performance artist. His works, like “Face to Facebook,” which “stole” public profile pictures and then posted them onto a fake dating website, borrow heavily from the realm of PR sensationalism. And for good reason: like renowned culture-jamming provocateurs The Yes Men, his almost-plausible schemes, no matter how absurd or exaggerated, always seem to illuminate something critical about privacy, politics, and the way we look at data as it exists within different contexts.

His latest provocation is Loophole For All, a website which claims to have hijacked the identities of tax-dodging corporations registered anonymously in the Cayman Islands. Visitors are invited to “steal” companies’ accounts through official-looking certificates, sold for a measly 99 cents in something Cirio describes as democratizing the art of corporate tax fraud. Thoroughly researched, the scheme leaves behind a trail of questions. After all, why can’t normal people exploit the same loopholes that allow multinational corporations to pilfer billions from government coffers? Like any good fiction writer, Cirio tells lies to reveal the truth. But instead of the printed page, his medium is the internet itself.

“These days the truth doesn’t produce any change.”

“I feel that these days the truth doesn’t produce any change. People tend to adapt to injustice and absurdity,” Cirio tells The Verge in an email. “However, when concrete reality arrives, it is tough and it hurts — like a hurricane flooding your house, or working just to service your debt or discovering your privacy no longer exists.” At a time when Wikileaks infodumps already make massive caches of government secrets readily available, Cirio’s goal is not just to produce raw data but to “simulate that shock of the concrete apparition of the truth before people get hurt for real.”

In this case, the “hurt” is very real, though largely unseen. Offshore tax havens are one of the most insidious tools in today’s global economy, and their use has increased exponentially over the past decade. 83 of the Fortune 100 companies in the US currently rely on them, masking banks and multinational corporations like Barclays, Apple, and Facebook from regulators, in many cases allowing them to avoid taxation entirely (Google, for one, avoided a record-breaking $2 billion in taxes last year by moving funds through a shell company in Bermuda).

Loophole4all

As such, these offshore centers play a key role in the budget sequesters and austerity measures that threaten the well-being of citizens in Europe and the United States — in 2011, a report from the Tax Justice Network estimated that illegal tax evasion had cost 145 countries (comprising 98% of the world’s GDP) a total of $3.1 trillion. As a result, multinationals like Shell Oil devastate the environments and local economies of the developing countries they’re based in with virtually no obligation to compensate for the mess.

“Outdated laws and means of legislating are outstripped by technological development.”

“I found it interesting that some of those offshore centers are hubs of the global trade but in terms of legislation and governmental infrastructure, basically in the Middle Ages,” says Cirio. “The world is always changing faster because of the development of technology and connectivity, but global governance is slow and unprepared. That is the origin of most legal loopholes today. We see the same situation with privacy and copyright issues, where outdated laws and means of legislating are outstripped by technological development.”

Cirio’s own plot, however, was short-lived. The Cayman Islands’ corporate registrar issued a press release a few days later, reassuring the media that there had been “no interference” with their online registry system — even before, a look at their website shows that the data Cirio claimed was public-facing, copied and pasted onto the false certificates. But for Cirio’s purposes, the deception is more of a political demonstration. His stunts serve to bathe a larger injustice in the harsh light of day, and in doing so, reveal the raw power of information simply by shifting it from one setting to another.

Cirio’s mock certificates, 200,000 in total, may not actually entitle you to tax-free lifestyle. But as part of the project’s physical installation, they’re part of the fiction he has created, meant to produce awareness and give materiality to the shock that sometimes comes when data suddenly changes places. “People still get confused about the value of information when it’s on a screen, on the Internet, or distributed in unexpected way,” says Cirio. “Sometimes it’s underestimated, sometimes it’s overestimated. But the reaction is just as important as showing what is invisible to common perception.”

Article source: http://www.theverge.com/2013/2/26/4031516/wanna-buy-a-loophole-paolo-cirio-makes-corporate-identity-theft-into

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Avoiding identity theft-related tax refund fraud

Wednesday, February 27th, 2013


datacapturepdcredit.jpg





 

You file your tax return and the IRS rejects it, telling you that you’ve already filed your return.

What gives? It’s tax refund fraud, a growing crime in which thieves use stolen Social Security numbers to claim bogus refunds.

While there are plenty of places ID thieves can turn for Social Security numbers, you may be able to reduce your chances of falling victim by:

• Ignoring emails from the IRS. The IRS doesn’t use email or other social media to initiate contact with taxpayers about audits or other tax problems. Many emails that purport to be from the IRS are actually from scammers trying to get your information. Protect yourself by changing your email settings so you can “view” an email without actually opening it. Moreover, never click on the links in suspect emails.

If you ever have a question about a tax issue, contact the IRS directly through its web site, irs.gov or 1-800-829-1040.

• Using strong passwords. When you e-file or prepare your returns online, use strong passwords with a mix of capital and lowercase letters, numbers and symbols. The better the mix, the harder a password is to crack.

• Clearing tax data from your hard-drive. Once you finish filing, save your tax data on a thumb drive that you keep in a secure location. Remove all sensitive data from your hard-drive.

• Keeping your firewall, anti-spyware and anti-malware software up to date. Visit onguardonline.gov for more information.

• Avoiding social media tricks. Malware and spyware that can transmit information from your computer or keyboard often lurks in those emails, Tweets and posts that try to get you to click on a link out of curiosity. Often infected links will say something like, “what are you doing in this video” or “click to see what happens next.”

• Asking your tax preparer how he or she protects your information.

• Keeping your Social Security number private. Don’t carry your social security card in your wallet. And don’t share it with any company that can’t tell you how it protects your information.

Follow Sheryl on Twitter: @consumerwriter

On Facebook: PDConsumerAffairs

Article source: http://www.cleveland.com/consumeraffairs/index.ssf/2013/02/avoiding_identity_theft-relate.html

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Avoiding identity theft-related tax refund fraud

Wednesday, February 27th, 2013


datacapturepdcredit.jpg





 

You file your tax return and the IRS rejects it, telling you that you’ve already filed your return.

What gives? It’s tax refund fraud, a growing crime in which thieves use stolen Social Security numbers to claim bogus refunds.

While there are plenty of places ID thieves can turn for Social Security numbers, you may be able to reduce your chances of falling victim by:

• Ignoring emails from the IRS. The IRS doesn’t use email or other social media to initiate contact with taxpayers about audits or other tax problems. Many emails that purport to be from the IRS are actually from scammers trying to get your information. Protect yourself by changing your email settings so you can “view” an email without actually opening it. Moreover, never click on the links in suspect emails.

If you ever have a question about a tax issue, contact the IRS directly through its web site, irs.gov or 1-800-829-1040.

• Using strong passwords. When you e-file or prepare your returns online, use strong passwords with a mix of capital and lowercase letters, numbers and symbols. The better the mix, the harder a password is to crack.

• Clearing tax data from your hard-drive. Once you finish filing, save your tax data on a thumb drive that you keep in a secure location. Remove all sensitive data from your hard-drive.

• Keeping your firewall, anti-spyware and anti-malware software up to date. Visit onguardonline.gov for more information.

• Avoiding social media tricks. Malware and spyware that can transmit information from your computer or keyboard often lurks in those emails, Tweets and posts that try to get you to click on a link out of curiosity. Often infected links will say something like, “what are you doing in this video” or “click to see what happens next.”

• Asking your tax preparer how he or she protects your information.

• Keeping your Social Security number private. Don’t carry your social security card in your wallet. And don’t share it with any company that can’t tell you how it protects your information.

Follow Sheryl on Twitter: @consumerwriter

On Facebook: PDConsumerAffairs

Article source: http://www.cleveland.com/consumeraffairs/index.ssf/2013/02/avoiding_identity_theft-relate.html

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