Archive for December, 2015

Most hackable gifts: Latest gadgets susceptible to identity theft

Tuesday, December 29th, 2015

NBC NEWS – Many of the holiday’s hottest gifts this year could be susceptible to hackers. As no surprise to anyone that gadgets like smart watches, drones, and fitness trackers are a part of the hottest gifts for the holidays.

Those same gifts also made Intel Security’s list of “Most Hackable Gifts” because of their accessibility to Wi-Fi and Bluetooth.

Online Safety Expert Stacey Conner said, “oftentimes cyber criminals can impersonate a Bluetooth device or connection to gain access to all the information you might have.”

Watch the video for the full report. 

Article source: http://www.wktv.com/news/crime/Most_hackable_gifts_Latest_gadgets_susceptible_to_identity_theft.html

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2 plead guilty to ID theft, $4 million in tax fraud

Tuesday, December 29th, 2015

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Article source: http://www.montgomeryadvertiser.com/story/news/crime/2015/12/28/2-plead-guilty-id-theft-claiming-4-million-false-returns/77970688/

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Return Preparer Pleads Guilty in Tax Fraud and Identity Theft in Arkansas

Tuesday, December 29th, 2015

Gregory A. Taylor, 51, of Clanton, Alabama (formerly Crossett, Arkansas), pleaded guilty today to one count  of Conspiracy to Defraud the United States with Respect to Claims. 

Mr. Taylor was one of eight defendants indicted on June 24, 2014 by a Federal Grand Jury as part of an investigation into a tax fraud and identity theft scheme in El Dorado and Crossett.  The change of plea was accepted by the Honorable Susan O. Hickey in the U.S. District Court in El Dorado.   

“The defendants who perpetrated this scheme systematically defrauded the government and the taxpaying public,” said Tamera D. Cantu, Acting Special Agent in Charge, IRS Criminal Investigation.  “At the IRS, protecting taxpayer money is a matter we take very seriously.  IRS Criminal Investigation will continue to vigorously pursue those who unjustly enrich themselves by preparing false claims for refunds.”

Additional defendants involved in this case who have pleaded guilty are as follows:

Venus M. Ford, 34, pleaded guilty August 5, 2015, to one count of Conspiracy to Defraud the United States with Respect to Claims and one count of Aggravated Identity Theft.

Shawn D. Carey, 35, pleaded guilty June 23, 2015, to one count of Conspiracy to Defraud the United States with Respect to Claims and one count of Aggravated Identity Theft.  

Whitney M. Charles, 26, pleaded guilty August 6, 2015, to one count of Conspiracy to Defraud the United States with Respect to Claims and one count of Aggravated Identity Theft.

Sanjuana N. Aaron, 35, pleaded guilty August 26, 2015, to one count of Conspiracy to Defraud the United States with Respect to Claims and one count of Aggravated Identity Theft.

Erica R. Browning, 36, pleaded guilty March 20, 2015, to one count of Conspiracy to Defraud the United States with Respect to Claims, one count of Aggravated Identity Theft, and one count of Theft of Public Money.

Ecko Scott, 35, pleaded guilty August 5, 2015, to one count of Conspiracy to Defraud the United States with Respect to Claims, one count of Aggravated Identity Theft, and one count of Theft of Public Money.

Clarrise R. Carey, 34, pleaded guilty August 3, 2015, to one count of Conspiracy to Defraud the United States with Respect to Claims and one count of Theft of Public Money.

Mr. Taylor’s plea agreement revealed that, beginning in January 2009 through December 2011, Mr. Taylor willingly and knowingly conspired with others to defraud the United States by obtaining or aiding to obtain the payment or allowance of false, fictitious, and fraudulent claims, in particular the filing of false fraudulent 2008, 2009, and 2010 U.S. Individual Income Tax Forms 1040 (tax returns) by unlawfully using the personal identifying information of others.

During 2011, IRS-CI, U.S. Secret Service, and the El Dorado Police Department obtained evidence that Mr. Taylor and his co-defendants were involved in a large identity theft and tax refund scheme to obtain fraudulent tax refunds using the personal identifying information, specifically names, social security numbers, and dates of birth, of numerous individuals to claim fraudulent tax from the state and federal government.  The evidence revealed that Mr. Taylor, a return preparer in Crossett, Arkansas, was working with and/or assisting other defendants with the filing of fraudulent tax returns to obtain false refunds.  As part of his plea agreement, Mr. Taylor admitted that as a result of the conspiracy, he and his co-conspirators fraudulently claimed refunds totaling $1,101,478.

The sentence for each defendant will be determined by the court after review of factors unique to this case, including the each defendant’s prior criminal record (if any), each defendant’s role in the offense, and the characteristics of the violations.  In addition to prison time, each count carries a mandatory period of supervised release and maximum fine of $250,000.

The investigation was conducted by IRS Criminal Investigation, U.S. Secret Service, El Dorado Police Department, and the Crossett Police Department.  Assistant United States Attorney Jonathan Ross prosecuted the case for the United States.

Copyright 2015 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Article source: http://www.myarklamiss.com/news/local-news/return-preparer-pleads-guilty-in-tax-fraud-and-identity-theft-in-arkansas

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Employers getting more proactive on cyber security, ID theft

Tuesday, December 29th, 2015

While Affordable Care Act compliance and other healthcare concerns topped the minds of business executives and benefits professionals, cyber security also took center stage this year as employers looked to develop policies and procedures to protect themselves – and employees’ personal health information – from cyberattacks.

Data from The Graham Company released earlier this year noted that nearly three quarters of business leaders are most concerned about potential risks associated with cyber security threats to their organizations. And in a year that saw health insurer Anthem be the subject of a cyberattack in which the personal information of 80 million people was breached, employers have been taking more proactive approaches to mitigating risks of security breaches.

“I do see more employers reassuring employees about HIPAA [Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act] focused data security,” says Jennifer Walton-Faifer, an employee benefits attorney in Mercer’s Chicago office and member of the firm’s Regulatory Resources Group.

Also see:What the Anthem breach means for employers.”

In the end, the cost of maintaining the best security that an employer can is usually significantly less than the cost of a breach, she says, pointing to three main costs of a breach: reputation, financial costs and employee relations costs.

“I often talk with employers and they ask if they’re protected in the event of a breach, then when they’re asked where their policy and procedure document is or the last time they did a security risk assessment, often times they don’t know,” she says. “So they are not prepared.”

Identity theft

In another survey by Eastbridge Consulting Group, one in five employees was found to have been a victim of identity theft. Further, employees who travel for work were found to be 66% more likely to be a victim of identity theft, the study found.

“It’s been a really interesting evolution,” says Nick Rockwell, director of benefit solutions at LifeLock. “If you look at benefits from both a prevalence and severity state, a lot of current benefits take into account the likelihood that something bad can happen to you and how severe it will be. A cancer or disability policy, those have a huge severity contingent to them, but ID theft has a huge prevalence perspective.”

Also see:Cyber threats continue to plague concerned employers.”

The big question to consider is the number of people that experience identity theft every year, he says. “I think the employee demand is only going to continue to grow and I think the big employer shift we see is [toward] the [benefit being] subsidized or employer-paid.”

Empowering employees

One employer has taken a more active role in helping employees protect their own data.

“One of our big initiatives this calendar year and rolling forward into the next calendar year, we’ve implemented a behavior-based information security initiative,” says Kathy Herndon, Kimball International’s director of HR systems and privacy compliance manager. “You can’t just tell [employees] what they should and should not do at work. You want to actually teach them a behavior that they want to carry with them outside of work to protect themselves.”

Some other things done recently, particularly with the Anthem breach, has been forming a close working partnership with Anthem to obtain sharable communications for employees, such as specifics on how to sign up for the free monitoring services.

“We had sessions here internally within our organization [that] employees could attend either in person or virtually that explained what happened, and how to sign up for tools and how to use them going forward,” adds Herndon, also a member of the Society for Human Resource Management’s technology panel. “There was a big effort to work with Anthem to get as much information to the hands of employees to empower them to take control … since this was their own personal data.”

Also see:Benefit departments cautioned on hacking threat.”

A recent initiative from Kimball, which Mercer’s Walton-Faifer says is on the “front line,” involved the company sending out a phishing email as part of a training exercise.

Article source: http://ebn.benefitnews.com/news/employer-strategies/employers-getting-more-proactive-on-cyber-security-id-theft-2747967-1.html

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Johnson City teen charged with identity theft

Tuesday, December 29th, 2015

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Article source: http://abc19.tv/johnson-city-teen-charged-with-identity-theft/

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Does the Recent Spending Bill Expand ID Theft Protection for Federal Employees?

Tuesday, December 29th, 2015

Q.  I’ve heard that the recent tax and spending legislation expanded identity theft protection to federal employees who were affected by the OPM data breach. Did Congress actually do something nice for federal employees?

A.  Yes, Congress did give federal employees a Christmas present.  The present can be found in Section 632 of Title VI of Division E of the Financial Services and General Government Appropriations Act of 2016, and provides for ten years of no-cost identity theft monitoring services and $5M of identity theft insurance.

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About the Author ()

John Grobe is President of Federal Career Experts, a consulting firm that specializes in federal retirement and career transition issues. He is also affiliated with TSP Safety Net. John retired from federal service after 25 years of progressively more responsible human resources positions. He is the author of Understanding the Federal Retirement Systems and Career Transition: A Guide for Federal Employees, both published by the Federal Management Institute. Federal Career Experts provides pre-retirement seminars for a wide variety of federal agencies.

Article source: http://blogs.fedsmith.com/2015/12/28/does-the-recent-spending-bill-expand-id-theft-protection-for-federal-employees/

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Identity-theft report traced to illegal alien

Monday, December 28th, 2015

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Article source: http://www.nwaonline.com/news/2015/dec/27/identity-theft-report-traced-to-illegal/?latest

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David Bruce: You can avoid ID theft on your own

Monday, December 28th, 2015


By David Bruce
814-870-1736

Erie Times-News

December 27, 2015 01:01 AM

Article source: http://www.goerie.com/article/20151227/BUSINESS05/312279877/david-bruce-you-can-avoid-id-theft-on-your-own

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Cove’s top four crime trends for 2015: ID theft, assault, theft, drug cases

Saturday, December 26th, 2015

The title of this column since its inception has been crime trends, but what is a crime trend?

The legal definition is a significant change in the nature of selected crime categories within a specifically defined geographical area and time period. In short, it is the measure of significant changes in an area’s crime pattern over time.

We have certainly seen this over the past several years in Copperas Cove.

Much of it is the result of population growth and the influx of more retail and financial facilities, which give the perpetrators of all categories of crime more opportunities to transgress.

Some of the responsibility lies with the state of the economy, but in my humble opinion, not much of it. In good times and bad, there are legitimate opportunities for gainful employment to anyone who has the energy, gumption and desire to seek it out. It may not be the type of work one desires in the long term, but honest work is available to anyone who wants it. Entry-level jobs can support a person while education is acquired to facilitate moving up in the world of commerce.

Unfortunately, there are those among us who choose the easy path rather than the legitimate one. These poor substitutes for humanity will invariably target the possession and wealth of those who have earned it, rather than expend the effort to earn it in a legitimate manner.

For example, when it first raised its ugly head a few short years ago, fraudulent use/possession of identifying information, or identity theft, as it’s commonly known, has morphed from a relatively obscure and rare occurrence to one of worrisome frequency.

Every week several of these crimes occur in Cove, perpetrated by  neer-do-wells who prey upon the good name of decent, hard-working folks who have taken a lifetime to build good credit and a good name. The damage these people do soars beyond the financial aspect of the crime, to perpetrating irreparable damage to the victim’s credit score and reputation.

During 2015, thefts in Cove increased by an estimated 20 percent over 2014. Indeed, the increase in Cove retail outlets gives the thief more targets of opportunity, as do more residences and storage buildings. More high-end housing presents appealing targets for thieves looking for an easy score of merchandise which can be converted to cash.

The year’s most profound crime trend increase was in assaults of all kinds, the most notably in the category of domestic violence. This trend is heartbreaking in the scope of its damage and destruction to the family unit and the reputation of Copperas Cove. 2015 saw an increase in this category of crime of nearly 25 percent over previous years. I lay responsibility for this trend directly on the perpetrators of the crime and cite immaturity, intolerance and excessive alcohol consumption as contributors.

2015 saw a large number of illegal substance possession and delivery cases and a considerable number of arrests and successful prosecutions for this crime. As long as there remains a demand for this poison, there will be opportunists who will take advantage of the demand by delivering a supply. I personally wish a pox on these suppliers and the weak-willed users who have other, more mature choices.

Assaults

Nine assaults were reported this week, five of which involved family violence. It is a confirmed fact that nationally more than half of all domestic violence crimes go unreported. The reasons for this phenomenon are myriad. Reason No. 1 is the victim’s reluctance to sever financial support by having the perpetrator arrested. Some want to preserve the family unit at any cost. In many of these cases, the cost is far too high.

  • An assault with bodily injury/family violence was reported Dec. 13 in the 300 block of Easy Street.
  • An aggravated assault with a deadly weapon was reported Dec. 14 in the 500 block of Lincoln Avenue.
  • An assault by contact/family violence was reported Dec. 15 in the 100 block of West Business U.S. Highway 190.
  • An assault with bodily injury/family violence was reported Dec. 16 in the 500 block of Sunset Lane.
  • A second assault with bodily injury/family violence was reported Dec. 16 in the 500 block of Sunset Lane.
  • An assault on the elderly/disabled was reported Dec. 16 in the 1300 block of High Chaparral Drive. Assault on the elderly or disabled is a felony crime.
  • An assault by contact/family violence was reported Dec. 17 in the 1000 block of Gilmore Street.
  • An assault with bodily injury was reported Dec. 17 in the 800 block of North First Street.
  • A sexual assault of a child was reported Dec. 17. Location is omitted to protect the identity of the victim.

Theft/burglary

Fifteen thefts and burglaries were reported this week, up five from last week. Historically, thefts increase in December and during mid-summer.

  • An attempted burglary of a residence was reported Dec. 13 in the 100 block of Mandy Circle.
  • A theft of a cellphone was reported Dec. 13 in the 800 block of Little Street.
  • The theft of a Play Station, games and government documents was reported Dec. 13 in the 1200 block of Urbantke Court. The victim of this theft should be concerned about identity theft and take steps to prevent it.
  • A theft of currency was reported Dec. 13 in the 1200 block of South Third Street.
  • A second report of theft of currency was made Dec. 13 in the 1200 block of South Third Street.
  • A bicycle was reported stolen Dec. 13 in the 1100 block of Golf Course Road. Multiple bicycles have been reported stolen on Golf Course Road in recent weeks. Residents in this area should heed the “take-it, hide-it, lock-it” philosophy.
  • A silverware set valued at $12,000 was reported stolen Dec. 14 in the 1300 block of Eagle Trail.
  • The theft of makeup was reported Dec. 15 from a retailer in the 2700 block of East Business U.S. Highway 190.
  • The theft of a Play Station game system, games and a controller was reported Dec. 15 in the 800 block of North Second Street.
  • A bicycle was reported stolen Dec. 15 in the 900 block of Dryden Avenue.
  • A snow globe was reported stolen Dec. 16 in the 800 block of South 19th Street.
  • The burglary of a building was reported Dec. 18 in the 300 block of South First Street.
  • An attempted burglary of a residence was reported Dec. 13 in the 800 block of North First Street.
  • The theft of a wallet and currency was reported Dec. 17 inn the 2900 block of East Business U.S. Highway 190.
  • A bicycle was reported stolen Dec. 17 in the 800 block of North Third Street.

Other crimes

  • Criminal mischief was reported Dec. 14 in the 500 block of Ridge Street.
  • Criminal mischief was reported Dec. 14 in the 500 block of Clara Drive.
  • Criminal mischief was reported Dec. 14 in the 600 block of Hill Street.
  • Criminal mischief was reported Dec. 15 in the 1200 block of West Avenue B.
  • Criminal mischief was reported Dec. 17 in the 400 block of North Main Street
  • Criminal mischief was reported Dec. 17 in the 1800 block of Indian Camp Trail.
  • Possession of marijuana in a drug-free zone was reported Dec. 16 in the 700 block of Sunny Avenue.
  • Possession of drug paraphernalia was reported Dec. 15 in the 100 block of West Business U.S. Highway 190.
  • Fraudulent use/possession of identifying information was reported Dec. 16 in the 1000 block of South 25th Street.
  • Fraudulent use/possession of identifying information was reported Dec. 14 in the 500 block of South 11th Street.
  • Fraudulent use/possession of identifying information was reported Dec. 17.
  • Debit card abuse was reported Dec. 14 in the 900 block of Willowbrook Street.
  • Debit card abuse was reported Dec. 17 in the 300 block of Lincoln Avenue.
  • Forgery of a government document was reported Dec. 15 in the 1100 block of South Farm-to-Market Road 116.
  • Forgery of a government document was reported Dec. 15th in the 2700 block of East Business U.S. Highway 190.
  • Forgery of a government document/money was reported Dec. 15 in the 300 block of Cove Terrace.

John Vander Werff is a 30-year veteran of law enforcement, with a decade in city and county law enforcement and 20 years with state police.

Article source: http://kdhnews.com/copperas_cove_herald/opinion/crime_trends/cove-s-top-four-crime-trends-for-id-theft-assault/article_e358a572-a9b6-11e5-9e7b-c73805718448.html

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More Marylanders becoming victims of tax return identity theft

Saturday, December 26th, 2015

By: Capital News Service

December 24, 2015

ANNAPOLIS — Shortly after her husband’s death, Roberta Roper enlisted the help of an accountant to file her taxes. That’s when she found out her family was victimized — again.

Her husband, Vincent Roper, had died suddenly from a massive heart attack on April 4, 2013. He had always done their taxes, she said.

With the April …

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12:15 pm Thu, December 24, 2015
Maryland Daily Record

Article source: http://thedailyrecord.com/2015/12/24/more-marylanders-becoming-victims-of-tax-return-identity-theft/

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