Archive for November, 2017

2 Murrieta Homeless Women Arrested Again For Identity Theft

Thursday, November 23rd, 2017

MURRIETA, CA — Two homeless women in Murrieta were arrested recently for identity theft after previously being accused of the same crime. Jaquelyne Gutierrez and Lauren Colyott were arrested on Nov. 16 at a Riverside County courthouse, according to the Murrieta Police Department.

Police said they received information about an Irvine resident who had her identity stolen in October. The thief allegedly made unauthorized purchases after opening bank accounts and credit cards. During the investigation, the suspect was identified as Gutierrez, 24, police said.

Gutierrez, who was on probation for identity theft, has prior convictions for mail theft, identity theft, and use of fraudulent checks, was arrested for identity theft, police said.

Police also arrested her acquaintance, Lauren Colyott, 34, who is on active probation for identity theft. During a search, detectives found methamphetamine, narcotics paraphernalia and counterfeit U.S. currency inside Colyott’s car and purse, police said. Colyott was arrested for the possession of narcotics, paraphernalia and counterfeit money.

Both suspects were booked into the Cois Byrd Detention Center.

–Murrieta Police Department

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Former Laguna Beach woman pleads guilty to check and identity theft

Thursday, November 23rd, 2017

A former Laguna Beach woman has pleaded guilty to trying to cash a stolen check using a stolen identification card.

Laguna Beach police responded to the Bank of America at 299 Ocean Ave. shortly after the transaction in June but couldn’t find a suspect.

On Nov. 13, Alexandra Nichole Hovas, 26, was arrested after someone recognized her in bank security footage posted on the Police Department’s Facebook page.

She pleaded guilty Tuesday in Orange County Superior Court to felony charges of making fictitious instruments and unauthorized use of personal identifying information, according to court records.

FCC Won’t Help Uncover Identity Theft in Net Neutrality Comments, Says New York’s Top Prosecutor

Thursday, November 23rd, 2017
Photo: Getty

On Tuesday, the FCC finally unveiled its plans to kill net neutrality, and on the same day, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman publicly excoriated the agency for refusing to cooperate with his office’s investigation into the hundreds of thousands of likely fake comments that were filed in support of ending the open web.

In a letter addressed to FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, Schneiderman explained that the FCC’s process for considering the repeal of net neutrality protections under Title II of the Communications Act has been “corrupted by the fraudulent use of Americans’ identities.” He wrote:

Specifically, for six months my office has been investigating who perpetrated a massive scheme to corrupt the FCC’s notice and comment process through the misuse of enormous numbers of real New Yorkers’ and other Americans’ identities. Such conduct likely violates state law — yet the FCC has refused multiple requests for crucial evidence in its sole possession that is vital to permit that law enforcement investigation to proceed…

In May 2017, researchers and reporters discovered that the FCC’s public comment process was being corrupted by the submission of enormous numbers of fake comments concerning the possible repeal of net neutrality rules. In doing so, the perpetrator or perpetrators attacked what is supposed to be an open public process by attempting to drown out and negate the views of the real people, businesses, and others who honestly commented on this important issue. Worse, while some of these fake comments used made up names and addresses, many misused the real names and addresses of actual people as part of the effort to undermine the integrity of the comment process. That’s akin to identity theft, and it happened on a massive scale.

Schneiderman’s investigation has found tens of thousands of New Yorkers may have had their identities used to support the repeal of net neutrality without their knowledge. He also says that hundreds of thousands of Americans in other states could also be victims of this shady plot. To properly do his job, Schneiderman needs information that only the FCC can provide. “Yet we have received no substantive response to our investigative requests,” he wrote. “None.”


The state attorney general insists that this isn’t about the issue of net neutrality itself, though he notes that studies show the vast majority support Title II protections. Schneiderman’s investigation is into whether New Yorkers were illegally impersonated when the FCC opened the proposed rule change to public comment, as is required by federal law. An ISP-funded study in August found that 98.5 percent of unique net neutrality comments submitted to the FCC supported maintaining the current rules. But we don’t know exactly how many comments that supported the dismantling of those rules were fakes, bots, or stolen identities. It seems impossible for the FCC to legitimately say that it’s followed the proper procedures until investigators have resolved this matter.

The fact is that comments supporting net neutrality could be fake as well. The National Legal and Policy Center, a conservative research group, found that “over 1.3 million additional pro-net neutrality comments submitted to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) appear to be coming from non-U.S. filers from foreign countries.” More than a million of the comments supporting net neutrality came from email addresses with a domain extension.

Since there’s overwhelming evidence that Americans do, in fact, support net neutrality protections, the issue here is about the FCC failing to uphold the integrity of the legally-required public comment process. Ajit Pai has publicly made it clear that he wants to repeal these protections for a long time, so there’s no reason to believe that he’d even listen to what the public has to say. What’s baffling is that he can’t even ensure that it at least appears he wants the rules followed properly.


We’ve reached out to the FCC for a response to Schneiderman’s accusations and will update this post when we receive a response. Considering the phone number for Pai’s office that was listed on the FCC’s net neutrality announcement yesterday has been disconnected, we have to imagine he’s not in the mood to talk.

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LegalShield Cautions Shoppers and Businesses to Be Aware of Increased Cyber Breach and ID Theft Attempts on …

Thursday, November 23rd, 2017

ADA, Okla.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–LegalShield,
one of North America’s leading providers of affordable legal plans and
the IDShield identity theft solution for individuals, families and small
businesses, wants to help make your holiday season as happy and
stress-free as possible, starting with Black Friday.

Retailers are a vulnerable target for data breach during the holidays,
especially online. In 2013, Target reported a major cyber breach during
the Black Friday weekend, compromising approximately 110 million credit
card and debit card accounts. Also, according to a 2016 Verizon
investigation, denial-of-service attacks on sites, perhaps helped along
by breaches at the point-of-sale and in unsecure web apps, are among the
most frequent and disabling security incidents.

“Cybersecurity must be top of mind for both individuals and businesses
during the holiday season. Criminals look for every opportunity to
breach data systems, such as public Wi-Fi and unsecured networks,”
explained Jeff Bell, LegalShield CEO. “As we’ve seen with Equifax,
Target and numerous national retailers, a credit breach can be
devastating. As consumer preferences increasingly move to online and
mobile shopping for the holidays, our hope is that both individual and
heads of household sign up for ID protection.”

“The IDShield
identity theft solution for individuals and families, leads the identity
theft protection service industry with the most robust set of consumer
protection features on the market today,” continued Bell. “It is the
only protection product that includes full restoration services—handled
by dedicated licensed private investigators trained in helping people
recover from a hack or another form of ID theft. The IDShield app puts
these key features in the palm of your hands.”

In addition to the threats of credit card breach and identity theft,
Black Friday shoppers should be wary of other potential legal issues
that may come up, such as warranty disputes, property damage, and
sustaining injuries in a store. LegalShield’s provider law firms are
prepared to answer questions and provide guidance and representation for
LegalShield members in such situations.

“While the holidays should be a season of joy and giving, we must still
be vigilant of ‘Grinches.’ With LegalShield, consumers will be able to
fully enjoy their holidays without the stress that would definitely
arise from ID theft or a legal problem. We are here to assist members
with other legal issues, too,” continued Bell.

For more information on how to have a safe holiday season, please see
these articles offering tips and advice:

About LegalShield

A pioneer in the democratization of affordable access to legal
protection, LegalShield is one of North America’s leading providers of
legal safeguards and protection against identity theft solutions for
individuals, families and small businesses. The 45-year-old company has
more than 1,693,000 members, including individuals, families and
businesses, that are covered by its legal and identity theft
memberships. IDShield provides identity theft protection to one million
individuals. LegalShield and IDShield serve more than 141,000
businesses. Both legal and identity theft plans start as low as $20 per

LegalShield’s legal plans provide access to attorneys with an average of
19 years of experience in areas such as family matters, estate planning,
financial and business issues, consumer protection, tax, real estate,
benefits disputes and auto/driving issues. Unlike other legal plans or
do-it-yourself websites, LegalShield has dedicated law firms in 50
states and four provinces in Canada that members can call for help
without having to worry about high hourly rates.

IDShield provides identity monitoring and restoration services and is
the only identity theft protection company armed with a team of licensed
private investigators on call to restore a member’s identity.

For more information, call press and corporate relations at 580-436-1234.

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Protect yourself from identity theft this Black Friday

Thursday, November 23rd, 2017

(KKTV) — If you’re headed out to shop on Black Friday, we have several ways to protect yourself from becoming a victim of identity theft.

Credit: MGN

The Colorado Bureau of Investigation lists some ways to stay safe. First, clean out your wallet and purse, only carry things you absolutely need. Consider taking only one or two credit cards with you.

Make sure to check your account balances so you will be more likely to notice if there’s a fraudulent charge. You can even call your credit card company to request a fraud alert on your account.

Make sure you know where your smart phone is at all times while you’re shopping because it has a lot of personal information on it. Also be careful not to leave your purse in a dressing room where thieves can steal your information.

Lastly, when you get home from the store, check your bank accounts to make sure there are no unknown charges. Keep an eye on your statements for the next few weeks.

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Identity Theft Risk Prompts Estonia to Block the Certificates of 760000 ID Cards

Thursday, November 23rd, 2017

Screenshot from a promotional video about Estonian ID cards from government’s website

On November 4, 2017 the Estonian authorities disabled the certificates of more than 760,000 national electronic ID cards due to a security vulnerability that could have compromised cards issued between October 16, 2014 and October 26, 2017, and possibly even earlier.

More so than most other countries, Estonia relies on digital technology for many basic services including getting prescription medication, voting, bank transfers, and digital signatures. In fact 98% of Estonians have an ID card that they are able to use as a valid travel ID within Europe, access health insurance, and pay taxes. Digital ID cards were introduced in 2002 and have become the cornerstone of the country’s e-services. Estonia has one of the world’s fastest broadband services and has established strong digital literacy, widespread internet connectivity and e-governance.

The certificate software within the blocked ID cards will be replaced with new, more secure one, in a national-wide effort to deal with the risk of privacy breach. These certificates were deactivated after a group of researchers from the Czech Republic identified a security flaw in the cards’ microchips that could have led to major breaches of citizen’s personal data. The researchers found that the chips installed in ID cards issued between October 16, 2014 and October 26, 2017 (though possibly as early as 2012) were vulnerable to infiltration of both private and public keys and possible identity theft.

The chips were manufactured by Infineon, a microelectronics company with headquarters in the US and Germany, that provides services including government identification, mobile security and embedded security and trusted computing.

The Estonian government says that no infiltration has yet taken place, and that authorities disabled the affected ID cards as a precautionary measure to ensure no harm to citizen data. To guarantee that e-government continued to function, an estimated 35,000 people who use their ID card for their work, such as government officials and doctors, were updated to a safer version first.

On November 2, 2017 Prime Minister Jüri Ratas said in a statement:

E-riigi toimimine püsib usaldusel ning riik ei saa lubada Eesti ID-kaardi omaniku identiteedi vargust. Praeguse teadmise järgi ei ole e-identideedi vargust aset leidnud, kuid PPA ja RIA ohuhinnang näitab, et see oht on muutunud reaalseks.

The functioning of an e-state is based on trust and the state cannot afford identity theft happening to the owner of an Estonian ID card. As far as we currently know, there has been no instances of e-identity theft, but the threat assessment of the Police and Border Guard Board and the Information System Authority indicates that this threat has become real.

The security threat uncovered by Czech researchers is not limited to Estonian ID cards alone. Presumably, all chipsets produced by Infineon during that time carry the same flaw. Therefore computer systems around the world that use Infineon chipsets are also at risk of infiltration. The vulnerability illuminated the grave security challenges that can come with the digitization of national ID cards and systems.

Social media discussions about this issue included Twitter comments by Toomas Hendrik Ilves, the former President of the Republic of Estonia (2006-2016) who suggested that the “real story” is about Gemalto, the manufacturer of the cards, which appears to have learned about the vulnerability in February, but had not shared this information with customers. Since 2001 Estonian electronic ID cards have been manufactured by Trub AG and its successor Gemalto AG, Swiss companies that use Infineon technologies.

Former President Ilves claimed the Dutch firm “informed commercial users but not the public sector (paying) clients,” urging journalists to look more in depth into the issue.

Estonia’s move to replace the cards’ certificates also attracted attention from information society enthusiasts across the region of Eastern and Central Europe. In a Facebook discussion, a Serbian IT expert living in Estonia explained the end user perspective through comments:

Obavestili su nas pre nekoliko meseci (dok je rizik bio samo teoretski), a pre par nedelja su pustili update sertifikata kroz zvaničnu app (ne mora da se menja ID). Trenutno ume da štuca autorizacija, ali imamo i rezervni način autorizovanja (preko mobilne app) tako da nismo blokirani.

We were notified several months ago (while the risk was only theoretic), and a few weeks ago they released updates of the certificates through an official app (so one doesn’t have to change the ID). At the moment the authorization process sometimes has some hiccups, but there’s a backup authorisation method via a mobile phone app, so we are not blocked at all.

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Police: Woman charged with identity theft after car break-in victim’s credit cards were used at Norridge mall

Wednesday, November 22nd, 2017

Norridge police said a 22-year-old Chicago woman was charged with identity theft on Nov. 7, after a car break-in victim’s missing credit card was used to rack up more than $1,000 in purchases at stores at Harlem Irving Plaza.

Breeann Taylor, of the 3300 block of West Beach Ave., has a pending court date, police said. Taylor did not immediately respond to emails seeking comment.

Police were dispatched at 8:27 p.m. Nov. 7 to XSport Fitness, at 4260 N. Harlem Ave., in response to a burglary to a motor vehicle. A woman told police that she had parked her white Jeep Compass in the XSport parking lot at approximately 7:45 p.m., locked the doors, and then went inside to the fitness center. When she returned to her vehicle at approximately 8:15 p.m., she noticed the center console and glove compartment were open and some items from the car were missing, police said.

The missing items included a brown checkered Louis Vuitton handbag, jewelry, a firearm owner’s identification card, a concealed carry card, a driver’s license, four credit cards, a bouquet of flowers and a heart-shaped balloon, as well as $100 and $200 in cash, police said.

ID theft case leads to arrest – at the courthouse – of 2 women on probation for identity theft – Press

Wednesday, November 22nd, 2017
JaquelyneD. Gutierrez, 24, left, and Lauren Danae Colyott, 34, both identified as transients, were arrested Friday, Nov. 17, 2017, at the Southwest Justice Center in French Valley. Gutierrez was a suspect in an identity theft case and Colyott, who was with her, was found with counterfeit money, drugs and paraphernalia, Murrieta police said. (Photos courtesy of Murrieta Police Department)
Jaquelyne D. Gutierrez, 24, left, and Lauren Danae Colyott, 34. (Photos courtesy of Murrieta Police Department)

Two transient women on probation for identity theft were arrested at a Riverside County courthouse last week — one in a new identity theft case and another who happened to be with the suspect and was found with drugs and counterfeit money, police said.

The investigation began in October when an Irvine woman filed a police report that someone had used her information to open bank and credit card accounts. Murrieta police said in a news release that the fraud was occurring in their city.

Jaquelyne D. Gutierrez, 24, was caught on surveillance video using the Irvine woman’s information, police said.

Court records show that Gutierrez was charged earlier this year with felony identity theft and misdemeanor check fraud and mail theft, Riverside County Superior Court records show, and had a hearing scheduled for Friday, Nov. 17, at the Southwest Justice Center in French Valley. So, detectives went to find her at the courthouse.

She was there with an acquaintance, 34-year-old Lauren Danae Colyott, police said. Because Colyott was on probation, detectives searched her and found counterfeit U.S. currency in Colyott’s purse along with methamphetamine and drug paraphernalia in her vehicle, police said.

Gutierrez was arrested on suspicion of identity theft, check fraud, burglary and violating probation, all felonies, jail records show. She was released on $50,000 bail on Sunday.

Colyott was arrested on suspicion of check fraud, possession of a controlled substance, possession of drug paraphernalia and violating probation, all misdemeanors, jail records show. She was cited and released on $3,500 bail the same day she was arrested.

Gutierrez has pleaded not guilty in her earlier identity theft case, court records show. Her probation was from a 2016 felony identity theft case.

Colyott has two cases pending against her in Riverside County. She’s pleaded not guilty to felony identity theft and forgery charges filed in August, and hasn’t yet been arraigned in a petty theft case that was filed Nov. 15, according to court records. She was on misdemeanor probation for two past convictions for identity theft and petty theft.

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Orchard Park doctor arrested; charged with fraud and identity theft – WKBW

Wednesday, November 22nd, 2017

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) – An Amherst anesthesiologist and pain management doctor who runs a medical marijuana practice in the Southtowns is under arrest and facing federal charges of fraud and identity theft.

According to prosecutors, Dr. Paul Biddle fraudulently used the names of dozens of patients, both dead and alive, to obtain controlled substances.

Biddle runs the Paul T. Biddle MD Pain Management clinic in Orchard Park. He is also affiliated with two hospitals through Catholic Health.

Investigators say Biddle was prescribing drugs for 23 patients through a pharmacy in Tampa, Florida. The prescriptions were sent directly to Biddle’s home in Amherst or to his office on Sterling Drive in Orchard Park. Two of the patients who Biddle wrote prescriptions for had already passed away, according to prosecutors.

Between November 11th, 2013 and October 16th of this year, Biddle wrote and received a total of 888 illegal prescriptions from the Florida pharmacy for opioids such as hydromorphone HCL, fentanyl citrate and morphine sulfate, prosecutors said.

According to a federal complaint, evidence recovered from Biddle’s garbage suggest the opioids he was receiving fraudulently were being used illegally at his home along with marijuana.

Biddle appeared in federal court and was released under the condition he not practice medicine or write prescriptions pending his next court appearance on November 27th.

According to the bio on his pain management clinic’s page, Biddle received his undergraduate degree from Alfred University. He graduated from the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry in 1998. Biddle was a practicing anesthesiologist at Roswell Park Cancer Institute before opening his own pain management clinic in 2009.

An earlier version of this story included a picture of a doctor not connected to this story. 



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Freedom Debt Relief Offers 5 Tips to Help Consumers Avoid Becoming Victims of Identity Theft

Wednesday, November 22nd, 2017

“Identity theft is traumatic enough in itself,” Housser says. “But when people do not catch the theft quickly, they can face large amounts of accumulating debt in their name,” he explains. “This debt can result in significant damage to credit profiles and scores, which can affect their financial future for months or years.”

Identity theft victimizes more than 17 million people each year in the United States, according to the Department of Justice. Housser provided these tips to avoid becoming one of them.

  1. Review credit reports. U.S. law entitles consumers to one free copy of their credit reports every year. Visit Annual Credit Report, or call 877-322-8228, to request reports from all three credit bureaus. Misspelled names, incorrect addresses or unfamiliar credit accounts can be warning signs of fraudulent activities. Follow each credit bureau’s instructions to correct errors.
  2. Use secure passwords. More websites than ever are demanding passwords. Do not give in to the temptation to make passwords easy to remember, or leave them written out in a place that others can be easily see. Instead, consider taking advantage of a secure password management service such as Dashlane or LastPass, or using your computer or smartphone’s secure password management, to produce and manage secure passwords.
  3. Log on privately. Most websites are shifting to HTTPS protocols that protect users’ connections to their sites. When a computer signals a security alert, proceed with caution. Use password-protected Wi-Fi networks, and consider establishing a VPN (virtual private network) to protect information. Avoid using public networks to access personal information, including passwords, banking and credit card data.
  4. Keep personal information safe. Do not provide personal information to anyone who calls, texts or contacts you via email, warns Housser of Freedom Debt Relief. Thieves may be trying to “phish” for this information in what is called a phishing scam. Provide personal information only after logging on to a secure website or calling a verified number, such as the contact information on a credit card or statement. Shred financial documents and others that include personal information. Finally, choosing electronic delivery can protect consumer privacy and make tracking financial information easier.
  5. Use public plug-ins cautiously. Watch for credit and debit card fraud at machines where a criminal has installed a device to “skim” or steal card information, or make a copy for later use. Be cautious, too, with USB charging devices in public places, as criminals have been known to devise ways to hack phones and computers through charging ports.

For those who do experience identity theft, the Federal Trade Commission provides a useful guide to recovering from identity theft.

Freedom Debt Relief
Co-founded by Andrew Housser and Brad Stroh, Freedom Debt Relief is a subsidiary of Freedom Financial Network, LLC, a family of companies providing innovative solutions that empower people to live healthier financial lives. For people struggling with debt, Freedom Debt Relief offers a custom program to significantly reduce and resolve what they owe more quickly than they could on their own. For more information about the company and its services, see

Headquartered in San Mateo, California, Freedom Debt Relief also operates an office in Tempe, Arizona, and employs roughly 2,000 people. The company has been voted one of the best places to work in both the San Francisco Bay area and the Phoenix area for several years.

Contact: Aimee Bennett, Fagan Business Communications, 303-843-9840,


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