Archive for June, 2017

Here’s how to protect your children from identity theft

Friday, June 30th, 2017

Bloomberg

Alan Brill has scoured computers for intelligence left by Iraqi forces retreating from Kuwait. He has probed a bank in Bosnia suspected of funding ethnically targeted mass murder. He has investigated the work of hackers who got inside the 2008 presidential campaign networks of Barack Obama and John McCain.

What’s on his radar now? Your kids.

As school ends and camp and summer jobs begin, scammers are after their identities, which can be teased out from information given in application forms. Identity thieves can use a child’s Social Security number, for example, to “apply for government benefits, open bank and credit card accounts, apply for a loan or utility service, or rent a place to live,” the Federal Trade Commission warns on its website.

“When you think about kids, in some ways they have the most vulnerable identities, but they are the ones people think about least,” said Brill, senior managing director for cybersecurity and investigations at the New York security firm Kroll Inc. “It’s kind of a perfect storm for the bad guys.”

Kids’ identities, which can be used for a long time, are low-hanging fruit. In addition to requesting a Social Security number, camps, sports leagues, and potential employers may ask for insurance information and other personal data. Criminals see computer systems at camps and other extracurricular programs as easy hacking targets. At the same time, there are no potentially lucrative financial accounts tied to a child’s identity. So while the future damage can be incalculable, your child’s identity goes for cheap — $10 to $25 on the dark web, depending on supply and demand.

While it isn’t clear how many child identity thefts are committed annually in the U.S., said Brian Lapidus, who heads the identity theft and breach notification practice at Kroll, “this is a big problem that we’re seeing an increase in year over year, as criminals get more savvy.”

Here, Brill and Lapidus offer their thoughts on child ID theft. Kroll and ID protection company LegalShield launched a service called IDShield two years ago, but such services aren’t the first line of defense for concerned parents. It’s simple awareness of the problem.

Both men have quizzed their children’s or grandchildren’s camps on their cybersecurity practices and safeguards. You can imagine it was a pretty good grilling. Here’s what to do and what to look out for in guarding your own young ones’ identities from thieves.

Q: How do you know if your child’s identity has been stolen?

Brill: Unfortunately, in many cases you find out the hard way. Either your kid eventually applies for credit and discovers he has a terrible record, or someone has been using your kid’s information for something like W-2 fraud, using it to work when they’re not supposed to be working, and a year and a half later your child gets a nasty letter from the IRS saying, “We have W-2’s for you, why haven’t you filed your taxes?”

Or your kid looks to go to college, and the college says, “Why do you owe AmEx $37,000 on a credit card, and why do you have bankruptcies on your record?” It can cause problems for the kid, and for parents who want to protect the identity of the of kid.

Another thing we see that is scary is how criminals use your kid’s identity to get medical services for another kid. In this age of electronic medical records, there may be a fairly extensive record under your child’s identity, but it has a different medical history and blood type than your child. The last thing you want is your child to go into the hospital and the medical staff to have the wrong information and your child’s medical history and all else.

Q: What are other areas in a child’s world where identity theft issues come up?

Brill: The internet of things. You probably read about the (Bluetooth-enabled) doll marketed in Germany that recorded a lot more than you, as a parent, would want and sent it to a cloud-based server. A lot of American toy companies follow the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act about collecting information from kids. But when you get knockoff versions of a product that is imported, that’s not necessarily the case, and you don’t know where the data is going, how it is being protected, if it is being misused.

Lapidus: Also, you have teenagers applying for jobs in the summer, and with a lot of applications, they have to give their Social Security number. You see job fairs where someone shows up saying, “I’m from X organization,” and people fill out applications. What the group really is is an identity theft ring. Say it’s a popular job fair, they get 500 applications, they walk out the door and have 500 identities to sell on the dark web that day.

Q: In that case does a parent just tell their teen not to give out a Social Security number?

Lapidus: I’m not sure most 16-year olds would say this … but conceivably they could say, “Hey, I’m really interested in working for your organization, but I’m not going to give you my Social Security until you are ready to make an offer because my dad is in security, and I worry about things like that.” It’s about having that dialogue with your child and that sense of awareness.

Q: Where are the attacks coming from? What kind of cybercriminals are we talking about?

Brill: In large part, the nation/state actors don’t care about your kid’s data. If they were to get it, it would just be accidental along with other stuff they grabbed. The people who traffic in this data are mostly commercial cybercriminals who are going to use it for credit frauds, medical frauds and W-2 frauds. It tends to be very low-level hackers who aren’t very creative. But if the place where the data is stored hasn’t done the security basics, they can run an attack that might get them that data.

Q: Aside from warning your kids, what can a parent really do?

Brill: To me it’s really an area where parents can do quite a bit, but not if they aren’t thinking about it. The first question to ask a company is how are you protecting my kid’s data? If they look at you like you are speaking Klingon, that’s probably not a good thing. You want to hear something that makes sense, for them to have an answer that shows they have thought about it. They might tell you how they limit access to data, how they limit the information they collect. I’ve found that once you ask that question and listen to the answer, you tend to get a good or bad feeling about whether they are serious about it or not. It all comes down to consciousness of this as an issue, asking questions, and in some cases working together. Very often a camp will have a parents association, and if your kid was there last year and is going again this year, you probably have some contacts that you can speak with and take a little collective action.

And you want to monitor your kid’s Social Security record just as you would for an adult to see if anything is reported.

Lapidus: You can see if a credit file is available on your child. A lot of products have the capability to do some kind of monitoring for minors. There are some indicators of (identity) compromise. There’s monitoring of the dark web. One thing I always find interesting is if a child gets an explanation of benefits from an insurance company and it has nothing to do with them. You might think that was just a clerical mistake, but it would be an indicator that something is awry. We had a case a few years ago where an 87-year-old woman received an EOB for a rhinoplasty. She called us up and said, “Hey, I have not had a nose job.”

Article source: http://www.heraldnet.com/business/heres-how-to-protect-your-children-from-identity-theft/

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Sheriff’s deputy tells judge he committed identity theft to help send …

Friday, June 30th, 2017

A Palm Beach County sheriff’s deputy admitted Thursday that he used his access to law enforcement databases to steal dozens of people’s identities.

But he told a federal judge he did it to help the children of Palm Beach County — not to enrich himself.

Sheriff’s Deputy Frantz Felisma, 43, pleaded guilty to federal identity theft and fraud charges, but he said he never received any money for his role in the scheme. He said he intended to use the proceeds to send high school students to college and help them get soccer training in Brazil.

“That was my plan to stop crime in Palm Beach County,” he told U.S. District Judge Donald Middlebrooks.

Felisma, a community volunteer and athletics coach, was named deputy of the year for the Delray Beach region just days before he was arrested in December.

Federal court records don’t show any of the stolen money going to help high school students further their education. But investigators allege Felisma gave information to his partner in the scheme, Kesner Joaseus, who fraudulently opened credit card and banking accounts.

Joaseus, who pleaded guilty to his role and was sentenced to 11 years in prison on those and other fraud charges, used cash advances from those accounts to make down payments on two luxury cars, according to court documents.

Friendship or Identity Theft? In This French Best Seller, It’s Hard to Tell.

Friday, June 30th, 2017
Photo


Credit
Lydia Ortiz

BASED ON A TRUE STORY
By Delphine de Vigan
Translated by George Miller
378 pp. Bloomsbury. $28.

The horrors of authorship — missed deadlines, self-loathing, isolation — provide especially good material for psychological thrillers. The writer works in solitude, sequestered in a lonely house in a deserted town, incapable of producing a page. If the writer achieves any measure of fame, she attracts the kind of weirdo fans who believe they have somehow inhabited the writer’s brain through her work and have earned a personal connection. Add a twisted, witchy relationship that’s closer to identity theft than friendship, and you have Delphine de Vigan’s latest novel, “Based on a True Story.”

It’s “Gone Girl” put through a Gallic blender, dressed up with notes from classic manipulation and sanity fables — “Single White Female,” “Misery,” “The Shining,” “The Talented Mr. Ripley” — and robustly anointed with Sartrean navel gazing. The cinematic narrative (already adapted by Roman Polanski and unveiled at Cannes this year) unspools as you read: Overwhelmed by the success of her best-selling autobiographical novel, Delphine encounters a vicious case of writer’s block, incapable even of responding to an email. Her children have just left for college, and her lover, François, a documentary filmmaker, is usually off wandering the globe. Her hair frizzy and her clothes rumpled, Delphine is dégonflée.

Photo


Enter L., an expertly coifed Frenchwoman who works as a ghostwriter of celebrity memoirs. Chic and glittering, she keeps an eerily spotless apartment and a wardrobe en pointe. After the two women meet at a dim party and throw back a few kitchen-table vodkas, L. insinuates herself into Delphine’s life, answering her mail, writing her long-overdue preface to a classic novel, even offering to appear as her stand-in at a lecture, dressed and styled exactly as Delphine. (She also bakes a mean tagine.)

L. suggests that she and Delphine attended the same high school, noting defensively that Delphine doesn’t remember her — like a French noir version of that kid from eighth grade reaching out on Facebook. L. adores the same two little-known movies as Delphine and shares her obscure obsession with the 1980s tennis star Ivan Lendl. Things turn rapidly more sinister: After L. starts wearing the same ankle boots, the same brand of bluejeans, dressing and modeling herself after Delphine, she suddenly needs a new place to live for a few weeks and moves in. (François is still traveling the globe. François, come back!) She locks herself in her room, at times laughing raucously, talking loudly to possibly nonexistent people, working away at her celebrity ghost biographies. (Then again, I’ve known some ghostwriters. This may be not so far from their daily reality.) We discover L.’s rage issues.

After this point, I don’t advise reading the novel at night, alone. The two women move to the countryside so Delphine can recover (in a nod to Stephen King’s “Misery”) from a broken foot. I had to read the last 100 pages in a sunny room with my children playing nearby. And I still got the chills. The final coup de grâce — the delivery of a final MacGuffin manuscript — will leave you with questions about the nature of reality and sanity.

A best seller in France, the novel will find its passionate readers here despite the occasionally clunky translation. I’m not sure most American readers will know what the phrase “pip you to the post” means, which, instead of adding gravity to a long monologue in a dark Euro thriller, put me in mind of some merry British translator sitting in a Sussex cottage huddled over his MacBook Pro. And the word “complicity” appears many times throughout the book, implying friendship and understanding, when the word in fact refers to the state of being an accomplice or partner in a wrongdoing. But maybe I’m wrong. Maybe that ambiguity is precisely what de Vigan intended.

Alex Kuczynski is the author of “Beauty Junkies.”

A version of this review appears in print on July 2, 2017, on Page BR11 of the Sunday Book Review with the headline: Copycats and Confidantes.


Continue reading the main story

Article source: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/06/30/books/review/based-on-a-true-story-delphine-de-vigan.html

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JCPD officers arrest man on theft of property, identity theft charges

Friday, June 30th, 2017

JOHNSON CITY, TN (WJHL) – Johnson City Police Department officers arrested a man on identity theft and theft of property charges.

According to a JCPD news release, Thomas Edward Evans, 30, was charged with 15 counts of identity theft and 15 counts of theft of property under $1,000.

Evans’ arrest was the result of two separate investigations where victims said their debit or credit cards were taken and used at multiple locations in Johnson City.

Police located Evans at his home and was arrested.

He was taken to the Washington County Detention Center, where he was being held on $167,000 bond.

Evans was scheduled to be arraigned in Sessions Court Friday at 10:30 a.m.

Copyright 2017 WJHL. All rights reserved.

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Article source: http://wjhl.com/2017/06/29/jcpd-officers-arrest-man-on-theft-of-property-identity-theft-charges/

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NEW: Former PBSO pleads guilty to federal identity theft charges

Friday, June 30th, 2017

Frantz Felisma, the 43-year-old Boynton Beach resident, originally pleaded guilty in March to aggravated identity theft, access device fraud and conspiracy to commit identity theft. Later, he was allowed to recant the plea to take the case to trial. He was set to begin his trial July 10, according to court records. It’s unclear why he changed his plea again.

Article source: http://www.palmbeachpost.com/news/crime--law/new-former-pbso-pleads-guilty-federal-identity-theft-charges/yVXnA8NTuToIIftyytukoN/

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For Some Bereaved Parents, Grief is Compounded by Identity Theft

Thursday, June 29th, 2017

How frequently bereaved parents face this form of secondary victimization is unknown, but identity theft presents a risk for all families who have experienced the death of a child. At greatest risk are those who have lost a dependent child, ages 0 to 18, because of the financial gain associated with the tax credit. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates as many as 40,000 children, between the ages of 0 to 18, die each year. In April of this year, parents who had lost their two-month old son, Nathan, more than 44 years ago discovered that his identity was stolen by a man who used it to escape from a halfway house in the mid-1990’s. And these are just two examples of this unthinkable crime.

Article source: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/for-some-bereaved-parents-grief-is-compounded-by-identity_us_59545aa2e4b0f078efd98758

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Knoxville woman questions: Job application or identity theft?

Thursday, June 29th, 2017

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) While unemployment rates in Tennessee are at a 20 year low, finding a job can still be tough. Now, a Knoxville woman says the search for that job could lead to identity theft.

“You think it can never happen to you, but now I know,” Franchesca Sellas said.

Sellas believes someone stole her identity from applications she filled out for server positions over the past few months. She believes crooks didn’t just go after her name and address, but also swiped her social security number.

Sellas had three iPhone 7 devices bought in her name and delivered to her door. She said ATT told her the thief used her name, address and social security number to buy them.

“They must have picked it up, they must have sat outside my door and waited for it to be delivered,” Sellas said.

When it comes down to it, Sellas said she won’t write down her Social Security Number on documents anymore; instead, she will write, “upon request.”

Sellas is on a mission to make sure others don’t make the same mistake she did, but she also said employers have to watch out where they put their applications.

Article source: http://www.local8now.com/content/news/Job-application-or-identity-theft-Knoxville-woman-believes-thats-how-her-identity-was-stolen-431394553.html

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How to Protect Your Child From Identity Theft

Thursday, June 29th, 2017

Alan Brill has scoured computers for intelligence left by Iraqi forces retreating from Kuwait. He has probed a bank in Bosnia suspected of funding ethnically targeted mass murder. He has investigated the work of hackers who got inside the 2008 presidential campaign networks of Barack Obama and John McCain. 

What’s on his radar now? Your kids.

As school ends and camp and summer jobs begin, scammers are after their identities, which can be teased out from information given in application forms. Identity thieves can use a child’s Social Security number, for example, to “apply for government benefits, open bank and credit card accounts, apply for a loan or utility service, or rent a place to live,” the Federal Trade Commission warns on its website.

“When you think about kids, in some ways they have the most vulnerable identities, but they are the ones people think about least,” said Brill, senior managing director for cybersecurity and investigations at the New York security firm Kroll Inc. “It’s kind of a perfect storm for the bad guys.

Kids’ identities, which can be used for a long time, are low-hanging fruit. In addition to requesting a Social Security number, camps, sports leagues, and potential employers may ask for insurance information and other personal data. Criminals see computer systems at camps and other extracurricular programs as easy hacking targets. At the same time, there are no potentially lucrative financial accounts tied to a child’s identity. So while the future damage can be incalculable, your child’s identity goes for cheap—$10 to $25 on the dark web, depending on supply and demand.

While it isn’t clear how many child identity thefts are committed annually in the U.S., said Brian Lapidus, who heads the identity theft and breach notification practice at Kroll, “this is a big problem that we’re seeing an increase in year over year, as criminals get more savvy.”

Here, Brill and Lapidus offer their thoughts on child ID theft. Kroll and ID protection company LegalShield launched a service called IDShield two years ago, but such services aren’t the first line of defense for concerned parents. It’s simple awareness of the problem. 

Both men have quizzed their children’s or grandchildren’s camps on their cybersecurity practices and safeguards. You can imagine it was a pretty good grilling. Here’s what to do and what to look out for in guarding your own young ones’ identities from thieves.

How do you even know if your child’s identity has been stolen?

Brill: Unfortunately, in many cases you find out the hard way. Either your kid eventually applies for credit and discovers he has a terrible record, or someone has been using your kid’s information for something like W-2 fraud, using it to work when they’re not supposed to be working, and a year and a half later your child gets a nasty letter from the IRS saying, “We have W-2’s for you, why haven’t you filed your taxes?”

Or your kid looks to go to college, and the college says, “Why do you owe AmEx $37,000 on a credit card, and why do you have bankruptcies on your record?” It can cause problems for the kid, and for parents who want to protect the identity of the of kid.

Another thing we see that is also scary is how criminals use your kid’s identity to get medical services for another kid. In this age of electronic medical records, there may be a fairly extensive record under your child’s identity, but it has a different medical history and blood type than your child. The last thing you want is your child to go into the hospital and the medical staff to have the wrong information and your child’s medical history and all else.

What are other areas in a child’s world where identity theft issues come up?  

Brill: The internet of things. You probably read about the [blue-tooth-enabled] doll marketed in Germany that recorded a lot more than you as a parent would want, and sent it to a cloud-based server. A lot of American toy companies follow the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act about collecting information from kids. But when you get knockoff versions of a product that is imported, that’s not necessarily the case, and you don’t know where the data is going, how it is being protected, if it is being misused.

Lapidus: Also, you have teenagers applying for jobs in the summer, and with a lot of applications they have to give their Social Security number. You see job fairs where someone shows up saying I’m from X organization and people fill out applications. What the group really is is an identity theft ring. Say it’s a popular job fair, they get 500 applications, they walk out the door and have 500 identities to sell on the dark web that day.

So in that case does a parent just tell their teen not to give out a Social Security number?

Lapidus: I’m not sure most sixteen-year olds would say this—my 11-year-old might, but he’s an exception—but conceivably they could say hey, I’m really interested in working for your organization, but I’m not going to give you my Social Security until you are ready to make an offer, because my dad is in security and I worry about things like that. It’s about having that dialogue with your child and that sense of awareness.

Where are the attacks coming from? What kind of cybercriminals are we talking about?

Brill: In large part, the nation/state actors don’t care about your kid’s data. If they were to get it, it would just be accidental along with other stuff they grabbed. The people that traffic in this data are mostly commercial cybercriminals who are going to use it for credit frauds, medical frauds, and W-2 frauds. It tends to be very low-level hackers who aren’t very creative. But if the place where the data is stored hasn’t done the security basics, they can run an attack that might get them that data.

Aside from warning your kids , what can a parent really do?

Brill: To me it’s really an area where parents can do quite a bit, but not if they aren’t thinking about it. The first question to ask a company is how are you protecting my kid’s data? If they look at you like you are speaking Klingon, that’s probably not a good thing. You want to hear something that makes sense, for them to have an answer that shows they have thought about it. They might tell you how they limit access to data, how they limit the information they collect. I’ve found that once you ask that question and listen to the answer, you tend to get a good or bad feeling about whether they are serious about it or not.

It all comes down to consciousness of this as an issue, asking questions, and in some cases working together. Very often a camp will have a parents association, and if your kid was there last year and is going again this year, you probably have some contacts that you can speak with and take a little collective action.

And you want to monitor your kid’s Social Security record just as you would for an adult to see if anything is reported.

Lapidus: You can see if a credit file is available on your child. A lot of products have the capability to do some kind of monitoring for minors. There are some indicators of [identity] compromise. There’s monitoring of the dark web. One thing I always find interesting is if a child gets an explanation of benefits from an insurance company and it has nothing to do with them. You might think that was just a clerical mistake, but it would be an indicator that something is awry. We had a case a few years ago where an 87-year-old woman received an EOB for a rhinoplasty. She called us up and said, “Hey, I have not had a nose job.”

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    Article source: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-06-29/how-to-protect-your-child-from-identity-theft

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Who is most at risk of identity theft? The answer might surprise you …

Thursday, June 29th, 2017

If asked, who would you say are the type of people most vulnerable to identity theft? The young and transient, whose credit cards find their way to the doormats of long-left flat shares? The elderly and vulnerable, who unwittingly reveal personal information to fraudsters? How about the savvy and entrepreneurial?

A new report by Cifas reveals that around 20 per cent of identity fraud victims are company directors, even though they make up less than 9 per cent of the UK’s population. Cifas, a not-for-profit company which works to protect organisations and individuals from financial crime, says this makes company directors one of the most at-risk groups for identity fraud crimes.

Not only were company directors statistically more likely to be victims of fraud, but as with other victims they were also found to be at risk from being targeted more than once by identity fraudsters. The Cifas report suggests 17 per cent of director-level victims had suffered impersonation fraud more than once across the three-and-a-half-year period. This comes at a time when identity fraud is at an all-time high, having risen by more than 68 per cent since 2010 to almost 173,000 individual cases in 2016.

The reason for company directors’ high-risk status is the fact some of their personal details will always be in the public domain. Their correspondence address, date of birth and occupation are all freely available through Companies House. Such information can give thieves a head start in piecing together the details they need to apply for loans or make purchases in someone else’s name.

On publication of the report, Cifas chair Lady Barbara Judge CBE advised the following: ‘There will always be more publicly available information about you if you run your own business compared to other individuals. I would encourage company directors to do as much as possible to separate their personal and company personas.’

Cifas also issued a checklist to help company directors protect themselves, but the advice is worth heeding by non-business owners too. Cifas recommends that you:

  • Review your credit file regularly through agencies such as Callcredit, Equifax or Experian. This will enable you to spot any suspicious activity before it is too late.
  • Think about your digital footprint. Make things more difficult for fraudsters by limiting what personal info is available in the public domain, either on social media or professional networking sites. Also, if you are a business owner, consider listing a business address rather than home address on public director registers. The fewer pieces of the jigsaw a fraudster can get hold of, the harder it will be for them to impersonate you.
  • Shred all your financial documents before you throw them away and remember to redirect your mail if you change address or move home.

If you are targeted by identity fraudsters, the UK’s national reporting centre for fraud and cybercrime Action Fraud advises you to take a number of steps, including reporting the crime to them.

If you think you’ve fallen victim, you should also:

  • Act quickly – even though you didn’t order those goods or open that bank account, the bad debts will end up under your name and address.
  • If you believe you’re a victim of identity fraud involving credit and debit cards, online banking or cheques, report it to your bank as soon as possible. Your bank will then be responsible for investigating the issue and reporting any criminal activity to the police. The police will then record your case and decide whether to carry out follow-up investigations.
  • Report all lost or stolen documents, such as passports, driving licences, cards and cheque books, to the relevant organisations.
  • Contact the Royal Mail Customer Enquiry line on 08457 740 740 if you suspect your mail is being stolen, or that a mail redirection has been fraudulently set up on your address. Royal Mail has an investigation unit that will be able to help you.

Cifas’s report demonstrates how we’re all increasingly vulnerable to identity crimes, even financially empowered business owners. Getting into good financial and social media housekeeping can protect us all, as will remaining vigilant and knowing who to call as soon as you suspect you’ve been targeted.

Helen Monks Takhar is a freelance journalist and writer

Article source: https://blogs.spectator.co.uk/2017/06/identity-theft-fraud/

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‘Flamboyant’ Suspect Sought In Bay Area Identity Theft, Fraud « CBS …

Thursday, June 29th, 2017

WALNUT CREEK (CBS SF) — Police in Walnut Creek are seeking the public’s help in locating a suspect accused of committing fraud and identity theft.

fraud suspect Flamboyant Suspect Sought In Bay Area Identity Theft, Fraud

Christopher Newton, seen in photos provided by Walnut Creek Police Dept.

According to police, Christopher Newton is suspected of stealing a purse from a yoga studio earlier this month, and making fraudulent credit card purchases in Pleasant Hill, Pittsburg and San Francisco.

Newton also has warrants from three Bay Area jurisdictions related to fraud and identity theft, police said.

Police released multiple photos of Newton and said witnesses described him as talking with a “feminine” voice and being “flamboyant.”

Anyone with information about Newton’s whereabouts is asked to contact Walnut Creek police Detective Vevera at (925) 943-5875 or vevera@walnutcreekpd.com.

Article source: http://sanfrancisco.cbslocal.com/2017/06/28/suspect-bay-area-identity-theft-fraud/

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