Archive for March, 2013

$513 Elmbrook Memorial Medical Bill Leads to Identity Theft Charge

Saturday, March 30th, 2013

When a woman learned she owed $513 for medical bills at Elmbrook Memorial Hospital, it didn’t take too long to discover she wasn’t the patient.

When the woman received the bill, she went to the Brookfield Police Department because the patient on file was morbidly obese and a smoker. The woman was slim and not a smoker, according to a criminal complaint filed March 22 in Waukesha County Circuit Court.

The investigation revealed the woman’s roommate, Jennifer C. Martinez, may have used the woman’s identity to receive narcotic drugs for back and side pain between December 2008 and February 2009, according to the criminal complaint.

Martinez, 36, of Milwaukee, is charged with identity theft. If convicted, she faces up to three years in prison and $10,000 in fines.

When Martinez was confronted, the complaint states, she claimed her roommate worked two jobs and went to school and didn’t have time to receive medical treatment for foot pain and an infection. Martinez told police her roommate begged her to use her identity to obtain the prescriptions to treat her foot.

However, the woman told police Martinez’s story was not true and she never gave Martinez permission to use her identity.

Article source: http://brookfield-wi.patch.com/articles/513-elmbrook-memorial-medical-bill-leads-to-identity-theft-charges

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Supreme Court’s John Roberts Has Credit Card Number Stolen

Saturday, March 30th, 2013
Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts  (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
Mark Wilson, Getty Images

No one is safe from identity theft — not even John Roberts, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.

On the morning that the Supreme Court was scheduled to hear arguments about gay marriage, Roberts was overheard telling a barista at his local Starbucks that he would have to pay cash for his coffee, as his credit card information had been stolen. The Associated Press spoke to a Supreme Court spokesperson, who confirmed that someone got hold of one of the Chief Justice’s credit card account numbers. Apparently that meant that Roberts had to use cash while he waited for a new card from the bank.

Supreme Court Justices: They’re just like us!

Roberts isn’t the first high-profile Washington figure to become the victim of identity theft lately — earlier this month, First Lady Michelle Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and the director of the FBI all had their credit reports stolen and posted to a Russian website. Celebrities including Beyonce Knowles were also affected.

If the director of the FBI and the most powerful judge in the country can be impacted by identity theft, how are ordinary citizens supposed to keep their finances safe?

Short of shunning all credit cards and living a cash-only existence, you’re always going to be at some risk for identity theft. We’re not sure how Roberts lost his credit card number, but it could have happened anywhere. Maybe an online retailer where he’d used the card suffered a data breach that we don’t know about. It’s also possible he handed his card to a waiter at a restaurant, who then secretly swiped it in a portable card reader. From there, it would be a simple matter of “cloning” the card for use in stores, or simply using the number to make an online purchase.

In other words, you don’t have to be an idiot to get your credit card number stolen. The circumstances are frequently outside your control.

The good news is that Roberts (and most victims of credit-card theft) can usually nip it in the bud without any financial loss. Federal law caps losses due to credit card fraud at $50, and most credit cards go a step further and offer zero liability on fraudulent purchases. That’s contingent on you spotting the fraudulent charge in a timely manner and alerting the bank, so we might recommend setting up alerts on your credit card to let you know about possible fraudulent transactions; at the very least, you should carefully read your statement every month.

If you see anything out of the ordinary, just call the number on the back of your card and the bank should quickly credit you the amount and send you the new card. Like Roberts, you’ll just have to pay with cash or another card until the replacement arrives.

Matt Brownell is the consumer and retail reporter for DailyFinance. You can reach him at Matt.Brownell@teamaol.com, and follow him on Twitter at @Brownellorama.

Gallery: Top Signs You May Have Been a Victim of ID Theft

Article source: http://www.dailyfinance.com/on/supreme-court-chief-justice-john-roberts-identity-theft/

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Little Rock woman gets 4 years for identity theft, fraud

Saturday, March 30th, 2013

A Little Rock woman has been sentenced to four years in federal prison for bank fraud, identity theft, and credit-card fraud, the U.S. attorney for Western District of Arkansas said Friday.

Latori Sanders, 34, was charged with two counts of bank fraud, four counts of identity theft and one count of credit-card fraud, and pleaded guilty to those charges in November. She was originally indicted on a single count in June 2011.

Sanders was charged after records showed she had cashed six checks, totaling $3,722.43, as well as using Social Security numbers of numerous victims to open three credit cards and apply for electricity service. Sanders also used another person’s identity to open a credit card to pay a fine in Clark County District Court, U.S. Attorney Conner Eldridge said in a statement.

In October 2010, Sanders also obtained several checks and a driver’s license from a neighbor, Eldridge said. After forging the neighbor’s signature, she made $5,392.80 worth of purchases, according to records.

The sentence handed down in Hot Springs federal court.

Article source: http://www.arkansasonline.com/news/2013/mar/29/little-rock-woman-gets-four-years-identity-theft-f/

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SC officials tweet about identity theft

Saturday, March 30th, 2013

COLUMBIA, SC (FOX Carolina) –

Have questions about identity theft? South Carolina consumer officials will have a live chat on Twitter to answer people’s questions.

The South Carolina Department of Consumer Affairs (@SCDCA) is hosting the live chat from noon to 1 p.m. Friday via Twitter. Anyone with questions just has to tweet their questions with the #SCDCAsecure.

“Hosting Twitter chats is the most logical next step in SCDCA’s social media initiative,” said Carri Grube Lybarker, Administrator of SCDCA. “This forum provides a creative, cost-effective way for our agency to connect with South Carolina consumers.”

To follow the chat, Twitter users can read the stream of tweets here.

While the chat is not directly related to identity protection paid for by the state in the wake of the South Carolina Department of Revenue’s security breach last fall, taxpayers looking to protect their identities through a free program only have a few days left.

Taxpayers have until Sunday to sign up for a year of free-credit monitoring through the Experian ProctectMyID Alert program. 

To sign up, taxpayers can enroll over the phone by calling 1-866-578-5422 between 9 a.m. and 9 p.m. ET Monday through Friday and from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. on the weekend.

Those wanting to sign up online can visit protectmyid.com/scdor and enter the code SCDOR123 when prompted. Businesses can also check credit reports and scores through Experian here.

Copyright 2013 FOX Carolina (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

Article source: http://www.foxcarolina.com/story/21828415/state-tweeting-with-taxpayers-about-identity-theft

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Supreme Court’s John Roberts Has Credit Card Number Stolen

Saturday, March 30th, 2013
Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts  (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
Mark Wilson, Getty Images

No one is safe from identity theft — not even John Roberts, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.

On the morning that the Supreme Court was scheduled to hear arguments about gay marriage, Roberts was overheard telling a barista at his local Starbucks that he would have to pay cash for his coffee, as his credit card information had been stolen. The Associated Press spoke to a Supreme Court spokesperson, who confirmed that someone got hold of one of the Chief Justice’s credit card account numbers. Apparently that meant that Roberts had to use cash while he waited for a new card from the bank.

Supreme Court Justices: They’re just like us!

Roberts isn’t the first high-profile Washington figure to become the victim of identity theft lately — earlier this month, First Lady Michelle Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and the director of the FBI all had their credit reports stolen and posted to a Russian website. Celebrities including Beyonce Knowles were also affected.

If the director of the FBI and the most powerful judge in the country can be impacted by identity theft, how are ordinary citizens supposed to keep their finances safe?

Short of shunning all credit cards and living a cash-only existence, you’re always going to be at some risk for identity theft. We’re not sure how Roberts lost his credit card number, but it could have happened anywhere. Maybe an online retailer where he’d used the card suffered a data breach that we don’t know about. It’s also possible he handed his card to a waiter at a restaurant, who then secretly swiped it in a portable card reader. From there, it would be a simple matter of “cloning” the card for use in stores, or simply using the number to make an online purchase.

In other words, you don’t have to be an idiot to get your credit card number stolen. The circumstances are frequently outside your control.

The good news is that Roberts (and most victims of credit-card theft) can usually nip it in the bud without any financial loss. Federal law caps losses due to credit card fraud at $50, and most credit cards go a step further and offer zero liability on fraudulent purchases. That’s contingent on you spotting the fraudulent charge in a timely manner and alerting the bank, so we might recommend setting up alerts on your credit card to let you know about possible fraudulent transactions; at the very least, you should carefully read your statement every month.

If you see anything out of the ordinary, just call the number on the back of your card and the bank should quickly credit you the amount and send you the new card. Like Roberts, you’ll just have to pay with cash or another card until the replacement arrives.

Matt Brownell is the consumer and retail reporter for DailyFinance. You can reach him at Matt.Brownell@teamaol.com, and follow him on Twitter at @Brownellorama.

Gallery: Top Signs You May Have Been a Victim of ID Theft

Article source: http://www.dailyfinance.com/on/supreme-court-chief-justice-john-roberts-identity-theft/

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Police searching for identity theft/auto theft suspect

Friday, March 29th, 2013

Crime watch

OKLAHOMA CITY – Oklahoma City Police Auto Theft Investigators are asking for your help identifying a man suspected of stealing people’s identity to sell stolen cars.

Edward Stupka is the latest victim in this elaborate plot.

Stupka went in to update the tag on his car and got some shocking news.

“When I brought my insurance papers in, the lady ran the tag and said, ‘The car belongs to someone else’ and I said, ‘it’s my car,’” Stupka said.

Police said they believe the suspect stole personal information out of his mailbox and used it to get the title to his car.

“You have somebody who is basically going through a neighborhood and shopping for whichever type car he’s wanting to steal at the time,” Sgt. Jennifer Wardlow said.

The suspect steals victim’s information, makes a fake ID and uses that to get a duplicate title for the victim’s vehicle.

Then he steals a similar car and changes the VIN number to match the ill-gotten title.

“Obviously the man is getting this information, getting the duplicate title so he can go out and sell a stolen car,” Wardlow said. “You have a number of crimes being committed here.”

Stupka served in law enforcement for 27 years before he retired; he hates having his name used to cover a crime.

“I was upset,” he said.

Police have the suspect’s photo from the fake ID he made.

They’re confident someone will come forward with information on him.

As for Stupka, he said, ”I check all my cars now about once every month to make sure they’re still registered to me.”

He’s paying closer attention to what goes on around his home and his quiet neighborhood.

“All I can say is you just have to be aware of what you’re doing,” he said.

If you recognize the suspect, contact CrimeStoppers at (405)-235-7300.

You can remain anonymous and may be eligible for a cash reward.

Article source: http://kfor.com/2013/03/28/police-searching-for-identity-theftauto-theft-suspect/

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Raising the penalty for some identity theft cases (AUDIO)

Friday, March 29th, 2013

Mark Brandenburg

Mark Brandenburg

The Iowa House this week voted to make the penalty for all identity theft cases a felony.

Representative Mark Brandenburg, a Republican from Council Bluffs, urged legislators to endorse the change.

“Currently, if the value of the credit, property or services stolen are under $1000, the person only commits an aggravated misdemeanor,” Brandenburg said.

If the bill becomes law, all identity theft convictions in Iowa — regardless of the size of the theft — would be a class D felony. The sentence for a Class D felony can be up to five years in prison and a fine as high as $7500.

“This will also align Iowa identity theft Code with the current penalties in the Iowa Code for forged checks,” Brandenburg said.

Representative Mary Wolfe, a Democrat from Clinton, was one of just 11 members of the Iowa House who voted against the bill.

“I think this is yet another one of those bills that we’re just enhancing penalties with no evidence that it will make Iowa a safer place to live or will provide any kind of short or long term benefits,” Wolfe said.

Brandenburg argued this change will be a deterrent.

“This last weekend…I was at the grocery store and a constituent (came) up to me and indicated that their identity had been stolen and they had three different, separate withdrawals from their debt account — one for $400, one for $600 and one for $900,” Brandenburg said. “…This individual is keeping his or her theft under $1000, obviously, because they don’t want to be charged with a felony.”

According to Wolfe, prosecutors are “lukewarm” about the change.

“Currently it is fairly standard for prosecutors to plea these down from the felony level to the misdemeanor level,” Wolfe said. “…I think we’re going to see a lot more of these cases going to trial because there’s really no reason to plead guilty.”

An aggravated misdemeanor carries a maximum fine of $6500 and prison time of up to two years. Wolfe said if the bill becomes law, it means someone caught using someone else’s credit card to buy a pack of cigarettes will face a felony charge and up to five years in prison.

“It’s going to be a burden on the court system,” Wolfe said. “It’s going to cost the state a lot more in the way of court-appointed attorney fees and that type of thing and I do think we’ll have a lot more people going to prison.”

A Legislative Services Agency analysis concludes about a dozen more people will be sentenced to state prisons each year if the bill becomes law. In addition, fewer people convicted of identity theft will serve time in county jails. In the past year over 400 identity theft cases were filed in Iowa courts, but more than half were either dismissed or the accused person was acquitted.

The bill increasing identity theft penalties that cleared the House this week must clear the senate, too, and get the governor’s approval before it can become law.

AUDIO of House debate

Article source: http://www.radioiowa.com/2013/03/29/raising-the-penalty-for-some-identity-theft-cases-audio/

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IRS broadens identity theft tax crackdown to all 50 states

Friday, March 29th, 2013


WASHINGTON |
Thu Mar 28, 2013 5:49pm EDT

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Internal Revenue Service on Thursday broadened a crackdown on tax related identity theft to include all 50 states, allowing local law enforcement officers limited access to IRS documents.

Under the IRS program, police can gain some access to potentially fraudulent tax returns to use as evidence in the prosecutions.

The IRS is devoting more time and money stem identity thefts and says it prevented $20 billion in attempted tax refund frauds in fiscal 2012, up from $14 billion a year earlier.

The program partially loosens strict IRS confidentiality requirements for tax documents that in the past prevented local police officers from obtaining information.

Some taxpayer privacy advocates have voiced fears the information could be used for other purposes, but the program requires local police to get waivers from potential victims before the IRS releases individual tax documents.

The program started in April 2012 in Tampa, Florida, which has been the epicenter for ID theft tax refund fraud. Eight other states were added to the program in October.

A Treasury Department watchdog has estimated that tax refund fraud could cost taxpayers $21 billion over the next five years.

The IRS said it coordinated with police in a coast-to-coast identity theft enforcement sweep in January that led to indictments and arrests.

(Reporting by Patrick Temple-West. Editing by Andre Grenon)

Article source: http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/03/28/us-usa-tax-refund-fraud-idUSBRE92R10U20130328

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IRS Expands Law Enforcement Assistance Program on Identity Theft to 50 States

Friday, March 29th, 2013

This weeks Animal Tracks features some very lovable animals who are in need of good homes….

Bad news for allergy sufferers. This spring could be the worst allergy season in memory. Experts say because of  recent rain and warmer than normal temperatures, we can expect more
pollen….

The Dothan Animal Shelter and Save a Pet need your help in placing lovable animals into good homes….

JOB POSTINGMedia Sales Representative – Dothan, AlabamaWDHN in the Dothan, AL market is seeking a Media Sales Representative.  We are looking for an organized and detail-oriented individual of…

The Robertson family of the hit AE reality show, Duck Dynasty, appeared at the Dothan Civic Center on Friday night….

Lieutenant Governor Kay Ivey closed out the week before Spring Break by violating the Alabama Constitution….

Governor Robert Bentley on Thursday signed a series of measures aimed
at increasing efficiency across government agencies….

IRS spokesman Dan Boone offers five tips for the estimated 440,000 Alabamians who will wait until April to file….

2012 Interim Drugs Identified in Deceased Persons Report Released…

Two out of 3 adults in the U.S. are overweight or obese and drinking sugary drinks is adding to the problem. …

Article source: http://dothanfirst.com/fulltext?nxd_id=265092

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Grand jury indicts 3 Raleigh residents in ID theft

Friday, March 29th, 2013

— Three North Carolina residents are charged in what federal prosecutors call an identity theft ring operating in Alabama.

Authorities say 38-year-old Terrance Lavon Campbell; 40-year-old Renee Charlene Pointer and 44-year-old Terrence Donnell Wooten were indicted Wednesday on fraud and identity theft charges.

Court records aren’t yet available to show whether defense attorneys are representing the three, who come from Raleigh, N.C.

The three are accused of possessing more than 350 counterfeit debit and credit cards.

U.S. Attorney Joyce Vance says the case is part of a trend of people coming to northern Alabama to commit identity fraud crimes.

Authorities say federal agents investigated the case with help from officials in the east Alabama city of Oxford and Calhoun County.

Article source: http://www.newsobserver.com/2013/03/28/2785260/ala-grand-jury-indicts-3-nc-residents.html

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