All Articles Tagged "identity theft"
Can you imagine 3.6 million social security numbers stolen? It happened. And such massive personal data theft can only happen via a cyber attack. Late last month, an international hacker illegally obtained tax information from a South Carolina computer system, reports The New York Times. It was, in fact, the largest cyber attack on a state government.
Along with the social security numbers, the hacker stole 387,000 credit and debit card numbers. A majority of the stolen credit cards were encrypted; the Social Security numbers were not. Still, the state said it would pay up to $12 million to provide a free year of credit monitoring and identity theft prevention to anyone affected.
The attack isn’t only being felt in that state, but nationwide as it has put other states on high alert.
This is not the first time this has happened. While not on the scale of the South Carolina attack, “(s)ince 2005, at least 11 state tax agencies have faced security breaches, according to the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse, a consumer rights group. But most were caused by internal accidents, not attacks, and none were on this scale,” reports the newspaper.
Such cyber attacks most often lead to identity thefts. The Social Security numbers can be used by hackers for financial gain. “The most common line of attack for identity thieves is to use your personal information to apply for credit cards and of course, you won’t know that until it’s too late,” reports Carolina Live. Your name and social security number can also be used to open brokerage accounts and loan requests. Most often vicitims don´t know until it is too late.
Once you are a victim of identity theft, it can take years to clean up your credit and financial records.
In honor of National Cyber Security Month, Black Enterprise has given us six tips to better secure your financial transactions and protect your personal information.
We’re carrying hi-tech gadgets in our pockets every day. While many of the apps and websites that our tablets, smartphones and other devices are access are secure, it doesn’t hurt to add an extra layer of protection.
“Use firewalls and anti-virus software. Firewalls and anti-virus protection are crucial to shielding your computer from threats. There are even some great products available that are free of charge. One free anti-virus software of note is ZoneAlarm,” the article suggests.
As we surf around the Internet, we open ourselves up to those who are making it their business to crack our codes. For the other five Cyber Security Month tips to safeguard your data, visit BlackEnterprise.com.
If some people can’t get their hands on your money or personal information by legitimate methods, they’re perfectly willing to use shady techniques to line their pockets. A quick Google search will turn up tons of articles about online scams, identity theft, and other cons that dishonest people are using to get your hard-earned cash.
We asked the folks at Scam Detector about five common scams they’re seeing out there and the best ways to avoid them. Scam Detector is a Web-based app that detects over 550 different acts of fraud, from financial ploys to social media trickery. This slideshow features the company’s responses and advice. Some of these schemes may seem pretty simple, but they’re successful nonetheless.
If Ashley Dover would have applied her criminal genius in the classroom, she’d probably have a bright future ahead of her. Unfortunately for the Jackson State student that future just got a lot more bleak because she’s been busted running an elaborate credit card scheme from her dorm room.
Police arrested the 22-year-old and three of her friends who were apart of the scam after recovering a credit card making system in Dover’s dorm room which included the actual embossing and tipping machines. Like Dover, the accomplices, Olivia Ray, Tashanna Toler, and Kieariah Collins are all from Illinois, but Dover was the only student at the school. According to Detective Lloyd Coulter, the credit card fraud was quite professional.
“They put in a tipping machine which would overlay the card with whatever design they liked. Nascar, Regents Bank, Trustmark Bank, any of those things. We know right now 54 credit cards have been compromised. As of right now, only four victims have come forward. My understanding is they had an inside source at the bank that leaked out the information.”
More than $35,000 has been spent in metro businesses using at least four stolen credit card numbers reaching as far as North Carolina. The girls used the money to buy electronics like iPads or gift cards which they sold for cash. Now the ladies are being held in the Rankin County Jail on 16 felonies charges of Identity Theft and Credit Card Fraud with a bond of $450,000 each. The U. S. Secret Service has also been contacted and is assisting in the investigation which means they might as well get comfortable.
Authorities are also reminding people to monitor their credit card statements and make sure no odd activity is present, considering there are 50 unidentified victims out there at this point.
Brande Victorian is a blogger and culture writer in New York City. Follower her on Twitter at @be_vic.
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(Bankrate) — Gone are the days of the good old-fashioned purse snatcher. With little brute and more skill, thieves only need a minute, sometimes a second, to pilfer your credit card data. ”Back in the beginning, they got the imprint of credit cards from the carbon copies they dug out of the trash,” says William Noonan, assistant special agent in charge of the Secret Service’s criminal investigative division. “Technology has changed things.” The number of compromised records has been on the decline the last two years, according to the Secret Service, after reaching a record high of 361 million records in 2008. The trend might reverse this year, however, after a recent string of mishaps.
(Black Enterprise) — According to the U.S. Census Bureau, more than 37 million Americans—roughly 13% of us—move to a different home every year. That’s a lot of transition. Unfortunately, moving season also represents a lot of opportunity for crooks and con artists who want to fleece you financially. “Half of all moves take place between Memorial Day and Labor Day,” says Steve Schwartz, Executive Vice President of Consumer Services for Intersections Inc., an identity theft protection company. “A lot goes into a big relocation, and often times identity protection is not top of mind with everything else that’s going on.” To guard against potential identity theft, Schwartz recommends that consumers take the following steps–before, during, and after a move.
(Rolling Out) — With the rise in foreclosures, bankruptcies, long-term unemployment and other recession-related financial disasters, some desperate people have resorted to stealing the identities of children to apply for credit. It is estimated that as many as 400,000 kids per year are having their pristine credit histories hijacked — a crime that doesn’t impact them today, but can have devastating financial repercussions when they reach adulthood. Adam Levin of Credit.com reports, “The crime generally goes undetected unless and until the child applies for a license, a credit card, a loan for college or, perhaps, requires a medical procedure.”
(Rolling Out) — Dr. Bill James Releford Jr, the foot surgeon who attained international fame through his practice and the Black Barbershop Health Outreach Program and was invited to the White House, has been indicted by the FBI for his alleged involvement in a mass identity-theft ring and defrauding banks of millions. The federal indictment accused Releford and five others of engineering a sophisticated identity-theft scheme that helped the six-person crew get 70 loans and defraud Wells Fargo and Bank of America out of more than $3 million, states U.S. Attorney Andre Birotte Jr. and FBI agent Steven Martinez. If convicted on all charges, the six face almost 900 years in prison combined.
Shaletta Porterfield, a beautiful black woman with a gorgeous smile, is the reigning Miss Wisconsin. She was set to represent her state in next month’s Miss USA pageant, but has resigned now that she’s been charged with (and has admitted to) three counts of identity stealing someone’s identity for financial gain.
Babygirl was working for a marketing company and felt pressure to make her commissions, so she forged the signatures of company heads on ad contracts. Porterfield’s “scheme” was discovered when the marketing company asked the unsuspecting companies to proof the ads that they never agreed to buy in the first place. Doh!
[Source: NY Daily News]
Have you ever felt pressured to do anything unethical in order to keep up with the demands of your job? How did you handle that situation?
Side Note: Are you also surprised that Miss Wisconsin is a sista?
(New York Times) — While the estimated number of identity fraud victims fell steeply last year from the year prior, consumers’ out-of-pocket identity fraud costs rose, according to a new report from Javelin Strategy & Research. According to the 2011 Identity Fraud Survey Report, 8.1 million adults in the United States were identity fraud victims last year, down 28 percent, or three million, from 2009, the largest single-year decrease since Javelin started tracking the data in 2003. At the same time, however, the average consumer out-of-pocket cost due to identity fraud increased to $631 per incident in 2010, up 63 percent from $387 in 2009. Such costs include the expenses of paying off fraudulent debt as well as resolution fees, such as legal costs. According to James Van Dyke, president and founder of Javelin Strategy & Research, the decrease in the number of identity fraud victims, and the total amount of annual fraud, can be attributed to efforts of businesses, the financial services industry and the government to educate consumers and prevent and resolve such fraud. Consumers are monitoring their accounts more carefully too, he said. He also cited increased security measures, law enforcement successes and the improving economy as reasons for the decreases. At the same time, Mr. Van Dyke said the increase in the average out-of-pocket cost for consumers may be a result of shifts in the types of frauds thieves are pursuing. Last year, Mr. Van Dyke said, there was a shift toward stealing from new accounts rather than existing cards, a shift toward debit card fraud from credit card fraud and an increase in “friendly fraud” (theft against you by people you know).