Id Theft Alerts

September 14, 2011
Identity Theft For Beginners
ID Theft Lectures
The police in Tampa have arrested 49 people in a sting to break up an identity theft ring. The group had a system to steal the social security numbers of alive and dead tax payers. They could then file fraudulent IRS returns on the stolen numbers. The group learned that if the refund amount was less than $10,000 it was rarely investigated.

The interesting part of the story is that the group was offering seminars at hotels on how to run the scam. I am guessing they are as legitimate as the real estate guys with the get rich quick schemes that advertise late at night that they are coming to your town.

Celebrity Identity Theft

Even celebrities are not immune to identity theft. Actress Sandra Oh is the latest one to make the news. She is famous for playing a doctor on the TV show Grey's Anatomy. The IRS rang her up and wondered why she didn't pay her taxes for the hotel job she had in 2009. I am sure Sandra is happy she was on a hit TV show at the time and not needing to work at a hotel. It is suspected that here social security number was used by an undocumented worker.
Identity Theft for Businesses   

It is not only individuals that need to be careful about identity theft. Businesses can also have their identities stolen. As with individuals the goal is to open credit in the name of the business. It may be stealing incoming checks or creating a similar name in the same building and then opening lines of credit. The problem is that many of the laws that protect people do not apply to businesses.

Businesses should follow the same precautions we all do. Keep an eye out for strange calls about missing payments of new accounts. You can get a business credit monitoring from D&B (for a cost).
Caller ID Spoofing

Be wary of trusting the number that comes up on caller ID. There are plenty of websites and tools that allow you to spoof them. But the bigger problem is phone systems that believe the caller ID. An example is voicemail -- if it thinks the call is coming from you it can be set up to bypass your security code. Not worried about someone finding out that your friends are changing the time of their dinner party? Some banks and credit card companies use caller id as a security check. It makes it much easier for someone else to get your information after they have passed this basic check. [full story]

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