Archive for August, 2013

Group to combat medical identity theft with tech, consumer awareness

Saturday, August 31st, 2013

Pssst… want to buy some protected health information? Organized crime syndicates of hackers
are stealing databases of medical or financial data and reselling them on the black market —
complete with fake driver licenses — for up to $1,300 in tidy downloadable packages called “kitz.”
Willing buyers can present themselves at hospitals or physician offices to get health services
covered by the victim’s insurance plan. That’s one form medical identity theft presently is
taking.

Another common form of medical
identity theft
involves an uninsured relative of an insured patient borrowing an insurance card
to illicitly obtain healthcare.

EHRs are sold without any idea of interoperability. Because of
it, a consumer’s contaminated records can be all over the place.

William Barr,
development coordinator, MIFA

A new nonprofit industry consortium, the Medical Identity Fraud Alliance (MIFA), is tackling the problem head-on.
Charter members include ID Experts, AARP, the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, the Identity
Theft Resource Center and the National Health Care Anti-Fraud Association.

MIFA hopes to enlist 100 public and private healthcare stakeholders, including payers, providers
and vendors, to join its ranks. The key people from those organizations that the group wants at the
table include chief information security officers, anti-fraud
team leaders
, consumer affairs officers and communications teams.

Goals for the organization include researching the scope of medical identity theft and how it
works to develop industry-standard solutions. Furthermore, MIFA plans to raise awareness of the
problem in the healthcare industry and among policymakers and legislators.

Patients hit hardest

Most importantly, though, MIFA wants to get the word out to patients. William Barr, MIFA
development coordinator, pointed out that years ago credit card theft could cause months (or
longer) of inconvenience for consumers, and sometimes considerable expenses. Today, the typical
incident usually involves no cost to the consumer, only the minor inconvenience of waiting for a
new credit card with a new number delivered through the mail.

That improvement happened over the last decade or so, thanks to a concerted effort on behalf of
the credit card industry to educate consumers to be vigilant for suspicious transactions showing up
on their statements. At the same time, credit card fraud departments have begun proactively
double-checking with customers when they notice anomalous transactions. Such close monitoring of
transactions in healthcare, Barr said, would go a long way to arresting
the problem
of medical identity theft.

“The financial industry has done a good job of educating and engaging — deputizing —
consumers,” said Rick Kam, president and co-founder of ID Experts in Portland, Ore. “We need them
in the middle of the fight, protecting themselves and their families.”

Payers and hospitals involved in medical identity theft incur many costs, including time and
bandwidth spent untangling the fraud, as well as the services they provide to the thief, which
they’re unlikely to be reimbursed. But the hardest-hit victim is the patient whose identity was
stolen: It can take months to extricate himself from the situation financially, that is if his
insurance plan and employer hasn’t dropped him. Imagine, for example, what it would look like to an
employer if your health record and the local police blotter “proved” you to be a habitual drug
seeker cruising the region’s emergency rooms.

Recent research, Barr said, showed that payers cancel 40% of medical ID theft victims’ policies.
“It can be financially devastating,” he said, adding that the intermingling of the thief’s data and
the victim’s can be even more problematic, possibly injurious — for example, if the victim is
rushed to a hospital with a burst appendix, but the ID thief indicated in the medical records that
it had already been removed, or somehow got drug allergies expunged from the record or changed
blood-type data.

Interoperability woes a barrier to fixing medical ID theft

Worst of all, because interoperability
issues
force many health data systems to operate in proprietary silos, it can be a difficult to
correct the victim’s medical records. It can take a year and sometimes thousands of dollars. In
some cases, errant records never get corrected.

More on fraud prevention

Big data creates need for bigger
defenses against ID theft

Information
security vs. fraudsters
: Who wins?

The lowdown on holistic
fraud prevention

“One of the characteristics of the healthcare industry now is that it’s hugely fragmented,” Barr
said. “It allows for EHRs to be sold without any idea of interoperability. We see that continuing,
and because of [it], a consumer’s contaminated records can be all over the place. In fact, the
consumer might not even know where their contaminated records are, because the perpetrator might
have gone to a care provider the consumer doesn’t even know about. It significantly magnifies the
problem.”

That being said, the payer plays an integral role in helping clean up medical records that have
been affected by identity theft. They hold the most data and can track the fraudulent activity
between providers, directing the victimized patient to the various providers the thief used. On the
tech side, MIFA advocates stronger patient authentication beyond static insurance cards. Barr said
that U.S. healthcare is “primitive” compared to many developed nations, and could improve
authentication with smart cards, which many European nations have adopted and some
U.S. legislators have considered
. The trick, he concluded, will be to come up with
authentication technology that isn’t too expensive for small physician practices to implement.

Kam added that CMS has done much research in the realm of fraud detection and prevention to cut
down abuse of taxpayer funds. Their authorities can help the private sector attain the same level
of success.

Let us know what you think about the story; email Don Fluckinger, news director, or contact
@DonFluckinger on
Twitter.




Article source: http://searchhealthit.techtarget.com/news/2240204468/Group-to-combat-medical-identity-theft-with-tech-consumer-awareness

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Protecting yourself from identity theft

Saturday, August 31st, 2013


This section displays the last 30 news articles that were published.




Updated 08/18/2011 05:18 PM



By: Erin Connolly

It’s one of the fastest growing crimes across the country and unfortunately, it’s all too common here in New York. In fact, the Empire State ranks eighth in the nation for reported identity thefts. Our Erin Connolly has more on how you can protect yourself.

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ALBANY, N.Y. — In these days of swiping and typing, we’re all at risk for identity theft.

Captain Frank Pace of the New York State Police Computer Crimes Unit said, “Bottom line is it could happen to anyone.”

That was the focus of Thursday’s identity theft summit in Albany. Hosted by LifeLock and the FBI Law Enforcement Executive Development Association, law enforcement officials from across the state learned how to better understand the crime and about new scams.

Pace said, “It’s very important for members of state police and all law enforcement to train and become aware of reported identity thefts and how to investigate those types of crimes.”

The day also included a demo of the newest skimming hardware used by criminals, highlighting just how easily someone’s identity can be stolen.

And law enforcement officials tell us there are ways to protect yourself.

Pace said, “Checking your statements from your financial institutions and check to see if there are charges on there that you didn’t make.”

Other advice includes getting a yearly credit report from the three credit bureaus and being wary of scam emails and anything you post on the internet.

Paige Hanson of LifeLock said, “If we were all on the same wireless network and it was not password protected, I could get on your computer and see exactly what you’re typing so think about that before you connect to free wireless.”

And if you do become a victim, experts say report it right away.

Article source: http://rochester.ynn.com/content/all_news/553994/protecting-yourself-from-identity-theft/?ap=1&MP4

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Facebook identity fraud is up and you need to be careful

Saturday, August 31st, 2013

Social media juggernaut Facebook is the primary online fixture for a lot of folks (1.15 billion monthly active users as of June 2013, to be exact) – this is probably why it’s constantly under attack or serious scrutiny. The social network is not only plagued by lawsuits, viruses, catfishers, money lenders, and the government’s watchful eye… with the amount of people freely offering all sorts of pertinent details about their personal lives on Facebook, a rise in identity fraud on the site is bound to happen.

A report from The Japan News details many scenarios wherein Facebook users are duped into surrendering personal information through fake posts that solicit likes, votes, or link clicks. Messages have been found to lead to a page that asks users for contact details (like a phone number), and since these links are believed to be sent by a “friend,” they think nothing of it and acquiesce, ending up the unwitting victims of identity theft.

These fraudsters and hackers are known to take advantage of the relationships people build on Facebook, banking on the fact that most users mindlessly peruse their News Feed out of habit. Sometimes, scammers even take great lengths at fooling users by venturing out of Facebook and reaching out to targets via other methods. Greg Boyle, senior global product marketing manager for antiviral software company Trend Micro, recently wrote about his experience: He had received an email notification claiming a person (who was not on his Facebook friends list) tagged him in photos. At first glace, the email looked legitimate and similar to one that’s generated by Facebook when you have email notifications set up in your settings, but upon further investigation, Boyle found that the email he received was fraudulent and was actually an attempt at a Blackhole Exploit Kit (BHEK) spam run: Links in the email redirect the user to a different page, causing malware to be automatically downloaded into their system. “Evidence of past BHEK runs show they generally use financial institutions, e-commerce and global events as lures that get users to click on links and secretly install malware that steals banking credentials and personal information etc.,” Boyle wrote.

If you’ve seen the movie Catch Me If You Can, then you know it’s based on a true story about the person Leonardo DiCaprio portrays in it – conman turned FBI security expert Frank Abagnale. Earlier this year, Abagnale made an appearance at the Advertising Week Europe conference in London and spoke to The Guardian about the dangers of identity theft on Facebook.

“If you tell me your date of birth and where you’re born [on Facebook] I’m 98 percent [of the way] to stealing your identity,” Abagnale warned. “Never state your date of birth and where you were born [on personal profiles], otherwise you are saying ‘come and steal my identity’.” Additionally, he recommends never using a passport-style photo as your Facebook profile picture – group photos are deemed much safer – and refrain from making comments that reveal too much. “What [people] say on a Facebook page stays with them,” he said. “Every time you say you ‘like’ or ‘don’t like’ you are telling someone [things like] your sexual orientation, ethnic background, voting record.”

Abagnale also commented about U.K. privacy laws, which he has “tremendous amount of respect for” and believes to be more advanced compared to the laws in place in the U.S. This may be true, but it doesn’t stop the U.K. from experiencing its own troubles with identity fraud, which is still on the constant rise – 82 percent of all cases happen on the Web. Similarly, out of 700 U.S. teens surveyed, 75 percent have been found to be careless with their personal information, making themselves susceptible to online crime.

Be vigilant, keep your Facebook account safe

Should a user be locked out of his or her Facebook account, the social network has an advisory available on what could be done to confirm identity and recover access. Additionally, under Facebook’s Security settings, users have an option to add Trusted Contacts, or three “friends that can securely help you if you ever have trouble accessing your account”; these contacts will receive security codes which they need to send to the user, and if all codes are accurate, the user can confirm their identity and reset their password. While this may be a suitable fail-safe for some, any experienced hacker or fraudster may be able to easily pretend to be you and make contact with your trusted friends. We’ve reached out to Facebook and asked if this is possible and will update this story once we hear back.

In the end, the only person responsible for your information security is you. In the same way technology advances, so do the security issues that go with them. Apart from choosing a hard-to-crack password (which rules out birthdays, middle names, pet names, and the word “password”), there are other things you can do with your Facebook account settings to make it increasingly harder for identity stealers to target you.

Review your Privacy settings. Restrict your profile to Friends Only. Where it says “Who can see my stuff,” choose anything EXCEPT Public. Click on “Limit Past Posts” to change the setting of your old posts to Friends Only. This is important if you’re not sure if any of your old posts (which may contain personal information that can be used to steal your identity) were ever set to Public.

facebook privacy settings

While you’re there, set “Who can contact me” and “Who can look me up” to Friends or Friends of Friends to limit the number of people who can find you using your email or phone number.

Check out your Security settings. Click on Secure Browsing and enable the option. Also enable Login Notifications so you can be told through email or text message whenever a new computer or mobile device is used to log into your Facebook account. Click on Login Approvals and check the option that requires a security code before giving account access on unknown Web browsers – this will pull up a step-by-step on how to set it up on your mobile phone (Note: For this to work, you need to have the official Facebook app installed on your phone).

facebook security settings

As an added precaution, make a habit out of checking Active sessions. If you see any activity that wasn’t initiated by you, click End Activity.

facebook security settings - active sessions

Article source: http://www.digitaltrends.com/social-media/if-youre-not-careful-you-could-be-the-next-victim-of-identity-fraud-on-facebook/

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How to Prevent Child Identity Theft Part One: How Parents Can Help

Saturday, August 31st, 2013

Child identity theft is on the rise due in large part to the popularity of online gaming and social networks and the ever-increasing digital world we live in. In fact, according to a recent report from Carnegie Mellon’s CyLab, the rate of identity theft for children is 51 times higher than the rate for adults. Identity theft for children can be pretty damaging, as most cases go undetected for years. I’ve seen cases where children have thousands in credit card debt and multiple mortgages. I’ve also seen cases where a child’s social security number has been used to secure a job or receive government benefits.

Why is identity theft rising? One reason may be because child identity protection awareness among parents is at a low point. At CSID, we conducted a 2013 Child Identity Theft survey and found that only half of the parents we polled were aware that child identity theft is a growing trend. And out of the parents who are aware that child identity theft cases are rising, more than half of them — 52 percent — are not currently taking any measures to prevent the misuse of their child’s online information. The repercussions of child identity theft can be damaging to a child’s financial future and the issue shouldn’t be ignored.

To reduce the number of child identity theft cases, it’s important for parents to get in the know. Here are a few tips for parents to help prevent child identity theft from occurring.

1. Ask about security policies
Your child’s school and extracurricular activity coordinators should know how your child’s information is being used, how their files will be guarded and how this personal data is being disposed of. Don’t add your child’s social security number or date of birth to forms where it doesn’t seem necessary. If you have objections to adding personal information about your child on a form, don’t be afraid to speak up. The FTC says that you have the legal right to protect your child’s personal information.

2. Stay up to date on technology
As technologies and popular social networking platforms shift, be sure to stay up-to-date on what your kids are using and how these networks share information. A hot new app may be revealing more of your child’s personal information than you’d like. Major social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook are also a hotspot for hackers, as they house a lot of personal data. If you hear of a data breach, make sure your child changes their passwords immediately. CSID has a newsroom Tumblr that keeps you informed of the latest security threats out there.

3. Talk to your children about online dangers — including identity theft
It’s important for you to teach your children about the dangers of online predators, cyberbullying and the impact of child identity theft. Teach them the value of locking up their personal information online with strong passwords, just as you lock up your home to keep bad guys out. Strong passwords are long, do not include any personal references that can easily be found on social networking sites (like a pet’s name, your street address or your phone number) and should have complicated number and symbol patterns. You can also share with them these five pieces of information kids should never share online.

4. Use monitoring and identity protection services
Using monitoring and identity protection services for your children can help alert you if someone is misusing your child’s information. The trouble with child identity theft is that most cases go unnoticed for years, so by the time a child is old enough to open a bank loan, their credit has been ruined. You can also responsibly and respectfully monitor your children’s online activities by checking on the information they have displayed in their profiles and making sure their comments do not give away too much personal information. GigaOM’s Mathew Ingram recently wrote a series about monitoring his daughter’s online activities — a recommended read for parents who monitor or are considering monitoring their child’s online activities.

5. Talk to other parents
Find out how much other parents know about child identity theft and share online monitoring tips. The Identity Theft Resource Center provides many great articles for parents about child identity theft, including the dangers of social networks, how foster children are key targets for identity theft and many others. Building a safe online community for your children can help reduce fraudulent activity online.

In “How to Prevent Child Identity Theft Part Two,” we will explore how businesses can help prevent child identity theft from occurring.



Follow Joe Ross on Twitter:

www.twitter.com/@CSIdentity

Article source: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/joe-ross/how-to-prevent-child-identity-theft_b_3843908.html

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FBI Nabs Florida Cop for Identity Theft

Saturday, August 31st, 2013

Veteran Sweetwater detective William Garcia was so tight with
one of his informants that their families would even vacation
together, authorities say.

But when the informant got caught making counterfeit credit
cards, he turned on the police officer and played an undercover
role for the FBI.

On Wednesday, FBI anti-corruption agents arrested Garcia on
charges of using phony credit cards himself at Miami Beach, Key
Largo and other South Florida establishments, and stealing other
people’s card numbers. A federal magistrate judge in Miami granted
Garcia a $200,000 bond, and the Sweetwater Police Department
suspended him without pay.

Article source: http://reason.com/24-7/2013/08/30/fbi-nabs-florida-cop-for-identity-theft

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Benicia Police Log: Probation Violation and Identity Theft

Friday, August 30th, 2013

Benicia Police
Department

6:33
a.m.: Officers were unable to determine what activated an alarm at a First
Street business.

7:50
a.m.: A worker at a West Industrial Way business failed to turn off the burglar
alarm in a timely fashion.

9:07
a.m.: A citizen reported a broken window on a vehicle.  Investigating officers found the window was
damaged a while ago.

9:13
a.m.: A vehicle stolen in Vallejo was discovered abandoned in Benicia on Lopes
road.

9:36 a.m.:
A citizen on Banbury was seeking advice from an officer regarding a child
custody issue.

10:11
a.m.: Police opened an investigation into a case of identity theft reported on
First Street.

6:27
p.m.: Officers were unable to determine what activated an alarm at a Jefferson
Street residence.

9:47
p.m.: A 33-year-old Fairfield man was arrested for probation violations.  The arrest occurred on East Industrial Way.

Editor’s Note: 
Sometimes you might find items in the police log that seem humorous but please
remember, the men and women whose job it is to protect us rarely find it funny
when they are approaching a drunk person or a building where the alarm is going
off.

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If there’s something in this article you
think 
should be corrected, or if something else is amiss, call editor
JB Davis at 707-628-0051 or email him at benicia@patch.com.

Article source: http://benicia.patch.com/groups/police-and-fire/p/benicia-police-log-probation-violation-and-identity-theft

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Det. William Garcia charged with identity theft

Friday, August 30th, 2013

MIAMI (AP) — A South Florida police officer is facing federal fraud charges.

The FBI arrested Sweetwater detective William Garcia on Wednesday. The U.S. Attorney’s Office reports that Garcia is charged using a counterfeit access device and aggravated identity theft.

Authorities say Garcia participated in a counterfeit credit card scheme in late 2010 through 2011. Garcia’s criminal activities reportedly included using his own credit card to make fraudulent credit cards, hiding evidence when a co-conspirator was arrested and ultimately possessing and using counterfeit cards that Garcia claimed had been seized during the course of his duties.

Garcia’s arrest comes just weeks after Sweetwater Mayor Manuel Marono was arrested and charged in an unrelated kickback scheme involving federal grants.

It wasn’t immediately clear if Garcia had an attorney.

– See more at: http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/F/FL_OFFICER_FRAUD_FLOL-?SITE=FLTAMSECTION=STATETEMPLATE=#sthash.VjF8fAUZ.dpuf

MIAMI (AP) — A South Florida police officer is facing federal fraud charges.

The FBI arrested Sweetwater detective William Garcia on Wednesday. The U.S. Attorney’s Office reports that Garcia is charged using a counterfeit access device and aggravated identity theft.

Authorities say Garcia participated in a counterfeit credit card scheme in late 2010 through 2011. Garcia’s criminal activities reportedly included using his own credit card to make fraudulent credit cards, hiding evidence when a co-conspirator was arrested and ultimately possessing and using counterfeit cards that Garcia claimed had been seized during the course of his duties.

Garcia’s arrest comes just weeks after Sweetwater Mayor Manuel Marono was arrested and charged in an unrelated kickback scheme involving federal grants.

It wasn’t immediately clear if Garcia had an attorney.

– See more at: http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/F/FL_OFFICER_FRAUD_FLOL-?SITE=FLTAMSECTION=STATETEMPLATE=#sthash.VjF8fAUZ.dpuf

MIAMI (AP) — A South Florida police officer is facing federal fraud charges.

The FBI arrested Sweetwater detective William Garcia on Wednesday. The U.S. Attorney’s Office reports that Garcia is charged using a counterfeit access device and aggravated identity theft.

Authorities say Garcia participated in a counterfeit credit card scheme in late 2010 through 2011. Garcia’s criminal activities reportedly included using his own credit card to make fraudulent credit cards, hiding evidence when a co-conspirator was arrested and ultimately possessing and using counterfeit cards that Garcia claimed had been seized during the course of his duties.

Garcia’s arrest comes just weeks after Sweetwater Mayor Manuel Marono was arrested and charged in an unrelated kickback scheme involving federal grants.

It wasn’t immediately clear if Garcia had an attorney.

Copyright 2013 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Article source: http://www.wptv.com/dpp/news/state/det-william-garcia-charged-with-identity-theft

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More arrests made in Sedgwick County ID theft investigation

Friday, August 30th, 2013

More arrests made in Sedgwick County ID theft investigation

CREATED Aug. 28, 2013


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The Sedgwick County Sheriff’s Department has arrested three more people in an ongoing investigation of an identity theft ring.

The case is the result of a search warrant that was served on a Wichita area home about three weeks ago. That’s when deputies discovered mail, credit cards and Social Security cards belonging to about 150 people. The items had been stolen from mailboxes and cars in the area.

Lt. David Mattingly said investigators have been meeting with other law enforcement agencies, and additional crimes were discovered. He said a trailer and three motorcycles have been recovered and returned to their owners. Two of the three new suspects are expected to face charges of burglary, auto theft and possession of narcotics.    One of the suspects had a first court appearance on Wednesday. 19-year-old Devin McCart of Wichita is charged with burglary, two counts of theft and possession of a controlled substance (methamphetamine). 

A 23-year-old woman was arrested for unrelated charges at the time of the search warrant in early August. She is facing charges in the identity theft case.

Mattingly said the case has grown to the point where it could involve crimes in surrounding counties, and there could be more arrests.

 

Article source: http://www.kfdi.com/news/local/221503401.html

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Protecting Against Identity Theft on Campus

Friday, August 30th, 2013

Story Created:
Aug 29, 2013 at 12:41 PM CDT

Story Updated:
Aug 29, 2013 at 1:00 PM CDT

Article source: http://www.kcrg.com/news/local/Protecting-Against-Identity-Theft-on-Campus-221669661.html

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Hundreds at risk of identity theft after personal records dumped in public …

Thursday, August 29th, 2013

MERRIAM, Kan. – A box full of personal employee records found in a public recycling dumpster in Merriam, Kan., has left hundreds of people at risk of identity theft.

A coupon collector who did not want to be identified said he was looking for a coupon for Miracle Whip when he found the private information.

“I noticed files in the dumpsters, and I took a look at the files, and I noticed social security numbers and driving records,” the collector said. “If that were my information, I would expect that that would be shredded and disposed of properly, not thrown in a recycle dumpster or any other kind of dumpster.”

The documents all had Washington Inventory Service on the top, and an employee from the company initially told 41 Action News that leaving the documents in the dumpster was perfectly legal because it was private dumpster on private property.

“I see a dumpster that says Community Magazine Newspaper Recycling,” the collector said. “If you want to find one of these dumpsters you go out on the Internet and type in ‘recycle dumpster,’ and it will show you where the dumpsters are, which seems to be public domain.”

The employee from Washington Inventory Service later changed her story and said the company was shredding old documents inside the building all day Wednesday, but one box was thrown in the recycle bin by mistake.

The employee removed the cardboard box from the dumpster but left all the records.

She declined to explain why she didn’t shred the records.

Around midnight, 41 Action News went back to the dumpster and the confidential documents were gone.

Copyright 2013 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Article source: http://www.kshb.com/dpp/news/local_news/hundreds-at-risk-of-identity-theft-after-personal-records-dumped-in-public-recycling-bin

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