Archive for March, 2013

Bank to put on identity theft seminar

Sunday, March 31st, 2013

Identity theft isn’t just common, it’s to be expected.

That’s according to Jeff Byrd, assistant vice president and business development manager at Mohave State Bank in Yuma. To help consumers stay aware of the rapidly growing threat of identity theft – and to avoid it – Mohave State Bank will hold several free ID theft seminars next week.

“It’s not a matter of if, it’s a matter of when you’ll be hit with ID theft in today’s society,” Byrd said.

The presentations will be on April 5, with video presentations followed by question and answer sessions. Kristine Novinskie from ID Theft Shield and Kroll Fraud Solutions will be the presenting expert.

Her presentation includes a review of the five types of identity theft: criminal/character, medical, driver’s license, employment and financial.

Criminal identity theft can get an innocent person arrested for something somebody else did under their name. Medical identity theft can get somebody treated with unnecessary or even harmful medications at a hospital.

And financial identity theft isn’t what people think it is, Novinskie said: It’s actually the taking of somebody’s identity to open accounts in their name. Using an existing account – stealing somebody’s credit card information and going on a spending spree – is fraud, not ID theft.

Another topic will be ID theft’s biggest, yet littlest, victims: children. Novinskie said children are five times more likely to be victims of identity theft.

Byrd said it’s especially frustrating to see criminals go after kids. They’re easy pickings because they must leave the hospital as newborns with Social Security numbers, even though they’re not likely to use or check on their numbers for many years. He related one story about a 7-year-old girl who is already $200,000 in bogus credit card debt.

Byrd said he also knows a local businessman whose ordeal was with criminal identity theft. He was not only “guilty” of crimes he’d never committed out of state, but he had since “died.”

“He came into my office one day and another bank had basically asked him to leave,” Byrd said. “He said, ‘Can you help me? I just got kicked out of a bank.’ I said, ‘Why?’ He said, ‘Well, I’m dead.’”

Byrd said with ID theft, you’re guilty until proved innocent. A victim has to clear his own name and all-important credit report, which takes time. Novinskie said that can take months or years.

She said when the bank put on these seminars last year, a good-sized crowd turned out. “People are interested in it because they know it’s a problem.”

Call 344-8822 to reserve a seminar seat.

Hillary Davis can be reached at hdavis@yumasun.com or 539-6857.

Article source: http://www.yumasun.com/articles/theft-86406-identity-seminar.html

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Mesa Library to host workshop on identity theft

Sunday, March 31st, 2013

Identity Theft Protection

Identity Theft Protection




Posted: Saturday, March 30, 2013 3:41 pm


Mesa Library to host workshop on identity theft

TRIBUNE

East Valley Tribune

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Don’t become a victim of identity theft. The Mesa Main Library is offering a free workshop on how to avoid the dangers and pitfalls of this virtual crime. The workshop is held 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. April 6.


Guest speaker, Scott Sandell, president of the Phoenix chapter of the Society of Financial Awareness, will guide you through the concerns of identity theft. The workshop will also touch upon the tactics thieves use, risk factors, how to keep information safe, consequences of I.D. theft and what to do if you are a victim.

Founded in 1993, the Society of Financial Awareness is a nationwide nonprofit educational speaker’s bureau. This group of financial professionals volunteer and offer free financial education workshops to companies, churches and organizations across the nation.

To learn more about the Society of Financial Awareness visit, www.sofausa.org. For more information, contact Mesa Librarian Bruce Barnes (480) 644-3572.

  • City of Mesa

More about Identity Theft

  • ARTICLE: Protect yourself from scams
  • ARTICLE: Gilbert man arrested in ID theft probe
  • ARTICLE: Deputies raid Phoenix business in ID theft probe

More about Mesa Library

  • ARTICLE: Mesa’s Stevenson Elementary benefits from community
  • ARTICLE: Mesa libraries expand hours, rolling back cuts from 2009
  • ARTICLE: Borrow a Nook!
  • IMAGE: Mesa Public Library

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Article source: http://www.eastvalleytribune.com/local/mesa/article_cedc08f0-97f8-11e2-be64-0019bb2963f4.html

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Esther Cepeda: Identity theft can steal childhood

Sunday, March 31st, 2013

CHICAGO — A few years back, I profiled an identity theft victim who didn’t learn that someone had been using his common Hispanic name until the IRS came after him for thousands of dollars in unpaid taxes.

State’s attorneys, law enforcement officials and immigration experts told me that legal immigrants, naturalized citizens and U.S.-born residents with common ethnic names were increasingly being targeted by illegal immigrants who resort to stealing plausible identities to find jobs.

As bad as that is for an adult, just imagine how much worse it would be if you were already a long-time victim of identity theft as a minor.

This happened to a Hispanic student at one of the high schools near my home. She was filling out college applications when she discovered that someone else — someone she trusted — had been using her name and Social Security number.

“Children are actually being targeted at a rate 35 times greater than adults,” said Robert Chappell, a lieutenant with the Virginia State Police and the author of the book “Child Identity Theft: What Every Parent Needs to Know.”

“Twenty-seven percent of the children victimized knew the person and it was either a close family member, extended family member or a friend,” said Chappell. “That’s an emotional no-win situation for the child because if they’re one of the 73 percent who didn’t know who did this to them, they’re left with the feeling that their parents couldn’t or wouldn’t protect them. The 27 percent feel personally violated and believe their parent specifically targeted them for victimization, plus they’re often left with the inability to clean the mess up themselves.”

In the case of a relative or close family friend “borrowing” a child’s name, date of birth and Social Security number, the child’s parents might be unwilling to get the authorities involved. “One of the first critical steps is reporting the crime to the police. But many times, family members are unwilling to turn their relatives or family friends into the police, and without that police report, credit agencies are very reluctant to clean up the child’s record,” Chappell said. Many children learn that this crime has been committed against them when they apply for a driver’s license, to college or for jobs.

Are Latinos at special risk? Chappell said, “there are particular traits or characteristics that increase your risk. In particular, if an illegal immigrant is looking for an identity to steal, then they want to steal from someone who either resembles them or is of the same culture so they can pass off the stolen name as their own.”

Safeguard your child’s identity by understanding that their names and data have financial value to others. Get them credit reports that include searches on their Social Security numbers to weed out criminals who use close-enough names and birth dates to fool creditors.

Your kids will benefit from your efforts for the rest of their lives.


Esther Cepeda writes for the Chicago Sun-Times.

Article source: http://host.madison.com/wsj/news/opinion/column/guest/esther-cepeda-identity-theft-can-steal-childhood/article_c6810c48-98be-11e2-a0ae-001a4bcf887a.html

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Overnight Car Damage; Identity Theft Reported in Rye

Sunday, March 31st, 2013

 Identity Theft Reported in Rye

An identity theft was reported to Rye police on March 21 at 1:19 p.m.

Unauthorized Credit Card Account

A Rye man reported that a credit card was taken out in his name on March 22 at 4:49 p.m.

Criminal Mischief, Car Damage on Purchase Street

A man reported that his vehicle was damaged while parked on Purchase Street on March 23 at 2:26 a.m. 

Vehicle Damaged Overnight

A Midland Avenue resident reported a vehicle damaged overnight on March 24 at 11:17 a.m.

Article source: http://rye.patch.com/articles/overnight-car-damage-identity-theft-reported-in-rye

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Identity Theft – Alex J. Stevenson

Sunday, March 31st, 2013

Alex J. Stevenson, 26, of Cherrywood Court, was charged March 23 by Jacksonville Police Department with identity theft, unlawful obtaining of credit cards, larceny, possession of stolen goods and six counts of obtaining property under false pretense.

Stevenson is accused of stealing two debit cards from a man who was staying at a local motel, using these cards on six different occasions to obtain two straight talk phones, clothes, health and beauty items, several posters, a Visa gift card and five electronic tobacco products, valued at valued at $520.82, according to warrants.

Bond was set for $18,000.

Article source: http://www.jdnews.com/news/blotter/identity-theft-alex-j-stevenson-1.119851

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Three River Region residents sentenced in identity theft, tax fraud scheme

Sunday, March 31st, 2013


Department of Justice Seal.jpg




 

MONTGOMERY, Alabama — Three area residents were sentenced for their roles in an identity theft and tax fraud scheme in federal court, the United States Attorney for the Middle District of Alabama released.

Mary Bennett, of Wetumpka, Narendrakumar Patel of Millbrook, of and Eugenia Burks, of Montgomery, were part of a conspiracy to fraudulently obtain both federal income tax refunds as well as state income tax refunds from several different states by using stolen identities to file false tax returns.

Bennett was sentenced Friday to 75 months in prison, Patel was sentenced Thursday to 24 months in prison, and Burks was sentenced Thursday to 18 months in prison.

Bennett had previously pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud, as well as aggravated identity theft, while Burks also had pleaded guilty to conspiracy. Patel pleaded guilty to forging state securities.

According to court documents, fraudulently obtained refund checks were mailed to various addresses used by the conspiracy, while other refunds were obtained through direct deposits into numerous bank accounts controlled by the conspiracy.

Bennett admitted to being the one responsible for actually filing the false tax returns and also to storing stolen identity information at her home. Some of the checks obtained by the scheme were cashed by Patel, the former owner of a check-cashing business, who admitted that he knowingly cashed the forged checks and shared in the proceeds.

“This case is another example of the punishment that will result from stealing people’s identities and fraudulently filing tax returns,” stated Acting U.S. Attorney Sandra Stewart. “If you steal people’s identities and file fraudulent tax returns, you will be caught and you will be punished.”

“These unscrupulous defendants thought they had figured out a clever scheme to thwart the IRS and steal from American taxpayers,” said Special Agent in Charge, Veronica Hyman-Pillot, IRS Criminal Investigation. “As the defendants in this case have learned, stealing from the American people will not be tolerated and you will be held accountable.”

Article source: http://blog.al.com/montgomery/2013/03/three_river_region_residents_s.html

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Local landlords get schooled in student ID theft scams – The Herald

Saturday, March 30th, 2013


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Local landlords get schooled in student ID theft scams

By Rick Seltzer
331-4243 | rseltzer@heraldt.com
March 30, 2013

Landlords who rent to college students can look an awful lot like pawns. At least to identity thieves.
“If they kn …

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Article source: http://www.heraldtimesonline.com/stories/2013/03/30/news.local-landlords-get-schooled-in-student-id-theft-scams.sto

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Kids vulnerable to identity theft

Saturday, March 30th, 2013

A few years back, I profiled an identity theft victim who didn’t learn that someone had been using his very common Hispanic name to obtain jobs and credit until the Internal Revenue Service came after him for thousands of dollars in unpaid taxes.

At the time, state’s attorneys, law enforcement officials and immigration experts told me that legal immigrants, naturalized citizens and U.S.-born residents with common ethnic names were increasingly being targeted by illegal immigrants who resort to stealing plausible identities to find jobs.

As bad as that is for an adult, just imagine how much worse it would be if you were already a longtime victim of identity theft as a minor.

This very thing just happened to a Hispanic student at one of the high schools near my home. She was filling out her applications for college when she discovered that, for years, someone else had been using her name and Social Security number. Worse, the person was someone she had trusted.

“Children are actually being targeted at a rate 35 times greater than adults – one in every 40 households in America has at least one child that has been victimized by ID theft,” said Robert Chappell, a lieutenant with the Virginia State Police and author of the book “Child Identity Theft: What Every Parent Needs to Know.”

“Twenty-seven percent of the children victimized knew the person, and it was either a close family member, extended family member or a friend,” said Chappell, who told me that criminals use the identities to gain credit cards, employment, medical insurance and government benefits.

“That’s an emotional no-win situation for the child because if they’re one of the 73% who didn’t know who did this to them, they’re left with the feeling that their parents couldn’t or wouldn’t protect them. The 27% feel personally violated and believe their parent specifically targeted them for victimization, plus they’re often left with the inability to clean the mess up themselves.”

Children are especially vulnerable in such a situation because the most important thing victims can do is go to the police and report that they’ve had a crime committed against them.

But in the case of a relative or close family friend “borrowing” a child’s name, date of birth and Social Security number, the child’s parents might be unwilling to get the authorities involved.

“One of the first critical steps is reporting the crime to the police. But many times, family members are unwilling to turn their relatives or family friends into the police, and without that police report, credit agencies are very reluctant to clean up the child’s record,” Chappell said. “The standard of proof is the police report, so without it the child is left with damaged credit and it doesn’t go away when they turn 18.”

Much like the young woman I mentioned earlier, many children are learning that this crime has been committed against them when they apply for a driver’s license, to college or for their first jobs.

As for whether Latinos are at an outsized risk for this kind of crime, Chappell noted that he was unaware of any definitive research on the subject. But, he added, “there are particular traits or characteristics that increase your risk. In particular, if an illegal immigrant is looking for an identity to steal, then they want to steal from someone who either resembles them or is of the same culture so they can pass off the stolen name as their own.

“In general, the lower income you have, the more at risk you are for identity theft. People with fewer means don’t have the luxury of safes or lockboxes.”

Safeguard your children’s identity by understanding that their names and data have great financial value to others. Get them thorough credit reports that include manual searches on their Social Security numbers to weed out criminals who frequently use close-enough names and birth dates to fool creditors.

If it uncovers wrongdoing that can be repaired, your kids will benefit from your efforts for the rest of their lives.

Esther J. Cepeda is a columnist for The Washington Post. Email estherjcepeda@washpost.com. Twitter: @estherjcepeda

Article source: http://www.jsonline.com/news/opinion/kids-vulnerable-to-identity-theft-gc9betb-200666361.html

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Grapevine: Supreme Court justice a victim of identity theft?

Saturday, March 30th, 2013

Some fresh pickings from the Political Grapevine:

Inflammatory Remarks

Fellow lawmakers are rebuking Republican Congressman Don Young for using a racial slur.

The Alaska representative was talking about migrant workers on KRBD radio when he said this: “My father had a ranch — we used to have 50-60 wetbacks to pick tomatoes…. It takes two people to pick the same tomatoes now. It’s all done by machine.”

The offending word is a derogatory term referring to immigrants, typically from Mexico. Young apologized, saying he meant no disrespect and that the word was commonly used when he was growing up, but he understands it has a different connotation now.

Speaker John Boehner called Young’s comments offensive and said there was no excuse for using such language.

It Could Happen to You

Anyone can fall victim to identity theft even a Supreme Court justice. It appears Chief Justice John Roberts had his credit card numbers stolen. He has reportedly been paying in cash for purchases all over the Washington region this week.

The Washington Post says he told a clerk at Starbucks that falling victim to credit card theft was the reason why. Huffington Post reports he told someone at a barber shop the same thing.

Wrong Number

An abuse victim who called a helpline number provided by the Lake County Florida Sheriff’s office this week got quite a surprise: “Welcome to America’s hottest talk line. Ladies, to talk to interesting and exciting guys free, press 1 now.”

That’s right — the number is a phone sex line not an abuse hotline.

An Orlando TV station reports the number was printed on a pamphlet given out to thousands of people over the past few years. It is unclear exactly how the mix-up happened.

Party’s Over

Finally, from party hats to the paddy wagon — an office manager for a Florida realtor threw her boss a party that ultimately led to her own arrest.

She planned a surprise party and paid for it with company money without getting permission first. That made her boss suspicious and investigators uncovered that she had embezzled more than $180,000 from the company during the decade she worked there.

Police say she used the money to pay off her credit card debt and treat herself to bonus paychecks.

Article source: http://www.foxnews.com/on-air/special-report-bret-baier/2013/03/29/grapevine-supreme-court-justice-victim-identity-theft

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Suspect held on $100K bond in ID theft case

Saturday, March 30th, 2013

A man accused of identity theft and credit card fraud is being held in Yuma County Jail on a $100,000 cash only bond. That is in addition to a $20,000 bond he is already being held on stemming from drug charges in a separate case.

Pasquale Mykal Menyhert, 31, was arrested March 19 after officers with the Yuma County Narcotics Task Force served a search warrant on a room he was renting at a Howard Johnson Hotel.

The officers allegedly seized about 3.8 grams of methamphetamine during the raid in addition to financial and personal documents and credit card information not belonging to Menyhert.

The stolen documents were later linked to 42-year-old Laurie Adey, who was arrested Wednesday.

According to the Yuma County Sheriff’s Office, Adey, while employed as a waitress at Parrish’s Bar Grill, had stolen multiple credit card numbers and security codes from at least 20 victims between January and March 2013. She is then believed to have given the stolen information to Menyhert, who used it to make fraudulent purchases.

Adey will appear in court before Judge Gregory Stewart at 1 p.m. Friday.

Menyhert will appear in court at 1 p.m. Monday. At that time he could be charged with several felonies including fraudulent schemes and artifices, taking the identity of another, trafficking ID with unlawful intent, and theft and control of a credit card.

By law, state prosecutors have two working days to review police reports and to speak with law enforcement and any alleged victims to decide if they will bring formal charges against Menyhert.

Anyone who has discovered fraudulent charges on their credit card after having been a patron at Parrish’s Bar Grill is asked to contact Investigator McDade of the Yuma County Sheriff’s Office at 783-4427 or 819-2206.

Article source: http://www.yumasun.com/news/credit-86367-card-menyhert.html

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