11 Charged in Worldwide Theft Ring
Eleven people from a worldwide identity theft ring have been charged by the Department of Justice. The ring is accused of hacking into nine U.S retailers and stealing more than 40 million credit card numbers. The list of stores include TJX Cos, BJ's Wholesale Club, OfficeMax, Barnes & Noble, Sports Authority, Forever 21 and DSW. Yes, the same ones that have filled up this newsletter for the last year.
Three of those charged are U.S. citizens, one is from Estonia, three are from Ukraine, two are from China and one is from Belarus. One charged is only known by an on-line alias.
Kudos to the DOJ for busting this major source of identity theft. Lets hope what they learn from this ring will make all retailers systems more secure.
Stealing Your Home Equity
If you are lucky enough to have a large amount of home equity left after the housing downturn you should be taking extra care of your identity.
According to a report by the Identity Theft Assistance Center, identity thieves have begun targeting individuals with substantial untapped home equity. They can identify them by high credit scores. Now that lenders have tightened their criteria, criminals are moving away from those with bad credit because they can no longer obtain easy loans.
Countrywide Target of Insider Theft
The FBI has arrested Rene L. Rebollo Jr. and Wahid Siddiqi.
Rebollo is a former Countrywide employee who is accused of stealing the personal information of 2 million mortgage applicants over a two-year period. Siddiqi is accused of reselling the information.
Rebollo worked as a senior financial analyst at Full Spectrum Lending, a subprime lending arm of Countrywide. The more we learn about subprime lending, the worse it looks. It is impossible to have ethical employees doing unethical work.