Archive for December, 2013

Police Report Stolen Vehicles, Identity Theft, Marijuana Distribution

Tuesday, December 31st, 2013

The following is a listing of reported Gwinnett Police activity between Dec. 11 – 26, 2013 for the city of Peachtree Corners. This listing is based on reports from for ZIP code 30092 only. has not yet updated its mapping service to include the new city of Peachtree Corners. Until that time, it is not possible to determine the crimes in the city’s other ZIP codes because they are shared with several other surrounding cities. Until Crimemapping updates its mapping service, this report will be limited to ZIP code of 30092. We will begin reporting for the entire city when the company’s mapping service is updated.

Dec. 11: Shoplifter was caught and arrested on the 5100 block of Peachtree Parkway at 2 p.m.

Dec. 17: Auto break-in was reported on the 6500 block of Rosecommon Drive at 10 p.m.

Dec. 17: A second auto break-in was reported on the 6500 block of Rosecommon Drive at 10 p.m.

Dec. 19: Stolen vehicle was reported on the 7000 block of Jimmy Carter Blvd. at 12:01 a.m.

Dec. 19: A home burglary was reported on the 100 block of Valley Rd. at 7:25 a.m.

Dec. 19: An auto break-in was reported on the 300 block of Research Ct. at 12 p.m.

Dec. 21: Identity theft was reported on the 400 block of Tech Pkwy. at 8 a.m.

Dec. 21: A stolen vehicle was reported on the 6400 block of Holcomb Way at 9:05 a.m.

Dec. 22: A DUI arrest was made at the intersection of S. Old Peachtree Road and Peachtree Industrial Blvd. at 2:42 a.m.

Dec. 24: A stolen vehicle was reported on the 5900 block of Peachtree Industrial Blvd. at 4:30 p.m.

Dec. 25: A stolen vehicle was reported on the 400 block of Tree Corners Pkwy. at 3:17 a.m.

Dec. 26: An auto break-in was reported on the 5600 block of Peachtree Pkwy at 2 a.m.

Dec. 26: An arrest was made for marijuana with the intent to distribute at the intersection of Amhurst Drive and Jones Bridge Rd. at 11:52 p.m.

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OUR OPINION: Stronger action needed against identity theft

Tuesday, December 31st, 2013

    Forty million stolen card numbers here and 45 million stolen card numbers there, and pretty soon you’re talking about a real problem.

    Bank robberies used to be the financial crime that most often made headlines. But since the 1930s, most bank customers themselves have been protected (thanks to deposit insurance), so they weren’t personally affected by the news.

    That was then. This is now: The recent revelations of a data breach at Target Corp. made tens of millions of people scramble, as they logged on to check their accounts, change their PIN numbers and wonder whether their purchase of a tie for Dad put their finances at risk.

    Congress should and probably will respond, experts say. The weak link that has been exposed by episodes such as the Target breach and the 2007 theft of more than 45 million card numbers from the parent company of T.J. Maxx leaves people too vulnerable and demands a national fix.

    Here are some ideas for Congress to consider:

    n For retailers, one key vulnerability is this: Banks and credit unions have to meet data-protection standards that retail outlets do not, says B. Dan Berger, president and CEO of the National Association of Federal Credit Unions.

    “As many cases of identity theft have been attributed to data breaches, and as identity theft continues to rise, any entity that stores financial or personally identifiable information should be held to minimum standards for protecting such data,” Berger wrote in a recent letter to Congress.

    “Under the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act, credit unions and other financial institutions are required to meet certain criteria for safekeeping consumers’ personal information. Unfortunately, there is no comprehensive regulatory structure akin to Gramm-Leach-Bliley that covers retailers, merchants and others who collect and hold sensitive information.

    “NAFCU strongly supports the passage of legislation requiring any entity responsible for the storage of consumer data to meet standards similar to those imposed on financial institutions under the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act,” Berger suggests.

    Another NAFCU idea: There are rules prohibiting merchants from retaining certain kinds of credit- and debit-card information electronically. But “many entities do not respect this prohibition and store sensitive personal data in their systems, which can be breached easily in many cases,” the association claims.

    n “Many nations have done away with the magnetic strips still used in the United States and moved to chips embedded in the cards that are harder to compromise,” Bloomberg News reported.

    “The U.S. payments industry has said it will replace magnetic strips by 2020.” But according to Dan Kaminsky, co-founder and chief scientist at the New York-based cybersecurity firm White Ops, “that deadline may be moved up in the wake of this (Target Corp.) incident.”

    n There’s one sure way to make retailers start treating customers’ information with more care, and that is to hold the companies more accountable when the information is stolen, says Sen. Robert Menendez, D-N.J.

    “At a news conference Thursday outside a Target store in Jersey City, Menendez said he wants to make sure retailers are ‘putting their customers ahead of profits,’” Newsday reported.

    If a company doesn’t invest in security to ensure customer data can’t be stolen, he said, “then you have to question why a company would not do that.”

    Legend has it that when Willie Sutton was asked why he robbed banks, he replied, “Because that’s where the money is.” The money still is in banks. But today, it’s also in electronic databases, and those are a lot easier for criminals to knock over. Congress should act.

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    Experiencing identity theft – Leader

    Tuesday, December 31st, 2013

    I was sitting at my desk, typing up a news story at the Leader-Telegram’s office in Eau Claire.

    My credit card meanwhile was paying for groceries and movie tickets in South Africa.

    Several years ago my identity was stolen. Though the financial damage was minimal and quickly reversed, it was a feeling of helplessness I didn’t forget.

    The recent Target credit and debit card data breach reminded me of that.

    I’m a regular at the Eau Claire store and made a purchase between Nov. 27 and Dec. 15.

    So far I haven’t seen any fraudulent charges on my account since the major retailer disclosed that millions of card numbers had been stolen during the thick of the Christmas shopping season.

    My credit union notified me it’s on high alert. I’m checking my online credit card statements daily.

    Target says it is taking steps to contain the damage. For the company, it’s necessary to rebuild consumer confidence in swiping a card in store checkout lines.

    In a Minneapolis Star Tribune story, Craig Johnson, president of Consumer Growth Partners, noted that Target’s store traffic fell 3 percent on the Saturday before Christmas, when compared to the same day last year. Other stores saw growth. Johnson said the credit card theft was the single biggest factor in Target’s decline, according to the article published last week.

    Bad memories

    For those who have never gotten their identity stolen and used for a thief’s financial gain, here’s what my experience felt like:

    A company claiming to be a credit security agency called me on my cellphone while at work. I didn’t recognize the number, but I still picked up the call.

    The voice on the line asked if I was making purchases in South Africa — in a city that I’d never heard of and couldn’t possibly spell.

    My blood went cold and my skin became clammy.

    Ever leery of scams, I asked for the credit security company’s information to verify they weren’t in fact another scam posing as someone trying to protect me.

    It checked out.

    As I was on the phone, the caller even updated me when new purchases went through.

    The thief charged movie tickets, a convenience store stop and groceries to my card.

    It was the epitome of helplessness as somebody halfway around the globe was having a good time — courtesy of money I’d worked for and saved.

    I asked for it to stop immediately and the credit company was able to kill the card.

    Making sure I didn’t pay a single cent of those fraudulent purchases was a little tougher. I had a few calls to my credit union to fix my bill.

    In the end, I think I still picked up a dollar or two of that lowlife’s spending spree, which still galls me.

    Seeking safety

    I never found exactly how my financial info got out there. I’d stuck to reputable online retailers, primarily Amazon.

    Nonetheless, with identity theft becoming increasingly common, just one weak link in the chain of custody of one’s financial information can send it out naked into the world.

    Such was the case with the Target breach.

    It’s not enough anymore for companies to offer low prices, free shipping, fast service, good customer service or a wide selection. They must show they can be trusted with our personal electronic financial information, which is becoming more widely used.

    Several friends told me that they don’t want to pre-emptively cancel credit cards they used at Target because they are tied to online bill paying. They also have memorized the card number – a sign that buying over the phone or online has grown significantly.

    Advice from my credit union cautioned me not to go all the way to canceling my card, but said to be vigilant. From past experiences, they’ve done their job to reverse or cancel fraudulent charges.

    And on Saturday I returned to Target for the first time since the news broke.

    This time I paused before using the same credit card I did a month ago.

    I’m sure a lot of other customers did too.

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    PERSONAL FINANCE: Tips to help prevent identity theft

    Tuesday, December 31st, 2013

    Posted Dec. 29, 2013 @ 2:01 am

    Canandaigua, N.Y.

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    Attention Target shoppers: How to guard against ID theft

    Tuesday, December 31st, 2013

    Services, garage sales, pets, items for sale

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    Gainesville man caught up in holiday identity theft at retailer

    Tuesday, December 31st, 2013

    Gainesville resident Joseph Bush has always been careful with his bank cards, so he was surprised to learn this month his checking account had been breached.

    “I usually check my checking account every few days, and it showed $200 overdrawn,” he said. “The charge was for $780 to Apple Computer in California.”

    After seeing news reports of a Target security breach, Bush realized he was likely one of the victims.

    “I couldn’t figure out where in the world it came from. I never let my card out of my sight — I don’t even use it in restaurants because you can’t see them run the card,” he said. “The next day I saw it on the news about Target.”

    The nation’s second-largest discounter acknowledged in December that data connected to about 40 million credit and debit card accounts was stolen as part of a breach that started on Thanksgiving weekend.

    Bush said he spent about $50 at the store on Nov. 25 and Nov. 27.

    The fraudulent charge was resolved when Bush contacted the store. He was told someone had used his card and address, but gave a different name.

    The name and another address for the purchaser were handed over to the Secret Service, which is the investigating agency, Bush was told.

    His bank, Wells Fargo, is working to refund the overdraft fee, in addition to the fraudulent charge, he said.

    The experience was alarming for him, he said, as a person four years retired and living on a fixed income of pension and Social Security.

    “I try to be careful,” he said. “I mostly use my debit card, and I’ve become accustomed to it, and I don’t think anything about using it at large places like Wal-Mart or Target or Sears.

    “It’s just something you don’t think about until it hits you, and then you think, ‘Oh boy, I better be more careful,’” he said. “I’m just going to have to think twice before running it now.”

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    Credit cards with chips reduce risk of identity theft

    Monday, December 30th, 2013

    Chris Gilpin of Deltona is a senior consultant with the National Crime Stop Program, a nonprofit organization that hosts seminars on identity theft and personal safety. His company, Signal Vault, also sells a device to prevent criminals from wirelessly reading credit-card data. He talked with Sentinel reporter Sara K. Clarke about credit-card security after the recent breach at Target stores nationwide.


    How does credit-card processing work, and what’s the difference between a swipe card and a chip card?

    When you swipe your card in a store, it’s going to be transferring your information from the magnetic strip on the back of your card to the terminal. And then the terminal’s going to communicate with the store’s bank. Then there’s a conversation between the store’s bank and your bank — Wells Fargo or whoever it may be — that is going to see if the money’s available in the bank. And then that charge is going to be approved or denied. …

    The strip on the back of your card is not encrypted. If you swipe it through a $5 skimmer you buy online, you’re going to get the person’s entire name, card number, expiration date and CVV code [the three digits on the back of the card]. … Now, the merchant can pay a little extra and have each transaction encrypted, meaning it’s going to look like a big garbled mess as it’s transferring. … If you make a purchase with a chip card, it’s encrypted right away. It doesn’t matter if the store’s doing it or not.

    In light of the Target security breach, how can companies protect customers?

    If you accept credit cards and debit cards, you have to make sure that you’re being PCI-compliant. [The Payment Card Industry sets security standards.] If not, you’re going to be looking at huge fines. … And then they also should realize that we are transitioning now, that there is going to be a huge push from the strip-card payments to the chip-card payments. So, they need to prepare for that, and it’s pretty easy to do with their current terminals to set up a system where they can accept chip cards.

    If a breach does occur, what should companies do?

    They need to report it as soon as they realize there’s been a breach. The breach could’ve been an employee that was stealing numbers. That breach could’ve been some type of malicious software that was installed. Small companies need to realize that they are a larger target than the big companies because they can sometimes slip under the radar with PCI compliancy.

    What do consumers need to know to protect themselves?

    If they shopped at Target during the time period, Nov. 27 to Dec. 15, they have to cancel their cards. … Many experts in the news recently have been saying, ‘Monitor your accounts,’ which is great advice in a normal circumstance. But now, when you know your information’s been stolen, there’s no point in monitoring. Cancel that card. Cut ties with that old number because that’s what’s putting you at risk right now. …Unfortunately, the banks are overwhelmed, and it is taking longer than normal for them to issue you that new card.

    You’ve said banks may use this time to issue the new chip cards. What do consumers need to know about those?

    The transactions are encrypted. However, there are applications out there that bypass that encryption. Almost any encryption can be bypassed. That’s what hackers do. … They buy these scanners online relatively inexpensively, for $20 to $50. They can do this from 20 feet away from you. That puts everyone with a chip card at risk if it’s not being protected.

    How do you protect it?

    Typically an aluminum or metal wallet, which you can find in any store nowadays. You can buy special sleeves for these cards. But we feel the best thing is the Signal Vault, and this is a new product we just released. It’s basically the same exact dimensions as a credit card or debit card. You place it in your wallet…[and] it creates an electronic field around your cards and makes your cards invisible [to hackers]. or 407-420-5664

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    U.S. Citizens More Worried About ID Theft Than Privacy

    Monday, December 30th, 2013
    Despite NSA scare, U.S. voters are five times more concerned about hacking than tracking, CCIA study says.

    Despite recent controversy over surveillance by the NSA, U.S. voters are still much more worried about identity theft than online tracking of their activity, a new study says.

    According to a poll of 1,000 U.S. voters conducted by Benenson Strategy Group on behalf of the Computer Communications Industry Association (CCIA), the vast majority of users are more worried about security than privacy.

    “Overall, 75% are worried about their personal information being stolen by hackers and 54% are worried about their browsing history being tracked for targeted advertising,” the study says.

    “However, when voters are forced to choose which one is more important to them, their focus is almost unanimously (87%) directed on the need to protect their personal information from those who would use the info to harm them,” the study continues. “Even those worried about tracking (the 54%) are more worried about hacking by an overwhelming majority (84% to 8%).”

    Read the rest of this article on Dark Reading.

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    PERSONAL FINANCE: Tips to help prevent identity theft

    Monday, December 30th, 2013

    Posted Dec. 29, 2013 @ 2:01 am

    Canandaigua, N.Y.

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    Better Business offers some basic tips on identity theft prevention

    Monday, December 30th, 2013

    With data breaches fresh on our minds, BBB reminds consumers of basic identity theft prevention tips.

    While companies are responding much more quickly to a data breach, identity theft continues to be a major concern. The 2013 Identity Fraud Report released by Javelin Strategy Research reports that last year, identity theft incidents increased by more than 1 million victims. BBB reminds consumers that although identity theft continues to run rampant, following fundamental guide- lines can decrease your chances of becoming a victim.

    BBB provides tips to help prevent identity thieves from choosing you as a target:

     Refrain from carrying a checkbook. Pay by cash or by credit card. Don’t pre-print your Social Security, driver’s license or your telephone number on your checks.

     Sign up on the do-not-call list. 1-866-896-6225.

     Carefully reconcile your monthly bank and credit card statements and look for discrepancies; report any issues immediately.

     Opt out of pre-approved credit card offer lists by calling 1-888-567-8688.

     Don’t carry your Social Security card with you.

     Never let your credit card or debit card out of your sight.

     Get a locking mailbox and/or mail outgoing bills from the post office.

     Don’t give any financial information to anyone unless you initiated the call or unless you have thoroughly checked out the organization before doing so.

     Never look at account information or make purchases when on a wifi hotspot.

     Use the most up to date firewall and antivirus software available.

     Only purchase from secure sites: https, (the “s” is an indicator that the site is secure).

     Change and strengthen your passwords. Make them as secure as possible by using a combination of upper and lower case letters and numbers, and keep in mind that the longer your password, the more difficult your password will be to “crack.” Remember to change your passwords every six months, and refrain from using the same password for every account.

     Protecting your smartphone is just as important as protecting your computer. Using a password, keeping your phone updated, and refraining from storing personal information on your phone will help prevent an attack.

     Shred anything that contains personally identifiable information. You would be surprised at how little an identity thief needs to compromise your identity.

    Should you become a victim of a data breach and/or identity theft:

     Contact your financial institutions and alert them of the breach.

     Place a fraud alert on your credit report with all three credit reporting agencies.

     Monitor your credit report by going to You can check your report with each credit reporting agency once per year at no charge.

    For more tips on how to be a savvy consumer, go to To report a fraud or unscrupulous business practices, call the BBB Hotline: (903)581-8373.



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