Id Theft Alerts

January 19, 2011
Protect Yourself at Tax Time
Tax Time
Tax Time
It is the time of year where a tremendous amount of your personal information is coming in the mail. Just one tax document has your name, address, and social security number. To protect yourself you need to make sure nothing gets lost. If you have moved make sure you notify all the financial institutions you used in the past year. Everyone should make a list of the financial institutions, jobs, or other sources of tax documents. As each one comes in, check them off the list. If one doesn't show up, call the institution to make sure they sent it. The bonus is your trip to the accountant will already be organized.
Red Flag Rule Finally Active

After two years of delays the FACTA Red Flag Rule will be enforced as of January, 1st. The rule took a beating at the end of the year as the legal and medical special interest lobby were successful in exempting themselves. To know that they should be included you only need to read the next story. 
Identity Theft Ring at Newland Medical Center

Camille Butler, a Newland Medical Center Employee was charged with 15 counts of identity theft and criminal enterprise last month. Butler is accused of stealing patient information and giving it to her boyfriend. The Detroit couple used the stolen identities to buy hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of merchandise. [story and video]

Dumbest Identity Thief of 2011 (so far)

Ryan Matthews used a stolen identity to finance a new BMW. He then called the police to say that the stolen identity was stolen after defaulting on the car payments. The report lead them straight to Matthews. [story]

I am declaring Matthews the dumbest identity thief of 2011 (so far). But the year is young so he may lose the title before the name is engraved on the trophy.
Wireless Identity Theft

Imoukhuede Ohiwerei Ehimi has been arrested for a six month string of identity thefts in the Santa Barbara area. Investigators believe he used unsecured wireless networks to gain access to home computers. Once he had access he took bank account information. The last step was to transfer money out of their accounts. [story]

This is a reminder to enable the security settings on your wireless network. Most routers and high speed modems now come with wireless by default. If you don't use the wireless networking then you are best served to disable that feature.
Hard Drive Shredding
Hard Drive Shredding
Don't just give all your data to a computer recycler. Shred all your hard drives.