Archive for Identity Theft

Skipton apologises to customers for data breach

Posted in Economy, Identity Theft, Legal, News with tags , on February 4, 2010 by truthwillrise

By Lucy Warwick-Ching
Published: February 3 2010 12:58 | Last updated: February 3 2010 12:58

Skipton Building Society has apologised to customers after a serious breach of data security procedures resulted in thousands of savers receiving financial details about other customers in a recent mailing.

The UK’s fourth largest building society said a third party printing error led to the details of 3,115 customers with passbook accounts being printed on the back of other people’s statements.

However, the company said the details revealed were not enough to put customers at risk of fraud, as the accounts required a signature to make withdrawals and could not be used over the internet. Despite this, it has written to all affected customers, apologising and offering them a new account number for additional peace of mind.

Stacey Dickens, a Skipton spokeswoman, said: “We have written to those affected to apologise and to reassure them that the correspondence contained insufficient information to enable any unauthorised transactions on their accounts. We are also offering to change the account numbers of any customers seeking additional peace of mind.

”As a responsible business, we are in constant dialogue with our regulator and update them as a matter of course regarding business developments such as this.”

Skipton said the City watchdog, the Financial Services Authority, had been made aware of the incident which happened at the end of January.

News of the security breach is likely to further anger customers following last week’s decision by the society to backtrack on its promise to existing mortgage borrowers by announcing it will increase its standard variable rate (SVR) from 3.5 per cent to 4.95 per cent.

INCREASE IN MISTAKEN IDENTITY LANDING MORE INNOCENT PEOPLE IN COLLIER, LEE JAILS

Posted in General, Identity Theft, Legal, Life Improvement, News with tags , , , , , on November 22, 2009 by truthwillrise

By AISLING SWIFT
Published Saturday, November 21, 2009

NAPLES — When Barron Collier High School assistant football coach Johnny Drummond Smith was arrested Monday on a domestic battery charge, it would take several days to clear his name.

He was thrown in jail and held without bond, until defense attorney Michelle Hill provided Collier County Judge Vince Murphy with strong evidence: He couldn’t have been in Jacksonville when the crime occurred.

Murphy reviewed the evidence and Smith’s testimony and decided he should be released on a $1,000 bond. He walked out of jail Wednesday, but still was on leave from his job and faced prosecution in Duval County.

Friday, an assistant state attorney in Jacksonville dropped the case after investigators were unable to find Smith’s accuser and a witness, her sister.

For 38-year-old Smith, it was a quick end to a case of mistaken identity.

“Let’s say this happened to a convenience store employee who didn’t have all these people on his side, do you think this would have happened this quickly?” Hill asked. “The outcome would not have been the same.”

“We also got lucky with Judge Murphy,” she said. “Some other judges would have said, ‘A judge in Jacksonville set no bond, it’s no bond.’’’

For many, untangling a mixup or stolen identity takes weeks, months — even longer.

On Friday, Anthony David Falangas, 25, of North Naples, stood before Collier Circuit Judge Fred Hardt, charged with two counts of attempting to obtain a prescription by fraud, a third-degree felony.

It was a hearing tailored to quickly prove his innocence and end Falangas’ troubles. He’d been thrown in jail July 8 and posted $5,000 bond a day later, but faces up to five years in state prison if convicted.

Defense attorney Donald Day wanted to prove Falangas, a salesman, was at work when someone used his stolen identification to fill two Roxicodone prescriptions at Wooley’s Pharmacy on June 26. The man fled while a pharmacist verified the prescriptions.

But the prosecutor didn’t have the exact time and the pharmacy video wasn’t working that day, so the judge ordered the State Attorney’s Office to provide the records and scheduled another hearing.

It was Falangas’ fourth time in court.

“We were hoping the video would have busted it wide open,” Day said of an arrest he suspects is linked to a recent bust of a large prescription drug ring that used stolen identities.

Like Falangas, Smith’s photograph was in the newspaper. Smith’s story also was on the TV news, where he professed his innocence.

Many charged in mistaken or stolen identity cases lose their jobs or are suspended from work. They suffer embarrassment, depression and anxiety and must pay an attorney and a bondsman.

“The unjustified loss of even a moment’s liberty is a tragedy,” Murphy said Friday. “. . . Sadly, Mr. Smith can never recover what was taken from him, but in the context of an admittedly imperfect system, we were able to allow his release fairly quickly.”

■ ■ ■

Like Falangas, Smith had an alibi: He was at work.

Shayla S. Evans, 25, of Jacksonville, told police Smith grabbed her hair and dragged her down a staircase at 4:25 p.m. Nov. 13, 2008, kicked her and beat her, then slashed her with a knife. She said they’d had a yearlong relationship, but had broken up four months earlier.

Smith was arrested Monday night after a Collier County deputy conducted a routine check of license tags. He knew nothing about the battery and was allowed to make a few calls, then was booked into the jail to await a hearing at 2 p.m. Tuesday.

In court, Hill asked Smith several questions to prove his innocence. Although Murphy granted a low bond, his release wasn’t quick.

“Jacksonville had to enter the bond into their system on that warrant and they couldn’t reach anyone in Jacksonville,” Hill said. “Thank God, we had a sergeant in the jail here who was a really nice guy and kept calling and calling.”

Duval court records list 209 cases involving Johnny Smiths, including two for Johnny D. Smith, who is only a month younger. Many have middle names or initials, but many are just Johnny Smith.

Evans’ sister believes she just wanted to protect her real boyfriend, so she picked a name, Johnny Smith, and pointed to a photo.

■ ■ ■

Hill said mistakes can occur when someone enters a name wrong in the national police computer, or someone, usually a relative, steals a name to avoid paying a ticket.

Two years ago, defendants with numerous aliases became such a problem in Collier that County Judge Christine Greider created a prototype legal order for judges to remove stolen names from court and county records.

County Judge Mike Carr had so many cases, he pushed the Sheriff’s Office to verify fingerprints of all defendants to confirm identities. He got The Florida Bar to change its professional ethics rules to force lawyers whose clients have provided false information to disclose it in court.

Hill represents a man whose brother used his name when he got a traffic citation.

“Of course, the brother didn’t go to court,” Hill said of the innocent man. “Then months and months later, he gets arrested on a warrant and can’t get out.”

Nowadays, Hill said, mistaken identity cases are straightened out more quickly due to technology.

Information is put through the Florida Department of Law Enforcement’s driver and vehicle information database which pulls up a driver license photo, Hill said.

Officials also can check fingerprints at the jail, which pulls up a photo and prior arrests if there’s a “hit.” That fingerprint check often reveals suspects who provide fake names.

Although technology helps unravel a mixup, it also prompted an increase in identity theft.

“It’s so perfected now,” Day said. “You could print out a nice ID on your computer. This is happening in every city in the U.S. You’d be shocked at how often it happens. The problem is it’s very difficult to resolve.”

Falangas’ license was stolen and his credit card information also was obtained, Day said, although it’s uncertain how or when.

“It’s very common for someone to call our office and say, ‘I’ve been charged with something in Tallahassee and I’ve never been in Tallahassee,” Day said.

Although a law went into effect a few years ago that requires law enforcement officers to get a thumb print from drivers who don’t provide a license, Day said it’s not always done.

“That law was to protect us,” Day said. “I’ve had clients who have had nine-page driving records in places they’ve never been.”

■ ■ ■

In July 2006, Theodore William Wuschke sued then- Collier County Sheriff Don Hunter and Deputy Charles H. Smith after he was arrested and thrown in jail after a routine traffic stop on July 7, 2002, because his name was an alias used by Robert James Mickens.

It was the second time in less than a year the 38-year-old Golden Gate man had been arrested and jailed on the 1993 warrant for a probation violation, according to his lawsuit in U.S. District Court, which said Wuschke didn’t have the tattoo on his right ankle that Mickens had.

The lawsuit accused Hunter of false arrest, false imprisonment and willfully failing to update inaccurate information in his agency’s computers after Wuschke’s first arrest on Oct. 1, 2001.

It was settled about a year later for $50,000.

“They made sure that wasn’t going to happen again,” said Wuschke’s attorney, Michael R.N. McDonnell of Naples, who said Wuschke had no prior convictions. “The poor guy was so upset. He was pleasant about it the first time. He understood it was a mistake.”

■ ■ ■

Jill Lennon, courts director for the Collier court clerks office, said people often come to the courthouse to say they received a notice their license was being suspended for something they didn’t do.

“We help and go above and beyond because that person is a victim,” Lennon said. “We walk them over to be fingerprinted at the Sheriff’s Office and to go to the State Attorney’s Office to straighten it out.”

Usually it’s a relative, she said, or the victim suspects someone and can’t prove it. Deputies try to find the real suspect, she said, but sometimes they can’t, “so we change them to John Doe in our computer.”

Scroll through the Collier Court criminal records at http://www.collierclerk.com and you’ll find 38 John Does and two Jane Does.

“There are people who have been arrested over and over again in multiple counties they’ve never been in,” she said. “They carry paperwork in their vehicle to prove they’re not that person.”

* * * * *

For information on identity theft and how to correct credit card or driver license identity theft, go to: http://www.flhsmv.gov/idtheft.html

Unfortunately, cases such as these are becoming far too common. Identity theft is a serious problem.
You can also learn more about identity theft, please go to http://www.prepaidlegal.com/idt/bking62. -truthwillrise

1.5 Million Medical Files At Risk in Health Net Data Breach

Posted in Economy, General, Identity Theft, Legal, Life Improvement, News with tags , , , , on November 20, 2009 by truthwillrise

By Matthew Sturdevant
The Hartford Courant
November 19,2009

A hard drive with seven years of personal and medical information on about 1.5 million Health Net customers, including 446,000 in Connecticut, was lost six months ago and was first reported Wednesday, state and company officials said.

The insurance company informed the state attorney general’s office and the Department of Insurance Wednesday of the security breach that puts personal medical records at risk in a historic lapse, the first of its kind to be publicly reported.

A portable, external hard drive with Social Security numbers and medical records “disappeared” and is still missing from the insurer’s Northeast headquarters in Shelton, a Health Net spokeswoman said Wednesday.

A hard drive with seven years of personal and medical information on about 1.5 million Health Net customers, including 446,000 in Connecticut, was lost six months ago and was first reported Wednesday, state and company officials said.

The insurance company informed the state attorney general’s office and the Department of Insurance Wednesday of the security breach that puts personal medical records at risk in a historic lapse, the first of its kind to be publicly reported.

A portable, external hard drive with Social Security numbers and medical records “disappeared” and is still missing from the insurer’s Northeast headquarters in Shelton, a Health Net spokeswoman said Wednesday.

The hard drive contains Social Security numbers, medical records and health information dating to 2002 for 1.5 million customers — past and present — in Arizona, Connecticut, New Jersey and New York, the spokeswoman said.

The data were compressed, but not encrypted. The information is formatted as images and requires a special computer program to be read, state and company officials said. Health Net plans to send out letters to its customers notifying them of the breach.

Attorney General Richard Blumenthal and Insurance Commissioner Thomas Sullivan each said he is investigating what happened, and why the company waited six months to report the incident.

The data breach is another in a series of information security lapses involving Connecticut residents in recent months. Most, including a large breach of People’s United Bank customer information, have included bank records or Social Security numbers. The missing hard drive at Health Net is the first publicly reported, widespread release of patients’ medical records, at least in recent state history.

“Health Net’s incomprehensible foot-dragging demonstrates shocking disregard for patients’ financial security, as well as loss of their highly sensitive and confidential personal health information,” Blumenthal said in a prepared statement.

Sullivan said his office is requiring Health Net to offer credit protection monitoring through Debix, a company that provides identity-theft protection services.

“My main concern is protecting the members and participating providers,” Sullivan said. “We are currently working with Health Net to ensure adequate notification and protections for all involved.”

Health Net suggests that customers with questions call the company phone number on the back of their benefits card, said Alice Chaves Ferreira, a spokeswoman for Health Net of the Northeast Inc.

“Health Net will provide credit monitoring for over two years — free of charge — to all impacted members who elect this service, and will provide assistance to any member who has experienced any suspicious activity, identity theft or health care fraud between May 2009 and their date of enrollment with our identity protection service,” Chaves Ferreira said.

The company didn’t know what information was on the hard drive, which is why the information wasn’t reported sooner, Chaves Ferreira said. Health Net conducted a lengthy investigation, including a forensic review by computer experts, she said.

It was only then that the company concluded the lost data included a vast trove of information.

Earlier this month, Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Connecticut reported that a laptop was stolen this summer in the Chicago area, compromising personal information of nearly 850,000 doctors, therapists and other health care providers in 50 states, including 19,000 in Connecticut.

Last year, Bank of New York Mellon lost computer tapes that jeopardized information on more than 600,000 state residents, including many account holders at People’s United Bank.

Yet another data breach has exposed millions potentially to identity theft. If you concerned that you may be affected by this latest data breach, know someone who may be , or want to learn more about identity theft, log on to http://www.prepaidlegal.com/idt/bking62

State Law Aims To Crack Down On Identity Theft

Posted in Economy, Identity Theft, Legal, Life Improvement with tags , , on October 12, 2009 by truthwillrise

A new state law that went into effect this month broadens the definition of identity theft and strengthens the penalties against the crime.

The law was proposed by Gov. M Jodi Rell and builds on reforms the Republican has advocated for since taking office.

In 2005, for example, Rell formed an Identity Theft Advisory Board, which brought together state agencies and organizations to identify vulnerabilities, develop remedies and establish much stronger penalties for criminals who misappropriate the identifying information of others, including Social Security numbers, credit card numbers and other personal data.

“Identity theft is an incredibly destructive crime,” Rell said in a written statement. “It not only robs victims of assets, but it can have devastating, long-term effects on everything from personal credit to security clearances.”

In 2008, there were 10 million identity theft victims in the United States, a 22 percent increases compared to 2007, according to a study done by Javelin Strategy and Research. Additionally, 1.6 million households experienced fraud not related to credit cards. For example, their bank accounts or debit cards were compromised.

Households with incomes higher than $70,000 were twice as likely to experience identity theft as those with salaries under $50,000, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.

And while the threat of identity theft is frightening the consequences of actually experiencing it can cost major time and money.

According to the nonprofit Identity Theft Resource Center, it can take up to 5,840 hours, or the equivalent of working a full-time job for two years to correct the damage from ID theft, depending on the severity of the case.

The average victim spends 330 hours repairing the damage.

Meanwhile, businesses across the world lose $221 billion a year due to identity theft, and the average cost per victim is about $500, according to Javelin Strategy and Research.

The new state laws, which took effect Oct. 1, broaden the definition of identity theft by eliminating the requirement that personal identifying information be obtained without permission. Under the act, a person commits identity theft when he or she knowingly uses another’s personal identifying information to obtain or attempt to obtain money, credit, goods, services, property, or medical information.

The law also toughens penalties for those convicted of victimizing senior citizens age 60 or older, by lowering the threshold for what constitutes identity theft in the first and second degree.

By law, identity theft in the first degree is now committed when the value of the goods or services stolen is greater than $5,000. Prior to that, the threshold was $10,000. Identity theft in the second degree is committed against someone age 60 or older when the value of goods or services stolen is any amount.

Rell said elderly victims can find it especially difficult to recover from identity theft because of the complexity and red tape involved, which is why she lobbied for those specific guidelines in the legislation.

The new law also creates the crime of unlawful possession of personal access devices, such as credit card readers or scanners, account numbers, personal identification numbers or PIN numbers.

Additionally, the new also establishes a Privacy Protection Guaranty and Enforcement Account, which will be funded with fines imposed on violators and property forfeited under the act’s provisions.

The fund will be used to help individuals whose identity has been stolen.

Finally, the law also extends from two years to three years the period in which a victim can sue for damages against a person convicted of stealing their identity and requires, rather than allows, a court to issue orders correcting public records.

 Identity theft is an international crime and is only getting started and it is not if but when you will become a victim of this horrible crime. We will all need something to combat this problem in all phases and facets. To learn more about identity theft, and learn about the most comprehensive ID theft plan out there, log on to http://www.prepaidlegal.com/idt/bking62.

 

UNC data breach exposes 163,000 SSNs

Posted in Business, Economy, Identity Theft, Legal with tags , , , , on October 1, 2009 by truthwillrise
School of Medicine at Chapel Hill hacked
By Jaikumar Vijayan

September 25, 2009 07:34 PM ET

 

Computerworld – The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill on Friday began notifying about 163,000 women about the potential compromise of their Social Security numbers and other personal information after a hacker breached a system containing the data.

The breached server belonged to the UNC School of Medicine and contained information that was collected as part of a federally funded mammography research project. The system contained records on a total of 236,000 women, of which about 163,000 included Social Security numbers.

Matt Mauro, chairman of the university’s Department of Radiology said the breach was first discovered in July when a researcher reported problems accessing the system. A subsequent investigation by the school’s information systems staff revealed that the system had been hacked.

Though the breach was discovered in July, there are indications that the actual intrusion may have taken place as long as two years ago, Mauro said. “We think we found some viruses that date back to 2007,” he said.

The breached server received information from 31 different sites across the state, Mauro said. When the breach was discovered, the system was taken offline immediately and has remained that way since July, Mauro said.

The sites that were sending the information to UNC have stopped doing so for the moment, while stronger precautions are implemented to prevent a similar breach in future, he said.

The reason that notifications have only just started going out is because UNC technology officials and an external forensic team have required time to piece together the extent of the compromise and to figure out exactly who may have been affected by it, Mauro said.

So far, investigations have revealed nothing to suggest that the persons responsible for the break-in have downloaded or modified the data in any way. “But you just don’t know for sure. You have to be suspicious and you have to notify,” he said.

 

If  you are associated with the UNC School of Medicine, or know someone who is they need to know there is help out there for them. Identity Theft Shield has the total solution for these people; please have them call 1-866-510-7907 or log onto http://www.prepaidlegal.com/idt/bking62  to have professionals drive them down the road to recovery.

Pre-Paid Legal Services: 36 Years and Counting

Posted in Business, Identity Theft, Legal, Life Improvement, News with tags , , , , , , , , on August 20, 2009 by truthwillrise
PPD Plans Marketing Re-Launch in Las Vegas in September

 

 

 

 

ADA, Okla., Aug. 19 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ — Pre-Paid Legal Services, Inc. (NYSE: PPD) will utilize its 2009 Las Vegas Summit, September 9-12, as a stage for introducing a marketing platform that will revolutionize the way the company markets its legal service plans throughout the U.S. and four Provinces of Canada. Building upon a successful foundation of direct selling, the new marketing process represents the first re-launch in the 36 year history of the company.

 

“We’re not replacing our existing marketing methods,” said Pre-Paid Legal Services Founder and CEO Harland C. Stonecipher. “We are introducing a new web-based marketing process that is so comprehensive it impacts our entire marketing program and enhances our existing business model.”

 

Although PPD is keeping the specifics of this initiative under wraps until the Las Vegas event, the company introduced a package of special August promotions to encourage more U.S. and Canadian Associates to come to the 2009 Summit to be a part of the company’s historic marketing re-launch and to be on the front line during the roll-out of the new marketing platform.

 

Launching an Industry

When Pre-Paid Legal Services launched on February 9, 1973 in Ada, OK, the concept of prepaid legal service plans was still in its infancy in the U.S. PPD took bold steps to spread the word about this approach to providing quality legal services in a cost-effective legal service plan. With this core vision, the company grew, and in the process garnered accolades from national news media, such as Forbes, Fortune, Money, Financial World, Black Enterprise and others. On August 22, 2007, USA Today published an article, based on its own database study of company stock value at corporations where the founder remained at the helm. In this broad ranging study that included 63 companies, PPD ranked third on the list with a 15-year stock gain of 4,302 percent.

 

PPD has also been the recipient of a number of awards and corporate recognition. In 2006, the Foundation for Fair Civil Justice designated PPD for the “Line in the Sand” award for the company’s battle against abuse of the legal system. In addition, PPD was pleased to see the National Association of Attorneys General adopt the “Resolution in Support of the Concept of Prepaid Legal Services Plans” in 2008.

 

Marketing Re-Launch

“If ever there was a time when we needed to make affordable legal services available to people, the time is now,” Stonecipher said. “As a result of the prolonged recession, all too many citizens are facing significant challenges, such as foreclosure, bankruptcy and credit issues.” Armed with the right legal services, including direct access to designated, customer-focused attorneys, individuals have the best means for meeting these financial and personal issues.

 

Pre-Paid Legal Services now provides legal service plans to approximately 1.5 million families, yet even with the combined coverage of all legal service plan providers, there remains a large segment of the population without access to legal services. The re-launch of PPD will help us reach a much greater audience within the U.S. and Canadian markets. It will also provide a means for extending the reach and impact of our Independent Associate network.

 

During a recent teleconference in which he spoke to thousands of PPD Associates, Stonecipher said, “You may not have been here for the launch of Pre-Paid Legal Services in 1973, but you can be a part of our corporate history in September when we announce the re-launch at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. We’re taking it to a new level from there.”

 

About PPD

Pre-Paid Legal Services was one of the first companies in the United States organized solely to design, underwrite and market legal service plans. PPD provides legal service plans to more than 1.5 million families across the U.S. and Canada. Plan benefits are delivered through a network of independent provider law firms. Members have direct, toll-free access to their provider law firm. Provider firms are carefully selected and quality of service is closely monitored to maintain the high standards of Pre-Paid Legal. The company website is: www.prepaidlegal.com.

 

Forward-Looking Statements

Statements in this press release, other than purely historical information, regarding our future plans and objectives and expected operating results, dividends and share repurchases and statements of the assumptions underlying such statements, constitute forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. The forward-looking statements contained herein are based on certain assumptions that may not be correct. They are subject to risks and uncertainties incident to our business that could cause actual results to differ materially from those described in the forward-looking statements. These risks and uncertainties are described in the reports and statements filed by us with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including (among others) those listed in our Form 10-K, Form 10-Q and Form 8-K, and include the risks that our membership persistency or renewal rates may decline, that we may not be able to continue to grow our memberships and earnings, that we are dependent on the continued active participation of our principal executive officer, that pending or future litigation may have a material adverse effect on us if resolved unfavorably to us, that we may have compromises of our information security, that during an economic downturn in the economy consumer purchases of discretionary items may be affected which could materially harm our sales, retention rates, profitability and financial condition, that we could be adversely affected by regulatory developments, that competition could adversely affect us, that we are substantially dependent on our marketing force, that our stock price may be affected by short sellers, that we have been unable to increase our employee group membership sales and that our active premium in force is not indicative of future revenue as a result of changes in active memberships from cancellations and additional membership sales. Please refer to pages 15 – 17 of our 2008 Form 10-K for a more complete description of these risks. We undertake no duty to update any of the forward-looking statements in this release.

 

 

 For more information about Pre-Paid Legal Services, you can log on to http://www.prepaidlegal.com/hub/bking62 , http://www.BrandonKing.greatcareerplan.com , or you can also call 1-866-510-7907.

Ex-Informant Charged With Largest Credit Card Heist in US

Posted in Business, Economy, General, Identity Theft, Legal, News with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on August 20, 2009 by truthwillrise

y Erika Morphy
E-Commerce Times 
Part of the ECT News Network 
08/18/09 1:55 PM PT

New charges have been brought against a hacker already awaiting trials in two other cases of identity theft. In the latest indictment, 28-year-old Albert Gonzalez is accused of participating in the theft of 130 million credit card numbers. Two others are charged with conspiring in the crime.

Albert Gonzalez, 28, a hacker already in jail awaiting trial for what was deemed the largest identity theft in the U.S., has apparently topped himself. Along with two unnamed coconspirators, Gonzalez has been indicted by a federal grand jury in New Jersey for an identity theft that trumps the previous record-setter: 130 million credit and debit card numbers stolen over a two-year period, from 2006 to 2008.

At one point, Gonzalez was working as an informant with the U.S. Secret Service to hunt hackers, while at the same time allegedly stealing data.

Storied Resume

In August 2008, the Department of Justice fingered Gonzalez as the ringleader of a hacker gang that stole 40 million credit card numbers — then believed to be the largest single case of hacking theft. Consumers at T.J. Maxx, Barnes & Noble, Sports Authority and OfficeMax were victimized in that raid. Those charges were filed in the District of Massachusetts. Gonzalez will face them in a trial scheduled to begin in 2010.

In May 2008, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York charged Gonzalez in connection with the hacking of a computer network run by a national restaurant chain. Trial on those charges is scheduled to begin in Long Island, N.Y., in September 2009.

This latest episode is also the most audacious, according to the Department of Justice. The Miami-based Gonzalez and two Russian accomplices hacked into corporate databases five times over a two-year time period, using a SQL injection attack to target 7-Eleven, Heartland Payment Systems and Hannaford Brothers, a Maine-based supermarket chain, among other companies.

The three allegedly hacked into the networks and placed backdoor access in the systems to allow them to revisit without detection in order to steal the data. They would then send the data to servers in California, Illinois, Latvia, the Netherlands and Ukraine for resale to criminals.

If convicted, Gonzalez faces up to 35 years in prison and US$500,000 in fines.

The Department of Justice did not return the E-Commerce Times’ call requesting comment in time for publication.

The fact that Gonzalez acted as an informant for the Secret Service and then turned around and played the government “is a common problem in law enforcement — but particularly acute in the prosecution of cybercrimes,” said Alexander H. Southwell, an attorney with Gibson Dunn & Crutcher’s white collar defense and investigations practice.

“That is because prosecutors and law enforcement are very dependent on using insiders to penetrate criminal activity,” Southwell told the E-Commerce Times. “These cases are hard to crack without somebody on the inside because of the nature of cybercrime.”

Informers have a tendency to think that because they have protection from the government, they get a free pass on anything else they want to do, he noted.

Familiar Environment

Apart from the James Bond elements of these cases, they’re much the same as other massive identity thefts. Despite episode after episode, the underlying breeding ground hasn’t changed. That environment is characterized both by the government’s patchwork approach to protection — which often allows perpetrators to escape undetected — and the reluctance of retailers to implement stronger security measures.

The United States follows a “sectoral” approach to cybersecurity, M. Peter Adler, an attorney at Pepper Hamilton, told the E-Commerce Times.

“This means that regulations and industry standards pertaining to information security may vary slightly for companies in healthcare, financial services, [firms that have] government contracts or that use payment cards,” he explained.

“Layer state laws on this, such as those in Massachusetts and California, and a company is left with a patchwork quilt of protections that are often not completely understood and that can result in security gaps,” said Adler, adding that what the country really needs is a unified and comprehensive approach to cybersecurity that will keep up with the hackers.

The private sector must step up as well, said Robert Siciliano, CEO of IDTheftSecurity.com.

“Credit card companies, banks and retailers … clearly make huge profits that trump the losses from fraud — otherwise, they’d do something to stop fraud,” Siciliano told the E-Commerce Times.

“Credit card fraud can be stopped dead with numerous technologies that make the data useless to the thieves,” he noted, “but until banks, retailers and the credit card companies adopt them, the bleeding will continue.”

The recession is not helping, either.

Even if the government were strongly pushing more protective measures, said Adam Levin, cofounder of Identity Theft 911, it would have to balance those against the inevitable legitimate purchases stymied by such measures.

Furthermore, state governments in the forefront of enforcement have been forced to cut back because of budget cuts, he told the E-Commerce Times.

“Ultimately, it won’t be the government that solves this problem, but ultimate regulators of our economy — class action attorneys,” Levin concluded

 

 

 

 

 

 

           This is just another instance of personal information being stolen and tens of millions are now potential victims of Identity              Theft. It once again goes to show people it is not what we are doing with our information, but what others do with that                      information that can cause plenty of trouble. If you are concerned that you may be affected by this latest breach, or just                        concerned about Identity Theft, please log on to http://www.prepaidlegal.com/idt/bking62 or call 1-866-510-7907.

Identity Theft Victim Speaks Out About 16 Year Ordeal

Posted in Business, Economy, Identity Theft, Legal, Life Improvement, News with tags , , , , , , , on August 15, 2009 by truthwillrise

 

 

JACKSONVILLE, FL — Like many of us, Ieshia Brown has heard of identity theft, but now she’s living it and says it is a nightmare.

Brown says,”It is terrible! My credit is ruined and now it has messed up my driving record.”

Brown says it started in 1993 with her driver’s license. Someone had stolen her ID and used it to get a license. “I’ve been in jail because of an outstanding warrant for worthless checks in my name and it wasn’t me,” says Brown.

Brown says that case was dismissed, but the problems related to ID theft continue to haunt her.

In February, because of the number of moving violations in her name, the state revoked her driver’s license and called her an Habitual Traffic Offender.

“I’ve had about ten tickets since driving all of those are by someone else, those are five pages of tickets,” says Brown.

In 1997, the DMV provided Brown with a letter showing that an imposter had used her ID to obtain a license. The state then placed a fraud alert on her driving record.

“I don’t know what to do to get it straight,” says Brown.

Brown says the fraud alert apparently did not help, and all she wants his her life back to normal.

“I want my license back and my driving record straight,” says Brown.

Until it is, if she’s caught driving she faces up to 15 months in jail, something she says she wants to avoid.

‘On Your Side’ contacted the Florida DMV. Spokesperson Ann Nucatola says generally if someone finds themselve the victim of identity theft, all they have to do is take a copy of the police report to the district office and request an adminstrative review.

Nucatola says given the lengthy history of problems with Browns driving license, they are now reviewing the case.

The Federal Trade Commission has tips on protecting yourself from identity theft and what to do if you’re a victim, CLICK HERE to find out more

 

For more information on Identity Theft as well as what you can do before you become a victim of Identity Theft, please call 1-866-510-7907 or log on to http://www.prepaidlegal.com/idt/bking62 or http://www.greatworkplan.com/betterlife4u

Two in THree Austrailian Companies Leak Data

Posted in Business, Economy, Identity Theft, Life Improvement with tags , , , , on August 12, 2009 by truthwillrise
Renews calls for mandatory data disclosure laws.

Two in three Australian organisations experienced a serious data breach in the last twelve months, according to a survey by the Ponemon Institute.

The Institute, commissioned by data encryption company PGP, paid 482 IT security professionals in Australia to answer questions around the protection of their data.

Some 69 percent of respondents said they experienced at least one data breach in the last 12 months, up from 56 percent in 2008.

One in four of those companies that experienced a data breach suffered five or more breaches in the 12 months, up 22 percent on 2008.

Of those organisations that did admit to losing data, 65 percent chose not to inform the public – a figure the report’s authors said was “sure to add to the demand for Australia to adopt data breach notification laws similar to those in the United States.”

The Federal Government has spent the last few months reviewing privacy laws, the first draft of which was due to be released to the public within a week.

But no timeline has been set for the introduction of mandatory data disclosure laws, as recommended by the Australian Law Reform Commission and the Office of the Privacy Commissioner.

In the interim, the Office of the Privacy Commissioner has produced a voluntary guide to managing data breaches.

The survey also revealed some interesting data on what motivates organisations to protect their data.

Of those organisations that use data encryption technology to protect against the leak of confidential data, only 15 percent said they did so for regulatory reasons (citing the Federal Privacy Act, National Privacy Principles and PCI DSS requirements) whereas 70 per cent used encryption to protect their brand and reputation.

 

 

The problem of data breaches is not just an United States problem, but an international one. For more information on what you can do if you have been affected by a data breach, or what you can do before that happens, log on to http://www.prepaidlegal.com/idt/bking62    , http://www.greatworkplan.com/betterlife4u or call 1-866-510-7907.

Man steals dead brother’s identity

Posted in 1, Identity Theft, Legal, News with tags , , , , , on August 10, 2009 by truthwillrise

Criminal record kept him from finding
work

Updated: Friday, 07 Aug 2009, 11:21 PM EDT
Published : Friday, 07 Aug 2009, 10:55 PM EDT

ROCKFORD, Mich. (WOOD) – Errol Copeland of Rockford was sentenced to 60 days in jail after pleading guilty to identity theft in both Kent and Montcalm Counties.

Copeland has a criminal record stemming from a breaking and entering conviction in Kalamazoo county in 1988.

24 Hour News 8 is told that conviction led to problems finding work, so he took the name of his brother Erin who died as an infant.

Neighbors say Copeland mostly kept to himself.

The Greenville Daily News reports he was arrested when he was pulled over by a police officer who knew Copeland’s name was Errol from their days at school.

That officer noticed his license had a different name on it.

Copeland is being allowed to wait until September to begin serving his jail sentence.

 For more information on identity theft, please log on to http://www.prepaidlegal.com/idt/bking62 or call Brandon King at 1-866-510-7907.