How many times have you …
Deposited a check on your smartphone?
Paid for something on a public Wi-Fi network?
Given your personal information to an app you just downloaded?
Yet how many mobile security tools have you downloaded to protect yourself during those transactions?
Although a growing number of Americans use their smartphones for banking, payments and social media, many fail to consider that mobile check deposits or credit card payments may make their personal and financial information more vulnerable to theft and fraud.
A 2013 study from the Pew Research Center reported that 63 percent of cellphone owners use their phone to go online, and one-third of these users access the Internet mostly through their phone, not their personal computer. The same year, Bank of America reported the number of consumers logging on to the bank's mobile app surpassed the number accessing the online platform.
"With the growth of mobile banking apps, people are doing more and more sensitive tasks on their mobile devices, and that is only going to increase as mobile devices just become more prolific," says Joe Osborne, senior editor of TechRadar, an online publication that reviews technology products.
Experts warn that the rise in mobile banking and other Internet phone use leads to greater cybersecurity threats.
"We tend to think of these devices as nothing more than a phone with a camera, but they really are as complex in collecting all of your data the same way your computer would," says Eva Casey Velasquez, president and CEO of the nonprofit Identity Theft Resource Center, which aids victims of identity theft.
Despite these threats, there are steps you can take to make your phone less vulnerable. For example, just like you can download security software on your desktop, you can download mobile apps to keep your phone safe from security threats. Here are five apps security experts say will protect your personal information. Read more at U.S. News & World Report....
Bad guys have turned to identity theft and sophisticated fraud to steal drugs, electronics, and food right off the loading dock.
Freight trucks have always made a convenient target for thieves. Containers can be pilfered at a roadside rest stop, or a whole truck can disappear while its driver grabs a hot shower. Sometimes truckers are even hijacked at gunpoint.
But a new generation of tech-savvy truck thieves are innovating on old methods.
“One of the M.O.’s that’s on the increase is in a sense identity theft — impersonating another company,” says Nick Erdmann of the security technology firm Transport Security. Continue reading at Fortune....
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The going rate for a stolen identity is about twenty bucks.
Tens of millions of people have lost their private information in data breaches over the past few years. But what happens after that — how the data are leveraged for financial gain — remains murky. Many of those stolen records end up for sale on the anonymous, seedy area of the internet commonly known as the dark web.
Analyzing the sale of those records sheds some light on the vibrant market for stolen identities. On the dark web’s eBay-like marketplaces, the full set of someone’s personal information — identification number, address, birthdate, etc. — are known as “fullz.” We analyzed listings for individual fullz that were put up for sale over the past year, using data collected by Grams, a search engine for the dark web.
Our question: How much is a stolen identity worth?
Among tens of thousands of records in the Grams data, we were able to identify more than 600 listings for individual identities — some including credit card information, others without. The listings ranged in price from less than $1 to about $450, converted from bitcoin. The median price for someone’s identity was $21.35. Continue reading on NextGov....
Israeli online casino owners indicted in U.S. for securities fraud, money laundering, and aggravated identity theft
Two Israelis indicted in the US and facing extradition for allegedly using fake passports and identities to run a stock fraud scheme that made millions were ordered kept in custody for 20 days by the Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court on Wednesday, due to fear that they pose a flight risk.
A grand jury in Manhattan indicted the suspects, Gery Shalon, 31, and Ziv Orenstein, 40, in June on charges of conspiracy to commit securities fraud, conspiracy to commit wire fraud, securities fraud, wire fraud, conspiracy to commit fraud using false documents, aggravated identity theft and money laundering conspiracy. The pair are also suspected in computer data breaches at J.P. Morgan in 2011 and 2012
The website Casino Scam Report identifies the two as co-owners of 13 online gambling casinos.
Read more at the Jerusalem Post.
Imagine turning 18 years-old; finally ready to take on your dreams as an independent young man or woman.
At this age, you feel like you have reached a starting point in life’s journey and are bursting with potential.
Now picture yourself as an 18 year-old aging out of foster care.
Life has already dealt you a set of circumstances that have interrupted your childhood, separated you from your biological parents and in some cases, your entire natural family.
You, alone, will now be responsible for your well being, housing, continued education, and economic future.
But you are ready for the opportunity to create your own future. Then, once again, life throws you a curve and you are faced with a new challenge: identity fraud.
WISN 12’s investigative reporter Colleen Henry reported on the story of two sisters, who were former foster children that discovered their identity had been stolen and personal credit ruined while in the state of Wisconsin’s care.
The sisters would learn that while they were still minors and being cared for by foster parents, they already had a house, a car, credit cards, and a bankruptcy in listed in their name. Continue reading at the Milwaukee Courier....
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Lee Jong Suk identity theft: Korean star takes legal action against perpetrator who stole identity for fraud
Earlier this week, many K-television and movie fans debated among one another over a peculiar Instagram post by Korean actor Lee Jong Suk. At first, many thought the melancholy update was related to gossiping rumors that Jong Suk was dating fellow Pinocchio co-star Park Shin Hye. This would make sense given the fact if it were true, nobody is giving them the privacy to fully enjoy one another’s company.
Though the aforementioned scenario is a valid reason for Lee Jong Suk’s Instagram update, the real reason is now known. It is reported that a perpetrator actually stole Jong Suk’s identity and tried to use it to commit fraud. Jong Suk has made it clear he will seek legal action against whoever committed the crime.
Details of Lee Jong Suk’s identity theft were made public by the Korean star’s agency, Wellmade Yedang, as reported by AllKpop. Apparently, Jong Suk’s personal information was stolen, and his personal seal and stamp, used to authorize documents in Korea, has been faked. The perpetrator is said to be someone well-connected in the entertainment field. With the stolen identity information, he or she drafted an exclusive management contract and started fake bank accounts under Lee Jong Suk’s name. Read more at Inquisitr.com....
LifeLock, the well-known, heavily advertised identity theft protection services company, is being sued by its own shareholders, the law firm of Kessler Topaz Meltzer & Check, LLP announced on July 27.
The complaint alleges that LifeLock and certain of its executive officers made a series of false and/or misleading statements to investors, and failed to disclose material adverse facts about the Company's business, operations and prospects.
Specifically, the defendants are alleged to have made false and/or misleading statements and/or failed to disclose, among other things: (1) that the Company had failed to establish and maintain a comprehensive information security program to protect its users' sensitive personal data, including credit card, social security, and bank account numbers; (2) that the Company falsely advertised that it protected consumers' sensitive data with the same high-level safeguards as financial institutions; (3) that the Company failed to meet the 2010 settlement order's recordkeeping requirements; and (4) that, as a result of the foregoing, the Company's statements about its business, operations, and prospects, were false and misleading and/or lacked a reasonable basis. Read the law firm's complete press release at CNN Money....
Last week, the Federal Trade Commission re-opened an investigation into LifeLock's fraudulent activities after the company failed to honor 2010 court order to repay its clients $12 million.
US doctor "blissfully unaware" New Zealand man has been practicing medicine under his name and credentials
A US doctor will tonight be informed his identity may have been stolen in what is being described as a "sophisticated" case of identity fraud by a man who allegedly posed as a psychiatrist and worked for the Waikato District Health Board.
The qualified psychiatrist is believed to be "blissfully unaware" that a man - who gained medical registration in New Zealand - was allegedly using his identity, including degree certificates and US medical registration confirmation, to practice in New Zealand.
Documents produced by the man to obtain medical registration in New Zealand were faultless, and are believed to be genuine, and referees who vouched for his expertise believed they were providing references for the 'real' US doctor whose identity is believed to have been stolen.
It comes after a man, 54, working as a psychiatrist at Waikato DHB appeared in Hamilton District Court on Saturday on a number of charges. He was given name suppression and remanded in custody and is due to appear again in court on Monday. Read the complete story at the Otago (NZ) Daily Times....
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MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Pa. -The Montgomery County District Attorney’s Office has filed charges against two Upper Dublin Township business owners following a series of identity theft crimes.
Eric Lamont Martin and Portia D. Martin have been charged with theft of $124,981. In March 2015 authorities began investigating the two, who are the owners to Centra-Spike, a heating ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) company.
Police believe the two obtained personal information from at least eight individuals, and applied for fraudulent loans in their names. The loans were applied for through Synchrony Financial in order to pay for alleged HVAC services.
Read more at MyFoxPhilly....
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Big-three credit bureau Experian is the target of a class-action lawsuit just filed in California. The suit alleges that Experian negligently violated consumer protection laws when it failed to detect for nearly 10 months that a customer of its data broker subsidiary was a scammer who ran a criminal service that resold consumer data to identity thieves.
The lawsuit comes just days after a judge in New Hampshire handed down a 13-year jail sentence against Hieu Minh Ngo, a 25-year-old Vietnamese man who ran an ID theft service variously named Superget.info and findget.me.
Ngo admitted hacking into or otherwise illegally gaining access to databases belonging to some of the world’s largest data brokers, including a Court Ventures — a company that Experian acquired in 2012. He got access to some 200 million consumer records by posing as a private investigator based in the United States, and for nearly ten months after Experian acquired Court Ventures, Ngo continued paying for his customers’ data searches via cash wire transfers from a bank in Singapore. Read more at Krebs on Security....
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In this video, Oberthur Technologies North America President Martin Ferenczi discusses identity theft and credit card solutions. He speaks on "Market Makers."
This new "Chip and PIN" technology will provide a high degree of confidence that your card cannot be counterfeited," he says.
When asked why it has taken over 10 years for this technology to start being used in the United States when it has long been used in other countries, Ferenczi replies, "because it wasn't born in the United States."
A second reason is that the U.S. has far better communication systems than other countries; therefore our online financial transaction security systems have been relatively more secure than in other nations.
Click here to watch this 3:30 minute video at Bloomberg.com.
Seventh Circuit holds that risk of future fraudulent charge on credit card sufficient to withstand motion to dismiss
During the 2013 holiday season, Neiman Marcus, like many other retailers, discovered that its payment card systems had been compromised and customers’ credit and debit card information was potentially stolen. The rush to the courthouse began, and multiple class action lawsuits were filed and later consolidated in the Northern District of Illinois under the caption Remijas v. The Neiman Marcus Group, LLC, Case No. 14-cv-1735. Alleged damages included, among others, unauthorized charges on credit and debit cards, the risk of future fraudulent charges and greater susceptibility to identity theft.
Neiman Marcus filed a motion to dismiss the complaint for lack of standing and failure to state a claim. The district court granted the motion to dismiss exclusively on standing grounds, holding that the injuries alleged by plaintiffs were not sufficiently concrete. The plaintiffs appealed. On July 20, 2015, the Seventh Circuit reversed, holding that the plaintiffs had shown a substantial risk of immediate harm sufficient to afford them standing to sue. Read more at National Law Review....
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A Best Buy employee in San Mateo, CA alerted sheriff's deputies on Wednesday to four men, all from the east coast, who tried to used fraudulent credit cards make purchases.
Police made a traffic stop just outside the parking lot, and the men denied having been in the store.
Deputies discovered hundreds of fake gift cards and credit cards, equipment used to manufacture the fraudulent cards, 131 new iPhone 6's, phone accessories, two MacBook Pros and high-end male clothing.
The men were arrested and booked into the San Mateo County Jail on suspicion of commercial burglary, identity theft, fraudulent use of access cards, manufacturing false access cards, possession of access cards with the intent to defraud, and conspiracy.
The suspects have been identified as Edwin Fernandez, 23, from Quincy, MA., Elijah Clarke, 20, from Middletown, NY., Musa Kanuteh, 29, from Bronx, NY. and Mitchell Malachi, 26 from Fayetteville, GA.
LifeLock -- the security company that famously touted its identity-theft protection services by flaunting its CEO's Social Security number in ads (only to then see his identity stolen) -- is again feeling the heat from the Federal Trade Commission.
The FTC, which agreed to a $12 million settlement with LifeLock in 2010 over deceptive-practices charges, said in court documents filed Tuesday that the company is continuing to make misleading claims about its service.
LifeLock offers consumers identity-theft protection plans for $10, $20 and $30 a month, as well as plans for businesses. But the FTC alleges that LifeLock failed to create and maintain "a comprehensive information security program" to protect customer data such as credit card, bank account and Social Security numbers.
The commission also said LifeLock falsely claimed in ads that it provided customers with the same sort of protections used by financial institutions, and that from at least January 2012 through December of last year, the company "falsely claimed it protected consumers' identity 24/7/365 by providing alerts 'as soon as' it received any indication there was a problem." Continue reading on CNET....
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When top state law enforcement officers gather in Maui for the annual three-day convention of the Conference of Western Attorneys General (CWAG) July 19-22, a critical component of the discussion will be the need to curb the burgeoning problem of medical identity theft.
The western attorneys general should give cybersecurity the serious attention it deserves, if for no other reason that it is growing fastest in their front yard, the Pacific and Western region of our country. According to the Medical Identity Fraud Alliance's (MIFA) Fifth Annual Study of Medical Identity Theft, the Pacific-West region saw its share of the nation's medical identity theft cases rise to 17 percent of the nation's total in fiscal 2014, up from just 11 percent two years earlier. The corresponding shares in the other five regions of the nation's total number of medical identity theft cases either held steady or were up or down only slightly.
Earlier this year, an estimated 18,000 current and former members of the Hawaii Medical Service Association, the state's largest health insurer, discovered their personal information had been stolen during a cyberattack on Anthem Inc., a Blue Cross-Blue Shield plan that serves residents of 14 states. According to the MIFA study, medical identity theft nationally rose nearly 22 percent in the previous year, an increase of nearly a half-million victims since 2013. In 2014 alone, medical ID theft cost consumers more than $20 billion in out-of-pocket costs.
All forms of identity theft (e.g., bank account fraud and credit card fraud) can be costly to those who fall victim to it, but medical identity theft potentially can be life-threatening as well. Continue reading at the Maui News....
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When Aaron Doody's passport was stolen from his Wellington flat he cancelled it, called the police and his bank - and then believed that would be the end of it.
What he didn't expect was months of fighting debt collectors and credit rating agencies over the thousands being racked up in his name.
In January, Doody, 26, returned to his Newtown home to discover he had been burgled that day, the thieves making off with his passport, his flatmate's passport and two laptops.
Having reported it immediately, he says: "I kind of thought that would be it. We'd done everything we could."
But nine days later someone walked into a Waikato ANZ branch and withdrew $2000 cash from Doody's account.
The bank's fraud investigator later told him their security footage showed someone presenting a passport.
"I thought that would surely be it," he said.
But Doody's doppelganger has just started. Read more at the New Zealand Dominion Post....
ORLANDO -- A stolen vehicle's OnStar technology helped Orlando police dismantle an identity theft ring that has already claimed more than 1,800 victims, authorities said Monday.
An 85-year-old man called Orlando police last week to report his credit card was fraudulently used by someone using the name Chrystie Hall to rent a vehicle from Thrifty Car Rental, which is located at the Orlando International Airport.
The man's card was charged about $4,000, a release states.
Orlando police investigators confirmed the vehicle was fraudulently rented, reported it stolen and then used the vehicle's OnStar, which placed it at Robinson Street and Magnolia Avenue in downtown Orlando.
Police located the vehicle and two suspects: Xavier Stephens, 27, and Bridgett Bennifield, 38.
Stephens had a backpack with numerous credit card documents inside. Bennifield had a purse with numerous credit cards in it.
According to police, the documents appeared to be reservations for travel and included arrival dates, lengths of stay, hotel information, names of guests, dates of birth and full credit card information with the expiration date and security numbers.
Stephens was in possession of 1,787 reservation documents and Bennifield had 68 reservation documents, police said. Continue reading at MyNews13....
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A spate of high-profile data breaches have brought worries about identity theft to a fever pitch. But consumers may be overlooking a risk that's much closer to home.
Concerns that your information could be compromised are justified. Through mid-July, there have been 424 data breaches compromising more than 129.6 million records, according to the Identity Theft Resource Center, affecting targets as varied as the Internal Revenue Service, the insurance company Anthem and, most recently, the adultery site Ashley Madison.
Last year, the center reports, the number of data breaches hit a record high of 783, up 27.5 percent from 2013. Javelin Strategy & Research estimated that fraud and identity theft damages that year (including but not limited to such breaches) totaled $16 billion and affected 12.7 million people.
Tracy, a health-care worker in Kentucky, is among those victims. The thief who stole her Social Security number opened several new cards in her name last year, racking up $1,500 in purchases and pushing one account past its credit limit. Another debt, owed to an online retailer, was sent to collections.
The catch? Tracy, who asked that her last name be withheld for privacy concerns, wasn't victimized by some nameless, faceless hacker.
Her husband was the culprit. Read more at CNBC....
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The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau ordered Citibank and one of its subsidiaries to pay $700 million in relief to more than 8.8 million consumers for engaging in a string of illegal credit card practices, including deceptively marketing and billing for debt protection and credit monitoring services, and misrepresenting fees related to debt collection actions.
In all, the CFPB estimates seven million consumer accounts were affected by Citibank’s deceptive marketing, billing, and administration of debt protection and credit monitoring add-on products, while one of its subsidiaries deceptively charged expedited payment fees to nearly 1.8 million consumer accounts during collection calls.
According to the CFPB complaint [PDF], from at least 2003 through 2012, Citibank and its subsidiaries – Department Stores National Bank and Citicorp Credit Services, Inc. – allegedly used deceptive means to market and enroll consumers in five debt protection add-on products, four identity theft add-on services and one credit monitoring add-on product.
The debt protection products – AccountCare, Balance Protector, Credit Protection, Credit Protector, and Payment Safeguard – were advertised to account holders as allowing the cancellation of a consumer’s balance, or deferment of the payment due date, if the consumer experienced certain hardships, such as job loss, disability, hospitalization, and certain life events, such as marriage or divorce.
The identity theft add-ons, called IdentityMonitor, DirectAlert, PrivacyGuard, and Citi Credit Monitoring Services, offered credit-monitoring or credit-report-retrieval services, while another product called Watch-Guard Preferred, was advertised as a wallet-protection service that notified credit and debit card issuers if the consumers reported a card lost or stolen. Continue reading at The Consumerist....
Phishing might be perpetuated via e-mail but it's not an e-mail problem. It is a people problem. So says Richard Broeke, a security expert at Securicom, a South Africa-based IT security vendor and managed IT security services provider.
"Phishing is on the rise. In fact, recent stats from a leading global cyber intelligence company, CYREN, show that phishing has increased by 15% since January 2015. The sheer ease with which cyber criminals continue to get results from using this tactic has very little to do with a lack of e-mail security. Their impressive hit rates have much to do with the people on the receiving end.
"Phishing mails left untouched aren't a problem. The problem comes in when recipients act on a phishing e-mail by clicking on a URL link which leads them to an unsafe, spoof site where they are tricked into revealing personal details and other confidential information.
"Despite warnings from all manner of companies, from banks to medical aid companies, people continue clicking on links and giving away their private information," he says. Continue reading at IT Web....
Losing $300 to a buffet sounds like one of the worst all-you-can-eat deals on the planet.
Investigators in Houma, La., are trying to track down fraud suspects after multiple customers of a local Chinese buffet restaurant reported seeing hundreds of dollars in unauthorized charges on their accounts after using their credit and debit cards at the restaurant, reports the Houma Courier. At least 20 people said their card information was used to make purchases between $300 and $1,000 at area retailers after dining at the restaurant, totaling more than $20,000 in unauthorized transactions.
Police are looking for a male suspect who is accused of using stolen customer information to make fake credit cards and IDs to show when making purchases, but he is believed to have left the area. Investigators say he got the information from two waitresses who worked at the restaurant, for whom police are also searching.
Restaurant servers stealing diners’ credit card information isn’t terribly common, but stories like this pop up in the news every once in a while. It’s not so much that you shouldn’t trust anyone with your credit card (though you should be cautious) as much as you should regularly check your credit and debit card activity. The more frequently you do it, the easier it is to spot a transaction you didn’t make, as your previous purchases will be fresh in your mind. Keep reading at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch....
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A dating website that helps married people cheat has been hit by hackers who threatened to release information about millions of customers. Ashley Madison, which uses the advertising slogan "Life is short. Have an affair," said Monday it had been attacked and some user data was stolen.
So far, though, it isn't easy to find the exposed cheaters online. That could change soon if the hackers decide to publish the information on a public website.
Brian Krebs, the blogger who first reported the breach, said the hackers were threatening to release all Ashley Madison's customer records if the website isn't shut down.
The hackers called themselves the "Impact Team," and the potential release includes "profiles with all the customers' secret sexual fantasies and matching credit card transactions, real names and addresses, and employee documents and emails." Continue reading at CNN....
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Thanks to social media and an alert public, Manchester Township police were able to identify and arrest a Whiting man on credit card fraud charges and identity theft, Capt. Todd Malland said.
Police distributed video surveillance photos to identify the suspect, Kenneth DiBeneditti, 44, Rhode Island Drive. DiBeneditti is accused of fraudulently using a debit card to buy items at various businesses in the Whiting section, he said. Read more at the Manchester Patch....
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Vietnamese national Hieu Minh Ngo sentenced to 13 years in prison for masterminding identity theft ring
July 16 -- A Vietnamese man was sentenced this week in U.S. District Court in Concord to 13 years in prison for hacking into U.S. businesses' computers, stealing personal data from approximately 200 million U.S. residents, and selling that data to cyber criminals around the globe.
Acting U.S. Attorney Donald Feith of the District of New Hampshire and of the U.S. Secret Service announced Wednesday that Hieu Minh Ngo, 25, was sentenced Tuesday by U.S. District Court Judge Paul J. Barbadoro of the District of New Hampshire to 13 years in prison. Ngo pleaded guilty to federal charges brought in the District of New Hampshire and the District of New Jersey, including wire fraud, identity fraud, access device fraud and four counts of computer fraud and abuse.
"This case demonstrates that identity theft is a worldwide threat that has the potential to touch every one of us," said Feith. "I want to acknowledge the excellent work of the United States Secret Service in identifying and capturing Mr. Ngo. This case proves that the United States Attorney's Office for the District of New Hampshire will work with law enforcement to investigate and prosecute identity thieves, even if they are halfway around the world."
"From his home in Vietnam, Ngo used Internet marketplaces to offer for sale millions of stolen identities of U.S. citizens to more than a thousand cyber criminals scattered throughout the world," said Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell of the Justice Department's Criminal Division in a statement. "Criminals buy and sell stolen identity information because they see it as a low-risk, high-reward proposition. Identifying and prosecuting cyber criminals like Ngo is one of the ways we're working to change that cost-benefit analysis."
"The sentencing of this transnational cyber criminal illustrates another example of Secret Service success in the disruption and dismantling of global criminal networks," said U.S. Secret Service Director Joseph P. Clancy in a statement. "This investigation and the resulting prosecution and sentencing should serve as a warning to criminals that we will relentlessly investigate, detect, and defend the Nation's financial infrastructure. This sentencing joins a long list of successes in combating financial crimes over our 150 year history."
Ngo pleaded guilty March 3, 2013, in U.S. District Court in New Hampshire to wire fraud, identification fraud and fraud in connection with access devices and last month to a separate indictment on four counts of computer fraud. Ngo was involved in a data breach involving a subsidiary of Experian Plc that exposed the Social Security numbers of some 200 million people -- potentially including Granite State residents -- to possible criminal activity. Continue reading at Security Info Watch....
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