Archive for May, 2014

Harlem Rapper Among Crew Busted In Drug, ID Theft Rings – Hip

Saturday, May 31st, 2014

carlton carter

» by May 30 2014, 12:38pm

Dozens of co-conspirators, including a Harlem rapper, were making a killing selling prescription drugs and cashing forged checks. However, on Thursday, May 29, they were all indicted by Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance. 

Carlton Carter, 30, was the rapper caught up in the bust, and the New York Daily News detailed his struggle:

A wannabe rapper who had about 300 pairs of Air Jordans when he was busted as part of a 25-member identity theft ring, the Daily News has learned.

“S**t like taking candy from a baby… I had the neon s**t, the vest, hanging from the waist like it was a bandana,” Carlton Carter, said in an intercepted call on Feb. 25, after he pretended to be a construction worker at a New Jersey TD Bank and ripped off an actual contractor, according to papers filed by the Manhattan District Attorney.

The stunt was uncovered as part of a probe into a roughly $80,000 swindle involving over a dozen Manhattan banks – mostly Chase and Citibank – that culminated in dozens of collars Tuesday. Carter, 30, and his cohorts are expected to appear in Manhattan Supreme Court on Thursday.

While Carter oversaw the bank fraud portion of the crime ring, the drug aspect was allegedly handled by 38-year-old Thomas Luckey. The drug ring was filling out phone prescriptions of Oxycodone throughout the city and selling other narcotics, including cocaine. Both were arraigned on Thursday and pleaded not guilty. 

Carter raps under the moniker “Paper Ova” and has a YouTube video for a song called “Shopping” about tricking and ducking gold diggers. Posted three years ago, it only had 2,350 views at the time of this post, though.

Besides the Js, authorities also found forged and false IDs and hollow-point bullets at Carter’s home. The struggle is very, very real.

Photo: YouTube




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UPMC Says ID Theft Scam Affects All 62000 Workers

Saturday, May 31st, 2014

PITTSBURGH (KDKA/AP) – The University of Pittsburgh Medical Center says federal investigators now believe all 62,000 of the hospital network’s employees have had their personal information accessed by identity thieves who have used information from about 800 workers to file bogus federal tax returns.

UPMC last month believed only 27,000 workers were affected, but the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reported Friday that a memo to employees says “the scope may be larger than originally thought, potentially affecting every employee.”

UPMC spokeswoman Gloria Kreps released this statement following the latest developments:

“UPMC has been informed by law enforcement authorities based on their ongoing investigation that more employee information was stolen then they originally knew. This new information has indicated that employee names, Social Security numbers, addresses, salaries, bank account numbers and bank routing numbers may have been accessed.

“UPMC is working diligently with external agencies, including the IRS, Secret Service, U.S. Postal Inspection Service, under the guidance of the United States Attorney, police to identify the circumstances in which the identity theft occurred. That investigation is ongoing. Secret Service, District Attorney and IRS as the investigation continues.”

A spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office says the investigation is continuing.

Kreps says UPMC is taking steps to help their staff members who have become victims of identity theft.

She says they are offering computer fraud protection service to its employees for free, as well as setting up a hotline for employees with questions, among other measures. She adds that computer system upgrades should prevent similar future attacks.

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(TM and © Copyright 2014 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2014 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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Citrus Heights police arrest four people in suspected identity theft ring

Saturday, May 31st, 2014

A man found driving a vehicle with a suspended license led Citrus Heights police to arrest four people in a suspected identity theft ring.

About 3 p.m. Thursday, a Citrus Heights officer contacted Gary Flores, 42, in the area of Adagio Way and Opus Court and determined that Flores was driving a vehicle on a suspended license, according to a Police Department news release. During a search of the truck Flores was driving, officers found more than 50 stolen credit cards, California identification cards, Social Security cards, checks, bank statements and mail, all belonging to other people. Also found inside the truck were burglary tools, shaved keys, and machines used to manufacture and stamp credit cards.

Police also discovered that the truck Flores was driving was an unreported stolen vehicle from a U-Haul business.

Police said several people were contacted and confirmed they were the victims of identity theft, mail theft and burglary.

Detectives subsequently served a search warrant at Flores’ residence and arrested Aaron Phillips, 40, James Clark, 41, and Larry Shepard, 37. Phillips and Clark had felony warrants for identity theft and burglary, police said.

A female juvenile also was removed from the home and placed in the custody of Child Protective Services.

Police said a search of the residence turned up several hundred more stolen identification cards, credit cards, bank statements, stolen vehicle license plates and Social Security cards, all belonging to other people. They also reported finding drugs and other contraband inside the home.

A check of some personal information revealed numerous victims of burglaries in several surrounding jurisdictions. Police said detectives will be following up in coming weeks in an attempt to contact people listed on the stolen property.

Police urge people to lock their homes and vehicles when they are away, and not to leave valuables or important personal identification information in plain sight. They also advise residents to check mail regularly and to report any suspicious activity in their neighborhood.

Call The Bee’s Cathy Locke, (916) 321-5287.

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Former Valley Park Mayor in Court for Identity Theft

Saturday, May 31st, 2014

VALLEY PARK, Mo. (KMOX) – Former Valley Park Mayor Nathan Grellner is due in court this morning to plead guilty to stealing his estranged wife’s identity to obtain a credit card, and then putting between $500 and $5,000 on that card.

Grellner was expected to plead guilty in February, but changed his mind at the last minute.

Grellner resigned in 2012 after it was revealed that he had been hospitalized for meth and questions were raised about his use of Valley Park’s credit card.

A month earlier, he was charged with DUI, resisting arrest and assaulting an officer after a Byrnes Mill police chase. He has been serving shock probation time in Jefferson County.

(TM and © Copyright 2014 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2014 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)




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Identity theft losses number in billions

Saturday, May 31st, 2014

If identity theft still seems like a relatively rare crime when compared to other types of stealing, the truth is that it plays a much bigger role than one might think.

According to a report last December by the federal Bureau of Justice Statistics, it was responsible for nearly $25 billion in financial losses nationwide in 2012, which was $10 billion more than all other property crimes combined.

While we often know immediately when someone has broken into our homes or taken our belongings, identity theft can be much harder to detect. We may not be aware until contacted by a financial institution, and in some cases, young children who are targeted may not find out until they are adults. A 2012 study estimated that this affects at least 2.5 percent of households with underage children.

Overall, the Bureau of Justice Statistics says about one in 16 adults are victims of identity theft. About half lose $100 or less, but 15 percent lose $1,000 or more. Nearly all of them have no idea who stole from them, but most are able to fix the issue in a day or less. About 10 percent, however, need up to a month or longer.

This crime’s impact, of course, extends beyond private citizens. In November, for example, the IRS estimated it issued $4 billion in fraudulent tax refunds in 2012, including 655 that went to a single address in Lithuania.

Perhaps the most common stories we hear about identity theft come in the wake of announcements like Target’s late last year, when it estimated that information on 40 million credit and debit cards had been stolen.

State and local governments can be just as vulnerable. A December report by the state auditor’s office noted that, in South Carolina, a single employee who fell victim to an email scam accidentally caused a data breach affecting more than three million people and 700,000 businesses. It took a month before the problem was discovered, and to help compensate the headaches this caused, that state offered free identity theft prevention and credit monitoring for a year to everyone at a cost of nearly $30 million.

Cyber attacks happen here in Kentucky, too. The auditor’s report noted that one fiscal court lost more than $400,000 from a payroll account as a result of this in 2009; and in 2007, county clerks saw much of their computers temporarily shut down because many had become infected with a virus.

The state is taking steps to help counteract these problems. During this year’s legislative session, the General Assembly passed two related laws that lay out exactly what businesses, schools and local and state governments must do if personal information they possess is compromised. That understandably includes contacting those affected and, if the breach is large enough, consumer credit agencies. For schools and governments, officials trained in these types of cases will be involved as well.

Late last year, meanwhile, the state’s Department of Financial Institutions formed a new task force that is working to detect and respond to cybercriminal activity. Its goal is to preserve the integrity of Kentucky’s financial system and those who depend on it.

In today’s connected world, we may be limited in just how much control we have over our personal and financial data, but the need to protect ourselves is more critical than ever.

Be careful if you receive suspicious emails, stay up-to-date with cybersecurity measures, monitor your credit reports and shred any documents that could be used to steal your identity.

If you find you are a victim, our financial institutions and local and state law enforcement are well-equipped to help you get back on your feet. The Federal Trade Commission can also be a resource; its website on this issue is, and it can be reached toll-free at 1-877-IDTHEFT. The state’s Attorney General’s website, at, offers guidance as well.

In ending, I want to take a moment to recognize a special anniversary for our country. On June 6th, we will mark 70 years since D-Day, a key turning point that paved the way for the end of World War II in Europe. Many soldiers gave their lives that day, and many more who survived are no longer with us. Their contributions, however, will never be forgotten. On Friday, I encourage you to join with me in pausing for a moment to remember their actions on what was arguably the most important date of the 20th Century.

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Identity theft, fraud subjects of attorney general’s round table

Saturday, May 31st, 2014

Consumer protection was the focus of the roundtable discussion led by Madigan and members of her office. The group updated law enforcement officials, community leaders and business owners on the hazards of consumer fraud and identity theft.

“There is obviously more companies need to be doing, but there is a lot we can do as consumers to protect ourselves,” Madigan said. “It is happening every week, every day, and individuals are unaware until they need access to their credit.”

Madigan created her office’s Consumer Protection Division in 2006 as consumer fraud reports and identity theft cases began to rise. Since then, Madigan said her staff has helped more than 40,000 victims and returned more than $26 million in fraudulent charges.

In DeKalb County, about 18 percent of investigations deal with consumer fraud and identity theft, DeKalb County Sheriff Roger Scott said. That includes phone and email scams, as well as people attempting to forge payroll checks.

“We see everything and more here in the county,” Scott said. “Once it happens, it is very time consuming and tough to track down the perpetrators.”

Those most commonly victimized include older people and those who may not speak English, but “the reality is, it’s everybody who can be targeted,” Madigan said.

The discussion also focused on preventive measures and what to do if a person is victimized.

Tips for avoiding scams and identity theft include setting up transaction alerts for debit and credit cards, which notify account holders of suspicious transactions; carefully reviewing monthly bank and credit card statements, and placing a security freeze on a person’s credit.

“None of these [precautions] are foolproof,” Madigan said, “but used together, they all will make [you] less likely to be victimized.”

If a person believes their credit or identity has been compromised, they should report it immediately to their creditors, place a fraud alert on their credit report and file a police report.

Tips on identify theft

To avoid being victimized:

• Set up transaction alerts for debit and credit cards

• Carefully review bank and credit card statements

• Place a security freeze on your credit.

If you suspect identity fraud:

• Report it immediately to creditors

• Place a fraud alert on credit report

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Corporate Identity Theft: How Malware Threatens the World’s Biggest Brands

Friday, May 30th, 2014

Post written by
Elias (Lou) Manousos, CEO, RiskIQ Inc.

Companies spend untold amounts to protect their brand names. And for good reason. According to Interbrand, the total intangible value of the world’s top 100 brands is more than $2 trillion.

Unfortunately, cyber-criminals and hackers are also investing in corporate brands.

They have found it useful to hide behind the reputation of leading brands— by poisoning their websites with malware, hijacking or copycatting mobile apps, and exploiting on-line ads – in order to commit fraud.

Since most corporate websites are believed to be secure, they make an ideal target for cyber-criminals that want to distribute malware. Primarily because the reputation of the company in question protects its webpages from being put on blacklists, and is trusted by visitors. Bad actors on the internet have copied a strategy used by predators on the Serengeti— they hang around “watering holes” to can catch the prey that comes to a website.

This “watering hole” technique is easily carried out because large corporate websites often generate countless special-purpose files or landing pages—and then leave them on-line long after they have finished serving their purpose. They are not monitored or maintained, and their security is certainly not updated, allowing vulnerabilities to persist and multiply. This enables hackers to exploit flaws and inject malicious code that infects visitors lured to the site through phishing or other techniques. Lulled by the site’s trusted name, they will come—and the brand reputation of the owner will suffer another hit.

Last year the home page was compromised and used to exploit a Java browser vulnerability that installed the Citadel/Zeus online banking malware on victim’s machines. Meanwhile, in February attackers compromised the US Veterans of Foreign Wars’ website with malware believed to be targeting military service members to steal military intelligence.

The danger from hijacked mobile apps, on the other hand, arises the fact that these are often distributed through third-party app stores which have varying levels of security. At un-policed app stores hackers can hijack posted apps, and replace them with their own copies of the app.

Some cyber-criminals are simply interested in intercepting the purchase price of apps, which has no particular impact on a brand’s reputation. Others, meanwhile, repackage apps with malicious code. Often the infected apps don’t appear to work when downloaded—but malware is running in the background, posing untold potential damage to the reputation of the enterprise whose brand name it carries.

The code may collect identifying information on the user, including street addresses, e-mail addresses, phone numbers, and even GPS coordinates, for sale to ad and data brokers, violating the user’s privacy in the name of the company. Worse, the app may contain a key logger that gathers banking credentials, which let third-parties siphon the user’s accounts. The most common mobile app malware sends a text message to a premium rate phone number so that the user gets charged on the next phone bill—and has a written record to the damage cause by the abused brand’s app.

In April, five wallpaper apps in the Google Play store – that are now no longer available – we found to be delivering a new piece of mobile Bitcoin-mining malware known as BadLepricon.

Then there’s “malvertisements”—malicious ads placed on legitimate websites. They look like real ads, but hackers and cyber-criminals use them to spread viruses and spyware, etc. Using hidden HTML frames, the ad can trigger an infection even if the user does not click on the ad.

In January, Yahoo revealed that European users were served malicious advertisements that if clicked, directed them to websites that tried to install malicious software.

Cyber-criminals may hack into legitimate sites and inject malicious code into existing banner ads. Or they may pose as a trusted company and place clean, legitimate ads on a site—and later replace them with infected ads, often over a weekend, when IT departments are not paying attention. After infecting a few million users, they then replace the infected ad with the original, clean ad, making their actions difficult to trace.

The fact that many ads are placed through third party networks makes it even more difficult to track down malvertising fraud. The multitude of layers within this supply chain puts security beyond the control of the Brand placing an ad and pretty much assures that, somewhere along the chain, there will be a weak link that a hacker can exploit.

Malvertisements are not a trivial issue. The Online Trust Alliance (OTA) estimates that nearly 10 billion ad impressions were compromised by malvertising in 2012. RiskIQ’s own web crawlers typically detect tens of thousands of malicious ads samples each day.

Since brand value accounts for nearly 75 percent of business value in the U.S., guarding against corporate identity theft is much more than a technology problem.

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Identity Theft Red Flags (Regulation V)

Friday, May 30th, 2014

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11 workers arrested at Iowa Fertilizer Plant for identity theft

Friday, May 30th, 2014

Wever, IOWA (WGEM) –
Almost a dozen workers at the construction site for the new Iowa Fertilizer Plant have been charged with identity theft.

The company contacted the Lee County sheriff’s office with concerns that some workers may not have proper documentation.

Deputies stopped a bus of workers Thursday afternoon to check documents.

Eleven people were arrested and charged with felony identity theft because they had earned more than a thousand dollars in wages under a false identity.

The Lee County sheriff’s office asked for assistance from the U.S. Customs and Enforcement Office in Cedar Rapids for its bilingual capabilities.

It all started Wednesday when the Iowa Fertilizer Plant escorted two employees from the work site near Wever because they didn’t have proper identification. However, those men returned to work Thursday with different identification. That’s when plant officials contacted the sheriff’s office.

Sheriff Jim Sholl hopes this action sends a message that Lee County and the Iowa Fertilizer Plant won’t tolerate anyone working under a false identity.

WGEM tried to reach out to IFP officials, but have not received a call back.

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Why the Wealthy Are Prime Targets for Identity Theft

Friday, May 30th, 2014

Credit: aastock/ShutterstockCredit: aastock/Shutterstock

Everyone is a target for identity theft, but wealthy individuals are more likely to be victimized by cybercrooks. The reason: The bad guys follow the money.

Yet affluent people aren’t at greater risk of identity theft simply because they have more to lose than the average consumer does. It’s also because they’re more vulnerable, said Neal O’Farrell, executive director of the Identity Theft Council in Walnut Creek, California, and a consumer-security expert.

“I started to focus on this area about two years ago, when I first started getting inquiries not from wealthy people, but [from] their lawyers,” O’Farrell said. 

MORE: 10 Simple Steps to Avoid Identity Theft

“They said, ‘We have this high-net-worth individual who’s been the victim of identity theft. We need your help. We’ll pay anything, but it’s got to be on the quiet, because this individual is worried about his reputation,'” O’Farrell said. “It started with that, and since then, I have received dozens of similar requests and it’s just escalating.”

What makes wealthy people perfect targets

Targeting the wealthy makes perfect sense, O’Farrell said. That’s because the fraudsters aren’t after just money — they’re also after access to bank accounts.

“I have two bank accounts — a savings and a checking account,” he said. “But wealthy people can have over a dozen accounts.

“They have investment accounts. They have trust accounts. They’ve got all kinds of different accounts with a lot of money in them,” O’Farrell said. “The problem is, the more you have to protect, the less well you protect it.”‘

In other words, affluent individuals often just have too many points of access and too much vulnerability.

“High-net-worth individuals typically have a lot of people around them,” O’Farrell said. “They have advisers and employees, which makes them vulnerable to phishing attempts and social engineering. These people can be exploited.”

Additionally, he said, cybercriminals also look for corporate secrets. They’re after networks. They want access to other wealthy people, private communications and data that they can sell to other cyberthieves.

Fear and arrogance

“The beautiful thing about it is that it’s high reward and low risk,” O’Farrell said. “The chances of a wealthy person telling someone that they’re being fleeced is pretty minimal. And if they do find out that they’ve been a victim, they’re very unlikely to report it, because of reputation damage.”

From a crook’s perspective, this type of identity theft is highly lucrative, he said.

“I’ve also found that the wealthy tend to be a little bit arrogant about their protection,” O’Farrell said. “They have a feeling that either it won’t happen to them — no one would dare — or if it does happen to them, their lawyer will clean up the mess.”

The fact is that most consumers have bad security practices, such as using easy-to-crack passwords or not checking their bank accounts or credit reports. Affluent people can be the worst of all consumers when it comes to adhering to security best practices, in large part because they’re so busy — busy making and managing their money, or busy enjoying it, O’Farrell said.

“They just don’t spend the time to check their credit reports, or check their financial statements for accuracy, or change those important passwords,” he said. “They don’t talk to their employees about their security practices.

“That’s why we’re seeing, in the last year, warnings from the FBI, from the American Bar Association, the SEC [Securities and Exchange Commission], from FINRA [Financial Industry Regulatory Authority], that advisors to wealthy people — law firms and wealth-management and financial-services firms — are increasingly being targeted,” O’Farrell said. “The only reason I can see the cybercriminals targeting them is because they want access to their clients.”

The bottom line is that affluent people need to recognize that when it comes to cybercrime, they’re not the same as everybody else — they may be targeted even more often than the average consumer.

“It used to be the wealthier you were, the more immune you were to crime, because you could afford to live in a better neighborhood where maybe there were more police,” O’Farrell said. “You could afford to live in a gated community with a guard and install a security alarm and lights — the works

“But cybercrime has tipped it the other way,” he said. “Not only can crooks reach you from a neighborhood on the other side of the world, but now you’re the hottest target.”

How the wealthy can protect themselves

O’Farrell said there are several steps a wealthy person can take to protect his or her identity and money:

Check bank accounts and investment accountsregularly, and update the security of those accounts routinely.

Take security seriously. No one is immune to identity theft, and no one should assume it won’t happen. Once it does, lawyers won’t be able to fix the mess.

Ensure that advisers, assistants and wealth managers are aware of the importance of security. The mantra should be “Security first.” Be wary of opening emails, particularly if they have attachments. Be suspicious of telephone calls from people asking for information.

Take the same precautions as everybody else. Shred personal information, check credit reports and be careful with mail.

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