Archive for May, 2016

Victorians shred against identity theft

Saturday, May 28th, 2016

Regional Victorians will be shredding en masse for the next two days to avoid identity theft.

A shredding truck is rolling into Ballarat on Friday and then Bendigo on Saturday so residents can destroy their old bills, statements and personal documents.

Consumer Affairs Minister Jane Garrett will launch the campaign in Ballarat at midday on Friday.

Australians lost $1.8 million to identity theft in 2015 according to the ACCC.

Article source: http://www.news.com.au/national/breaking-news/victorians-shred-against-identity-theft/news-story/dba3b5ed5b2ece5efe1e75b808e4d02f

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HIGHLAND: Identity theft suspect arrested after traffic stop – Press

Saturday, May 28th, 2016

Riverside Yellow Pages

Article source: http://www.pe.com/articles/traffic-804003-stop-numerous.html

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Confusion about privacy law complicates ID theft cases

Saturday, May 28th, 2016

Medical identity theft has been compared to the wild west for hackers.

The crime is largely new and uncharted territory and happens when someone steals an individual’s personal information to obtain health care.

What’s worse, many victims complain the federal law intended to protect privacy known as HIPAA  has made it harder for victims to get their identities back.

Medical Identity theft is a lot like credit card theft with one major difference.

A victim can cancel a card and freeze their credit, but they can’t cancel their medical history.

Especially in cases of a medical emergency, experts warn a compromised medical identity could be deadly.

Important information like prescription medications, pre-existing conditions and allergies, all used by doctors to make determinations about an individual’s care, can be compromised by a medical identity thief leaving victims vulnerable.

“This could have killed me,” said California resident Ronnie Bogle. KING5 has been following his journey to regain his stolen identity for months.

It was stolen by his brother, Gary Bogle.

“I am severely fatally allergic to Penicillin and if they had given me that I wouldn’t be sitting here,” Ronnie said.

Ronnie’s brother, Gary, had obtained health care under Ronnie’s name at hospitals from coast to coast, in Florida, Colorado, and Washington.

“This is lung treatment, liver treatment. This is serious illnesses he has been treated for,” Ronnie said.

Ronnie only discovered the fraud after thousands of dollars in emergency care landed on his credit, leaving him with the worst possible credit rating.

He was unable to obtain a loan, even a basic credit card.

“If you get denied, you automatically get your report. It was just pages and pages of hospitals all across the country,” Ronnie said. “I was completely horrified.”

Making matters worse, in Ronnie’s case, was The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, commonly known as HIPAA.

The federal law was designed to protect an individual’s privacy. The law also claims to reduce fraud by requiring that health care providers keep a patient’s medical records confidential.

It backfired for Ronnie.

“The moment you say identity theft, they say, ‘Because of HIPAA, we can’t talk to you any more,'” Ronnie said. “I’m talking about hospital, after hospital, after hospital. ‘We have to protect the rights of the person that was actually treated. So, therefore Ronnie, if you are telling us this is not you, we can’t talk to you any longer.'”

Hospitals refused to give Ronnie information about services received under his name, arguing HIPAA  required them to protect the actual patient, in this case the thief.

The situation made it difficult for Ronnie, the victim, who the hospital was holding responsible for the bills, to determine what exactly had happened and why he was receiving bills from hospitals in states he had never lived.

Ronnie is not alone.

Last year, two separate cyber attacks on health insurers Anthem and Premera Blue Cross compromised more than 90 million Americans’ personal information, leaving them vulnerable.

A 2015 report by the Medical Identity Fraud Alliance found that medical identity theft had increased about 21.7% from the year before.

“It is a bit of the wild west in the health care industry,” said Ann Patterson, SVP of MIFA. She works to reduce instances of medical fraud.

Patterson says hospitals and doctor’s offices are misinterpreting the law.

“Victims are entitled to their own medical records in full even if it is corrupted and has information about the thief, but there is confusion around that,” Patterson said.

Now Washington Senator Patty Murray is taking on that confusion, supporting a bill to increase education about HIPAA.

She and other senators also wrote the Department of Health and Human Services pressuring it to clarify the rights of identity theft victims under the law.

“I wanted to have a clear understanding from the Department of Health and Human Services that HIPAA rules would not preclude somebody from finding out what they needed to know and the facts in the case,” Sen. Murray said.

The government responded, “The individual has a right to everything in his or her own designated record set regardless of the source of the information.”

“They made it very clear that when your identity is stolen you do have a right to see your records and hospitals can provide that to you,” Murray said.

Ronnie’s brother Gary is serving 16 months in a county jail for identity theft in California. He was extradited to the state and convicted after being arrested in Olympia.

It’s a fraction of the sentence Ronnie has received at the hands of his brother.

He’s still monitoring the mail for yet to be discovered unpaid hospitals bills and fighting to clear his credit.

“You have no idea the nastiness I would get in that box,” Ronnie said.

Ronnie is still being denied his records by hospitals around the country.

So KING5 went to HHS for even further clarification about HIPAA.

In a statement, KING5 was told that if a hospital determines the entire record they have on file is fraudulent, rather than partially corrupted, the hospital doesn’t have to turn the record over.

At that point, a victim can request an amendment to get those records of out their name and that request should be granted, or the victim can file a federal complaint.

The provider should also stop holding the victim accountable for the bills.

That has not happened for Ronnie. So he is now pursuing civil lawsuits against the hospitals.

The best thing consumers can do to avoid a similar situation is routinely check their credit and read any statements received about health care in their name very carefully.

The sooner this crime is caught, the better.

Copyright 2016 KING

Article source: http://www.king5.com/news/local/confusion-about-privacy-law-complicates-id-theft-cases/217200788

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Victorians shred against identity theft

Friday, May 27th, 2016

Regional Victorians will be shredding en masse for the next two days to avoid identity theft.

A shredding truck is rolling into Ballarat on Friday and then Bendigo on Saturday so residents can destroy their old bills, statements and personal documents.

Consumer Affairs Minister Jane Garrett will launch the campaign in Ballarat at midday on Friday.

Australians lost $1.8 million to identity theft in 2015 according to the ACCC.


AAP

Article source: https://au.news.yahoo.com/vic/a/31705102/victorians-shred-against-identity-theft/

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Site doubles self-service processing of identity theft complaints

Friday, May 27th, 2016

Site doubles self-service processing of identity theft complaints

Identity theft is a rampant problem that often leaves victims scrambling to protect themselves. To eliminate some of the guesswork associated with filing identity theft complaints, the Federal Trade Commission set up a new website.

Initially launched in May 2015 and significantly upgraded in January 2016, the FTC’s  IdentityTheft.gov helps victims find information about remedying a loss caused by identity theft, file complaints and get individualized guides for taking action. It creates a report that proves to businesses that the identity has been stolen and makes it easier to for victims fix problems by generating documents, such as credit card dispute letters.

“Identity theft victims have numerous steps they have to take to solve their problems — to remediate the issues that come up because of the identity theft, ” said FTC’s David Torok, who is associate director of FTC’s Division of Consumer Response Operations in the Bureau of Consumer Protection.  “And those vary depending on what data was stolen and what was done with that data.”   

When victims set up a secure account, the website guides them through a series of questions that ultimately results in a personalized recovery plan — a page of step-by-step instructions, such as how to contact a company where a fraudulent identity was used. The wizard interface asks questions to collect information and narrow consumers’ inquiries so that the appropriate documents can be generated with prepopulated information and a suitable recovery plan suggested.

The information that victims enter also is compiled into an affidavit, their official statement to FTC. Anyone who files a complaint gets an affidavit, but only victims who create an account with IdentityTheft.gov get the individualized recovery guide at the end of the question-and-answer session.

To create IdentityTheft.gov, FTC partnered with Lockheed Martin. Work started in February 2015 and involved consumer-focused design workshops that let users offer feedback as the site took shape. The company also used an agile development process to stay citizen-centric, according to Murali Thirukkonda, the senior program manager for the project at Lockheed Martin Information Systems and Global Solutions.

“We use a scalable and resilient architecture to capture the information in both the consumer-complaint and account-related information in the backend database,” Thirukkonda said. Lockheed hosts the system, application and associated operations in the SolaS community cloud infrastructure, which is certified by the Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program.

IdentityTheft.gov also meets Federal Information Security Management Act “moderate” requirements because it collects some personally identifiable information. “We do collect PII from consumers as part of the identity theft complaint-gathering and the account information,” Thirukkonda said, “so we do implement, for example, a two-factor authentication solution.”  The system provides a single-use password over the phone, through either a voice call or text message, that users enter when they create usernames and passwords.

The website is accessible from any device that connects to the Internet, and it won’t leave consumers hanging if they need help as they navigate it, Torok said. A web chat with call center support behind it is available.

The Justice Department estimates that 17.6 million consumers fell victim to identity theft in 2014, and last year FTC received almost a half a million consumer complaints about the issue — a 50 percent increase over the previous year, Torok said.

Consumers had ways to file FTC complaints about identity theft before the website. The agency had an online complaint form and a call center where representatives would take information and enter it into a database. That database, the Consumer Sentinel Network, still exists and is available to law enforcement organizations nationwide.

Looking ahead, Torok said he’d like to see other agencies connect with the platform to streamline processes even more. For example, the Internal Revenue Service requires victims of tax identity fraud to file a specific form. IdentityTheft.gov has that form and lets account holders print it out, but they then must mail it to IRS themselves.

“We have set up the platform so that the consumer gathers this information and sends it off to the various entities that need to receive it,” he said. “We’re hopeful that there will be others that join this website so that a complete transaction could be done while a consumer is on IdentityTheft.gov.”

Nearly 130,000 accounts have been created on IdentifyTheft.gov so far, and it’s gotten 600,000 unique visitors since it launched, Torok said.

“Since the launch of the website, we’ve had almost 100 percent increase in the online self-service processing of identity theft complaints as opposed to people calling someone on the phone,” he said. “That’s a significant cost savings to the government, and at the end of the day it’s serving consumers even more, even better. It’s a win-win situation.”

About the Author


Stephanie Kanowitz is a freelance writer based in northern Virginia.

Article source: https://gcn.com/articles/2016/05/26/ftc-id-theft-website.aspx

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Identity theft suspect arrested in Highland after traffic stop

Friday, May 27th, 2016



HIGHLAND A traffic stop Wednesday led to the recovery of stolen mail and numerous checks.

San Bernardino County Sheriff’s deputies arrested Adam Patrick Leon, 34, of San Bernardino on suspicion of possession of stolen property, identity theft and a probation violation, according to a news release.

While driving on Pacific Street, Detective Jose Ruiz and Deputy Troy McComas saw a silver Honda Accord fail to yield for a pedestrian in a crosswalk and made a traffic stop.

Upon learning the driver, identified as Leon, was in violation of his probation, deputies searched the vehicle and found numerous pieces of mail, checks, other identification and a laser printer, officials said.

Deputies contacted one of the people whose had personal information was found in the car, who said he was the victim of a residential burglary in February.

The investigation is ongoing. Deputies are contacting potential victims, including banks.

Leon was transported and booked at the Central Detention Center.

Article source: http://www.sbsun.com/general-news/20160526/identity-theft-suspect-arrested-in-highland-after-traffic-stop

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Tips to prevent identity theft – Orlando News Now

Friday, May 27th, 2016

A group of panelists weigh in on the best ways to protect yourself from identity theft. Plus more ideas turned up from talking to people who have been through the process. 

Article source: http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/os-tips-to-prevent-identity-theft-orlando-news-now-20160525-premiumvideo.html

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Man gets prison, must repay money from mail, identity theft schemes

Friday, May 27th, 2016

GULFPORT — A man has been sentenced to prison for stealing mail in a “red flag” scheme and using fake checks in victims’ names at the Biloxi Walmart.

David Burney, 47, of Grandbury, Texas, received a 16-month prison term Tuesday that will run concurrent with a pending sentence in a criminal case in Hood County, Texas.

U.S. District Judge Sul Ozerden also ordered Burney to help repay $6,567.69.

About $10,500 in losses have been reported in the scheme.

Burney pleaded guilty in December to conspiracy to commit mail theft and identity theft.

A “red flag” scheme is one in which mail is stolen from mailboxes where the flag has been raised to alert a postal carrier that mail is ready for pickup.

Burney has admitted he stole mail from mailboxes in Harrison County from Oct. 4, 2013, through Nov. 6, 2013. On the last day, he went to the Biloxi Walmart twice with fake checks that used victims’ names and bank routing information.

Prosecutors have said the bogus checks also were used at Walmarts in Pass Christian and Crowley, Texas. The checks were used to buy electronics, gift cards, prepaid credit cards, food, clothes and hotel accommodations.

Burney must help Megan Murley, 27, of Marlin, Texas, repay $719.79. Murley has been ordered to help repay a total of $10,513.50.

They were among five people indicted.

Others sentenced are Charles “Cody Blue” Slaton 47, of Granbury, Texas; and Joe Gonzales, 35, of Fort Worth, Texas.

Greg Anderson, 37, awaits trial. He also is accused of stealing checks.

Anderson is free on bond. He is living at the Salvation Army Adult Rehabilitation Center in Atlanta and must call a federal probation officer in Gulfport every Monday before 9 a.m., records show.

Article source: http://www.sunherald.com/news/local/crime/article79917557.html

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Junkyard Identity Theft: How easy is it to hack your account? – WNDU

Friday, May 27th, 2016

In two Michiana salvage yards, NewsCenter 16 found paystubs, credit cards, insurance policies, old vehicle registrations and bills.

To find out just how much or how little information an identity theft needs to compromise your financial information, we checked with a cybercrimes investigator with the St. Joseph County Prosecutor’s Office, Mitch Kajzer.

“It’s very easy for someone’s identity to be stolen,” said Kajzer.

With more and more people using the internet to share life moments on social media, experts are finding online users are over-sharing key data points to their online financial information as well.

“Through a very little bit of information, people, through online searches and through social engineering, can find out other bits of information and keep building,” Kajzer explained it only takes one seemingly small piece of personal info to leave a person vulnerable.

Even information like name and address.

“Just those two pieces of information you can build on that,” Kajzer explains that access to public records has made ‘social engineering’ identity information easier when used in conjunction with social media searches

Banks and other businesses holding a person’s credit information use data points to verify identities online: things like birthdays, family names, even someone’s favorite color, are formatted as security questions.

“There is no such thing as a good security question,” said Kajzer, “because all of them can be solved through social engineering.

Take the popular security question protecting many sensitive online accounts: “What’s your mother’s maiden name?”

A quick check of Facebook, that information can be found in a tagged family photo or a comment shared on someone’s wall.

The best and safest bet is to make your own security question if possible, or write an answer that makes no sense.

“Such as ‘what’s your favorite color?’ The answer? ‘Kalamazoo, Michigan.’ Something that you know the answer to but anyone trying to socially engineer it would never think of it” Kajzer explained.

Back to the salvage yard where NewsCenter 16 found debit cards, vehicle registrations, old bills, paystubs and even a W-4 form completed with social security information, experts say those forgotten items are the building blocks to stolen identities.

So NewsCenter 16 put it to the test.

In a wrecked car someone left behind a complete auto insurance policy which included the drivers name, address, policy number and much more. All that was left to access her account without the password was her date of birth.

But there’s a much easier way junkyard thieves could gain access to sensitive financial information. Instead of google searching and scanning social media to find the answers to a person’s security questions, Kajzer said it’s much simpler to scam the information out of a person through phishing emails.

Cybercrimes investigators have seen a rise in “phishing” emails, notes from seemingly legitimate companies like PayPal who push the recipient to “act fast” and send them financial information in return. But the emails aren’t actually from PayPal.

In the case of the insurance policy, Kajzer said it would be far easier to convince the policy holder to send an updated payment method in an email by feeding back their name, account number and information about a recent crash.

“Most people, she’s going to say well it looks like Gieco’s Facebook, it’s got my correct name, husband’s name, policy number, she knows the bank account and the payment that we made,” Kajzer warned against the phishing threats and any messages which request sensitive account data to be sent over an email or a Facebook message.

It should be noted, many banks used multiple layers beyond just email and security questions to gain access if someone doesn’t know the password. However, if the identity thief has your social security number and basic account info because it was left behind in a car or thrown out in the trash, your financial account is even more vulnerable.

The best way to safeguard personal information is to put a lock on online accounts, and if you are in an accident, make sure your car is cleared out of all bills, registrations, anything with your name and address.

Article source: http://www.wndu.com/content/news/Junkyard-Identity-Theft-Forgotten-information-vulnerable-financial-accounts-380859961.html

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Legislation would allow parents to protect kids from identity theft

Thursday, May 26th, 2016
Credit Cards Generic

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – New legislation is headed to Ohio Governor John Kasich’s desk that would allow parents to further protect their children from identity thieves.

If House Bill 317 becomes law, Ohio will join 23 other states in adopting certain credit protections for children under the age of 18.

Under current Ohio law, an individual can only freeze their own credit record, not the record of a child without existing credit.

With the right information, thieves can instantly take out credit cards, loans, even a mortgage in a child’s name, ruining the victim’s credit for a lifetime. House Bill 317 is aimed at helping parents stop this before it even happens.

“It’s common sense legislation. It’s something that’s needed right now,” said State Rep. Michele Lepore-Hagan.

The Ohio House approved Senate changes to the measure on Tuesday. Under the legislation, parents could create and freeze a credit record for their child.

“What this bill can essentially do is the parents can give their kids, their minors, credit and they can freeze it,” Lepore-Hagan said. “Then when they release it, it has been frozen, protecting them from theft and fraud.”

The parent or guardian of a child under 16 could apply for a credit card in the child’s name. After it is approved, they can freeze the child’s credit with a credit bureau. That freeze prevents thieves from obtaining credit in the child’s name.

“This bill will allow them to open credit in their minor child’s name and freeze it. There is no age but when they are 16, they can get their own credit.”

Some local residents have mixed feelings about the measure.

“How are the children really protected? Are they doing something to prevent that from happening, even from their own family members?” said Bahia Algahme of New Middletown.

“I guess it’s good but at the same time, it’s bad because it’s come to the point of needing to cover your kids,” said Heather Fleischer of Boardman. “It’s a terrible, a terrible thing to think of.”

“A bad situation can come of it, so I’d be against it completely. It’s not a good idea to steal someone’s credit,” said Dustin White of Berlin Center.

According to a report from the Attorney General’s Office, 1 in 40 U.S. households with minor children had at least one child whose personal information was compromised by identity thieves in 2012.

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Article source: http://wkbn.com/2016/05/25/legislation-would-allow-parents-to-protect-kids-from-identity-theft/

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