Archive for May, 2017

Providence woman charged with identity theft, making fraudulent …

Wednesday, May 31st, 2017

SMITHFIELD, R.I. — A 19-year-old Providence woman is accused of using a California woman’s identity to fraudulently purchase gift cards at Kohl’s in Smithfield, authorities said Tuesday.

Elba F. Rodriguez-Lantiqua purchased gift cards totaling $696 and totaling $953 during two visits to Kohl’s on April 25 and April 26, according to a news release issued by Smithfield police.

She is charged with identity theft and seven counts of obtaining money under false pretenses. When state police arrested her on Friday, she was wanted by police in Hingham Massachusetts, says the Smithfield police release. She also was charged in Rhode Island as a fugitive from justice.

Rodriguez-Lantiqua was arraigned before Judge Elaine T. Bucci in District Court, Kent County, and released on $10,000 surety bail to appear in court on Aug. 23.

— mreynold@providencejournal.com
(401) 277-7490
On Twitter: @mrkrynlds

Article source: http://www.providencejournal.com/news/20170530/providence-woman-charged-with-identity-theft-making-fraudulent-purchases-in-smithfield

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Medicare Is Finally Fixing a Major Identity Theft Risk

Wednesday, May 31st, 2017

Medicare is a big, complex bureaucracy, and replacing the cards is expensive: Officials estimated in 2011 that replacing the cards would cost between $812 million and $845 million.

“It’s definitely going to be a welcome change,” says Amy Nofziger, fraud expert with AARP Fraud Watch Network. A Social Security number is a key piece of information that a fraudster could use to open credit cards in your name or otherwise take advantage of your identity–so it should be closely guarded, not carried around in your wallet.

While doctors and hospital offices may need to create new procedures for the new cards, the transition should be simple from the beneficiary’s point of view: Just cut up your old card and replace it with the new one, Nofziger says.

Fraudsters will likely take advantage of confusion around the transition. Beware of scammers pretending to be with Medicare and demanding that you disclose your personal information or lose your benefits, Nofziger cautions. The government would never make such a threat, nor would Medicare officials ever call, email or text people asking for personally identifying information.

Beneficiaries can take steps to protect themselves until they get their new cards. Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need to carry your Medicare card with you at all times, says Robert Siciliano, CEO of IDTheftSecurity.com. While you may need to bring the original card to your first appointment with a new doctor, for many purposes you could show healthcare providers a picture of your card taken on your password-protected smartphone, Siciliano says.

Your partner or a trusted friend could also have a photo of your card on his or her phone, for those medical emergencies when you might not be able to speak for yourself. And if you really do wind up in the emergency room unaccompanied, you can always provide your insurance information later.

Article source: http://time.com/money/4798468/medicare-fixing-identity-theft-risk/

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Crime Report: More Hit & Runs, 3 Assaults & Identity Theft

Wednesday, May 31st, 2017

Another week and six more hit and run incidents in the City of Falls Church, according to the latest crime report released Tuesday, including one case where a vehicle broke off a sprinkler head at Pearson Square and caused damage to several businesses.

In addition to the hit and runs, there were three assaults (one at Eden Center, one at Argia’s and a domestic incident on Buxton Rd.), two cases of identity theft, an Arlington woman arrested for trying to obtain money by false pretenses at BJ’s and a report of two men selling defective electronics out of a van on W. Broad St.

 

City of Falls Church Crime Report: May 22 — 28, 2017

Drinking in Public, 306 Hillwood Ave (Lesly Restaurant Bar and Grill), May 22, while conducting an area check, officer observed an individual drinking from an open container of beer. A male, 34, of Springfield, VA was issued a summons for Drinking in Public.

Hit and Run, 300 blk W Broad St, May 22, vehicle parked Sat, May 20, between 10 AM and noon, was hit by another vehicle which left the scene.

Hit and Run, S Washington St/Tinners Hill St), May 22, victim reported driver of striking vehicle refused to give information. Investigation continues.

Larceny from Building, 700 W Broad St (The Kensington), May 22, resident reported items missing. Investigation continues.

Hit and Run, 400 blk S Maple Ave, May 22, vehicle parked May 20 between 9:30 and 11:30 AM, was hit by another vehicle which left the scene.

Assault – Simple, 6795 Wilson Blvd (Eden Center), May 22, officers responded to a fight call, possibly involving a knife. Suspects had left the scene before officers arrived. Victim stated he would not be able to identify his assailants and he did not wish to prosecute. Investigation continues.

Assault- Simple Domestic, 200 blk Buxton Rd, May 22, a male was arrested for assaulting a family member.

Hit and Run, 311 Park Ave, (Parking Lot), May 22, a parked, occupied vehicle was struck by another vehicle which failed to stop. Investigation continues.

Assault – Simple, 124 N Washington St (Argia’s), May 23, officers responded for a report of a verbal confrontation that escalated into an assault. Suspect had left the scene before officers arrived. Investigation continues.

Identity Theft, 400 blk W Broad St, May 23, victim reported that their personal information had been used to open a PayPal account without their knowledge.

Larceny from Building, 600 blk E. Columbia St, May 24, between noon May 22 and 5PM May 24, numerous pieces of equipment were taken from a possibly unsecured shed.

Hit and Run, 410 S Maple Ave (Pearson Sq.), May 24, a vehicle entered the garage with items attached to its roof and broke a sprinkler head and then left the scene. Fire department responded and shut off the water and fire alarm. Several businesses were damaged. Offender was contacted and agreed to provide all necessary information to the property manager. Investigation continues.

IdentityTheft, 500 blk Greenwich St, May 24, victim reported that unauthorized purchases had been made on their PayPal account.

Obtain Money by False Pretenses, 6607 Wilson Blvd, (BJ’s), May 25, a female, 29, of Arlington, VA, was arrested for obtaining money by false pretenses.

Hit and Run, 6757 Wilson Blvd (Eden Center), May 25, between 11:15 AM and 5:30 PM, a parked vehicle was struck by another vehicle which then left the scene.

Fraud-False Pretense/Swindle, 1000 blk W Broad St, May 25, two male subjects were reported to be selling defective electronic equipment out of a dark-colored minivan.

Larceny from Building, 500 blk E. Columbia St, May 26, sometime between May 21 and 24, a leaf blower and grass trimmer were taken from an unsecured shed.

Credit Card Fraud, 1000 blk Birch St, May 26, fraudulent use of a credit card was reported.

Larceny from Building, 200 blk N. Oak, between May 14 and May 21, a power washer, leaf blower and garden tiller were taken from a garage.

Smoking Violation, 6757 Wilson Blvd, #17, May 28, a male, 41, of Springfield, VA, was issued a summons for a Smoking Violation.

Drunk in Public, 306 Hillwood Ave, (Lesly Restaurant Bar and Grill), May 28, officers responded to a call of a verbal altercation between several male subjects. A male, 29, of no fixed address and a male, 30, of Falls Church, were arrested for being Drunk in Public.

OTHER ARRESTS

A male, 42, of Ft. Washington, MD, was arrested May 25 by the City of Fairfax PD, on an outstanding City of Falls Church misdemeanor warrant for Hit and Run.

A male, 47, or Newport News, VA, was arrested on a City of Falls Church Felony warrant for the robbery of a BBT Bank on October 21, 2014.


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Article source: https://fcnp.com/2017/05/30/crime-report-hit-runs-3-assaults-identity-theft/

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Medicare making changes to help prevent identity theft

Wednesday, May 31st, 2017


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2019 deadline to replace Social Security numbers






Article source: http://www.abc2news.com/news/world/medicare-making-changes-to-help-prevent-identity-theft

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Identity Theft Crisis Comes to Amherst Street

Tuesday, May 30th, 2017

Among the large houses and lush trees of Amherst Street, identity theft victims abound.

University Park police are investigating more than a half dozen recent identity theft cases where the victims have similar addresses.

On May 9, residents from five houses in the 3100 block reported discovering unauthorized credit cards opened in their names. On May 11 and 12, two more reports came in with the residents living at a home in the 3000 block and another in the 2800 block.

“We are working on the assumption that the cases that you have mentioned on Amherst are related,” said Lt. John L. Ball of the Criminal Investigations Division.

“We are currently collaborating with a number of other law enforcement agencies, and following up on a number of possible leads,” he said.

Other cases reported the same week by residents living nearby also had descriptions that sound potentially connected:

  • A resident in the 3900 block complained to police May 9 that someone had used her identifying information to obtain products and money.
  • A resident in the 3000 block of Hanover Street reported May 9 the fraudulent opening of a line of credit.
  • A resident in the 3300 block of Lovers Lane complained May 12 that someone had unlawfully opened two lines of credit.

“’Potentially’ is the key word,” Ball said. “At this point in the investigation we are unable to confirm.”

As for the cluster of cases from the 2800 through 3100 blocks of Amherst, linking them beyond type of crime and geography is challenging.

“It’s kind of hard to figure out what the common denominator was,” crime prevention officer Lita Snellgrove said. “It’s interesting trying to figure it out.”

According to uptexas.org, thieves uses a variety of methods to obtain the personal information required to commit acts of fraud.

They may steal wallets, purses, or mail containing checks or pre-approved credit cards. They could rummage through garbage of look over the shoulder of someone entering information at an ATM. They may call pretending to be from the government or credit card company.

“The possible ways to obtain your information continue to grow with advances in technology and with the inventiveness of the thief,” the website says.

Want to prevent identity theft? Closely guard Social Security numbers, banking and other financial information, credit card numbers, dates of birth, passwords, PINs, and driver’s license numbers.

  • ID Theft Prevention Tips
    Use a shredder to destroy old statements, pre-approved credit cards, and billing information.
  • Do not put checks in the mail from your home address, drop them in a U.S. Post Office mailbox.
  • Don’t leave mail sitting in the mailbox overnight.
  • Check bank statements and credit card bills closely.
  • Use anti-spyware and anti-virus software on your computers.
  • Immediately report lost or stolen credit and debit cards.

Article source: http://www.parkcitiespeople.com/crime/identity-theft-crisis-comes-to-amherst-street/

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Identity Theft Crisis Comes to Amherst Street

Tuesday, May 30th, 2017

Among the large houses and lush trees of Amherst Street, identity theft victims abound.

University Park police are investigating more than a half dozen recent identity theft cases where the victims have similar addresses.

On May 9, residents from five houses in the 3100 block reported discovering unauthorized credit cards opened in their names. On May 11 and 12, two more reports came in with the residents living at a home in the 3000 block and another in the 2800 block.

“We are working on the assumption that the cases that you have mentioned on Amherst are related,” said Lt. John L. Ball of the Criminal Investigations Division.

“We are currently collaborating with a number of other law enforcement agencies, and following up on a number of possible leads,” he said.

Other cases reported the same week by residents living nearby also had descriptions that sound potentially connected:

  • A resident in the 3900 block complained to police May 9 that someone had used her identifying information to obtain products and money.
  • A resident in the 3000 block of Hanover Street reported May 9 the fraudulent opening of a line of credit.
  • A resident in the 3300 block of Lovers Lane complained May 12 that someone had unlawfully opened two lines of credit.

“’Potentially’ is the key word,” Ball said. “At this point in the investigation we are unable to confirm.”

As for the cluster of cases from the 2800 through 3100 blocks of Amherst, linking them beyond type of crime and geography is challenging.

“It’s kind of hard to figure out what the common denominator was,” crime prevention officer Lita Snellgrove said. “It’s interesting trying to figure it out.”

According to uptexas.org, thieves uses a variety of methods to obtain the personal information required to commit acts of fraud.

They may steal wallets, purses, or mail containing checks or pre-approved credit cards. They could rummage through garbage of look over the shoulder of someone entering information at an ATM. They may call pretending to be from the government or credit card company.

“The possible ways to obtain your information continue to grow with advances in technology and with the inventiveness of the thief,” the website says.

Want to prevent identity theft? Closely guard Social Security numbers, banking and other financial information, credit card numbers, dates of birth, passwords, PINs, and driver’s license numbers.

  • ID Theft Prevention Tips
    Use a shredder to destroy old statements, pre-approved credit cards, and billing information.
  • Do not put checks in the mail from your home address, drop them in a U.S. Post Office mailbox.
  • Don’t leave mail sitting in the mailbox overnight.
  • Check bank statements and credit card bills closely.
  • Use anti-spyware and anti-virus software on your computers.
  • Immediately report lost or stolen credit and debit cards.

Article source: http://www.parkcitiespeople.com/crime/identity-theft-crisis-comes-to-amherst-street/

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Maryland ranks 7th nationwide in cases of identity theft – ABC2News …

Tuesday, May 30th, 2017

BALTIMORE – The Federal Trade Commission says Maryland is the seventh highest state in the country where people have fallen victim. 

The Better Business Bureau says vigilance online is the only measure you have to protect yourself. 

Checking bank statements, monitoring credit reports, and shredding documents makes it harder for thieves to take advantage. 

As you click, they’re waiting — scammers looking to steal your identity as you type in your valuable personal information. 

“It’s going to continue to increase year over year because of our online practices,” Angie Barnett, president and CEO of the Better Business Bureau – Greater Maryland, said. 

She says in the last ten years, the number of people in the state who’ve fallen victim to I.D. theft has skyrocketed. 

“Because we’re becoming a cashless society and using that wonderful debit card or credit card at the gas pump or at the ATM machine, we’re also increasing the odds that we are going to be victimized, at least with a credit card or bank fraud,” Barnett said. 

Less actual cash and more digital dollars. 

Barnett calls the Internet a ‘feeding ground’ for scammers. According to the FTC, there are about 137 complaints for every 100,000 residents in the state of Maryland.

On average, a person loses about $836.

“When you’re swiping your credit card, you must look for the key identifiers that your credit card information is encrypted meaning you’re going to look for that good,old little padlock that closes , you’re going to look at the URL and address that’s used, and make sure that it reflects that you use ‘https,'” Barnett said. 

Barnett says little tips and a little and a little time can help save you thousands of dollars. 

According to the FTC, in the last ten years there have been more than 150,000 more cases of ID theft. 

The Better Business Bureau recommends shredding documents with your personal information including debit and credit cars, constantly check your bank statements for any online activity and be cautious as you put your information online. 

“…children and millenials. Millenials online — they’re online and they have a higher trust of the online experience whether it’s putting in information, checking on accounts, or clicking on links in social media,” Barnett said.

Clicks that could not only cost you cash, but your identity and Barnett urges anyone who might be a victim to call police.

“It’s critically important that you report it because the impact is — first our law enforcement needs collective data to try and shut scam artists down particularly when they’re overseas. So that collective data is important, and reporting helps stop it from going further,” Barnett said. 

Article source: http://www.abc2news.com/news/state/maryland-ranks-7th-nationwide-in-cases-of-identity-theft

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Maryland ranks 7th nationwide in cases of identity theft – ABC2News …

Tuesday, May 30th, 2017

BALTIMORE – The Federal Trade Commission says Maryland is the seventh highest state in the country where people have fallen victim. 

The Better Business Bureau says vigilance online is the only measure you have to protect yourself. 

Checking bank statements, monitoring credit reports, and shredding documents makes it harder for thieves to take advantage. 

As you click, they’re waiting — scammers looking to steal your identity as you type in your valuable personal information. 

“It’s going to continue to increase year over year because of our online practices,” Angie Barnett, president and CEO of the Better Business Bureau – Greater Maryland, said. 

She says in the last ten years, the number of people in the state who’ve fallen victim to I.D. theft has skyrocketed. 

“Because we’re becoming a cashless society and using that wonderful debit card or credit card at the gas pump or at the ATM machine, we’re also increasing the odds that we are going to be victimized, at least with a credit card or bank fraud,” Barnett said. 

Less actual cash and more digital dollars. 

Barnett calls the Internet a ‘feeding ground’ for scammers. According to the FTC, there are about 137 complaints for every 100,000 residents in the state of Maryland.

On average, a person loses about $836.

“When you’re swiping your credit card, you must look for the key identifiers that your credit card information is encrypted meaning you’re going to look for that good,old little padlock that closes , you’re going to look at the URL and address that’s used, and make sure that it reflects that you use ‘https,'” Barnett said. 

Barnett says little tips and a little and a little time can help save you thousands of dollars. 

According to the FTC, in the last ten years there have been more than 150,000 more cases of ID theft. 

The Better Business Bureau recommends shredding documents with your personal information including debit and credit cars, constantly check your bank statements for any online activity and be cautious as you put your information online. 

“…children and millenials. Millenials online — they’re online and they have a higher trust of the online experience whether it’s putting in information, checking on accounts, or clicking on links in social media,” Barnett said.

Clicks that could not only cost you cash, but your identity and Barnett urges anyone who might be a victim to call police.

“It’s critically important that you report it because the impact is — first our law enforcement needs collective data to try and shut scam artists down particularly when they’re overseas. So that collective data is important, and reporting helps stop it from going further,” Barnett said. 

Article source: http://www.abc2news.com/news/state/maryland-ranks-7th-nationwide-in-cases-of-identity-theft

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System piggybacks on Bitcoin to prevent identity theft

Tuesday, May 30th, 2017

At the IEEE Symposium on Security and Privacy this week, researchers from MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory are presenting a new system that uses Bitcoin’s security machinery to defend against online identity theft.

“Our paper is about using Bitcoin to prevent online services from getting away with lying,” says Alin Tomescu, a graduate student in electrical engineering and computer science and first author on the paper. “When you build systems that are distributed and send each other digital signatures, for instance, those systems can be compromised, and they can lie. They can say one thing to one person and one thing to another. And we want to prevent that.”

An attacker who hacked a public-key encryption system, for instance, might “certify” — or cryptographically assert the validity of — a false encryption key, to trick users into revealing secret information. But it couldn’t also decertify the true key without setting off alarms, so there would be two keys in circulation bearing certification from the same authority. The new system, which Tomescu developed together with his thesis advisor, Srini Devadas, the Edwin Sibley Webster Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at MIT, defends against such “equivocation.”

Because Bitcoin is completely decentralized, the only thing ensuring its reliability is a massive public log — referred to as the blockchain — of every Bitcoin transaction conducted since the system was first introduced in 2009. Earlier systems have used the Bitcoin machinery to guard against equivocation, but for verification, they required the download of the entire blockchain, which is 110 gigabytes and growing hourly. Tomescu and Devadas’ system, by contrast, requires the download of only about 40 megabytes of data, so it could run on a smartphone.

Striking paydirt

Extending the blockchain is integral to the process of minting — or in Bitcoin terminology, “mining” — new bitcoins. The mining process is built around a mathematical function, called a one-way hash function, that takes three inputs: the last log entry in the blockchain; a new blockchain entry, in which the miner awards him- or herself a fixed number of new bitcoins (currently 12.5); and an integer. The output of the function is a string of 1s and 0s.

Mining consists of trying to find a value for the input integer that results in an output string with a prescribed number of leading 0s — currently about 72. There’s no way to do this except to try out lots of options, and even with a huge bank of servers churning away in the cloud the process typically takes about 10 minutes. And it’s a race: Adding a new entry — or “block” — to the blockchain invalidates the most recent work of all other miners, who now have to start over using the newly added block as an input.

In addition to assigning the winning miner the latest quota of bitcoins, a new block in the blockchain also records recent transactions by Bitcoin users. Roughly 100,000 commercial vendors in the real world now accept payment in bitcoins. To verify a payment, the payer and vendor simply broadcast a record of their transaction to the Bitcoin network. Miners add the transaction to the blocks they’re working on, and when the transaction shows up in the blockchain, it’s a matter of public record.

The transaction record also has room for an 80-character text annotation. Eighty characters isn’t enough to record, say, all the public keys certified by a public-key cryptography system. But it is enough to record a cryptographic signature verifying that a certification elsewhere on the Internet is legitimate.

Previous schemes for preventing equivocation simply stored such signatures in the annotations of transaction records. Bitcoin’s existing security structure prevents tampering with the signatures.

But verifying that a Web service using those schemes wasn’t equivocating required examining every transaction in every block of the blockchain — or at least, every block added since the service first used the scheme to certify a public assertion. It’s that verification process that Tomescu and Devadas have refined.

Efficient audits

“Our idea is so simple — it’s embarrassingly simple,” Tomescu says. The central requirement of Bitcoin is that no one can spend the same bitcoin in more than one place, and the system has cryptographic protocols in place to prevent that from happening.

So Tomescu and Devadas’s system — called Catena — simply adds the requirement that every Bitcoin transaction that logs a public assertion must involve an actual bitcoin transfer. Users may simply transfer the bitcoin to themselves, but that precludes the possibility of transferring the bitcoin to anyone else in the same block of the blockchain. Consequently, it also precludes equivocation within the block.

To prevent equivocation between blocks, it’s still necessary to confirm that the bitcoin that the Catena user spends in one block is the same one that it spent the last time it made a public assertion. But again, because the ability to verify a bitcoin’s chain of custody is so central to the success of the whole Bitcoin system, this is relatively easy to do. People who want to use Catena to audit all the public assertions of a given Web service still need to download information from every block of the blockchain. But they need to download only a small cryptographic proof — about 600 bytes — for each block, rather than the block’s full megabyte of data.

Article source: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/05/170524131131.htm

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Maryland ranks 7th nationwide in cases of identity theft

Tuesday, May 30th, 2017

BALTIMORE – The Federal Trade Commission says Maryland is the seventh highest state in the country where people have fallen victim. 

The Better Business Bureau says vigilance online is the only measure you have to protect yourself. 

Checking bank statements, monitoring credit reports, and shredding documents makes it harder for thieves to take advantage. 

As you click, they’re waiting — scammers looking to steal your identity as you type in your valuable personal information. 

“It’s going to continue to increase year over year because of our online practices,” Angie Barnett, president and CEO of the Better Business Bureau – Greater Maryland, said. 

She says in the last ten years, the number of people in the state who’ve fallen victim to I.D. theft has skyrocketed. 

“Because we’re becoming a cashless society and using that wonderful debit card or credit card at the gas pump or at the ATM machine, we’re also increasing the odds that we are going to be victimized, at least with a credit card or bank fraud,” Barnett said. 

Less actual cash and more digital dollars. 

Barnett calls the Internet a ‘feeding ground’ for scammers. According to the FTC, there are about 137 complaints for every 100,000 residents in the state of Maryland.

On average, a person loses about $836.

“When you’re swiping your credit card, you must look for the key identifiers that your credit card information is encrypted meaning you’re going to look for that good,old little padlock that closes , you’re going to look at the URL and address that’s used, and make sure that it reflects that you use ‘https,'” Barnett said. 

Barnett says little tips and a little and a little time can help save you thousands of dollars. 

According to the FTC, in the last ten years there have been more than 150,000 more cases of ID theft. 

The Better Business Bureau recommends shredding documents with your personal information including debit and credit cars, constantly check your bank statements for any online activity and be cautious as you put your information online. 

“…children and millenials. Millenials online — they’re online and they have a higher trust of the online experience whether it’s putting in information, checking on accounts, or clicking on links in social media,” Barnett said.

Clicks that could not only cost you cash, but your identity and Barnett urges anyone who might be a victim to call police.

“It’s critically important that you report it because the impact is — first our law enforcement needs collective data to try and shut scam artists down particularly when they’re overseas. So that collective data is important, and reporting helps stop it from going further,” Barnett said. 

Article source: http://www.abc2news.com/news/state/maryland-ranks-7th-nationwide-in-cases-of-identity-theft

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