A massive identity theft and fake tax return scheme was recently discovered that cost the U.S. Treasury an estimated $10 million.
U.S. Attorney David Hickton announced the 13 count indictment of five men allegedly responsible for the crimes at a news conference in Pittsburgh. According to the indictment, the men allegedly sought $21 million in fraudulent tax refunds, and the IRS paid out about half of it.
“We have dismantled a massive stolen identity ring that involved thousands of victims and tens of millions of dollars in losses,” Hickton said.
The defendants also allegedly obtained false driver’s licenses and Social Security cards, which were then used to open bank accounts in Washington, D.C., Michigan, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and other states. Then the five defendants allegedly submitted 2,400 fraudulent federal tax returns using the names from the stolen ID’s.
The defendants allegedly spent some of the illegally obtained funds and sent some money to Nigeria. They have all been arrested, and four have been arraigned on charges including conspiracy to commit fraud and aggravated identity theft, while Mejule is in custody of U.S. Marshals.
The retail department store, Target suffered a data breach which compromised 40 million customers’ payment information.
They believe the hack began on Black Friday and stretched more than two weeks to Dec. 15th.
Malware was responsible for the large data breach. The company is cooperating with federal authorities, including the Secret Service and Department of Justice, and is withholding additional details at the request of law enforcement.
The hack was limited… Continue reading
According to the Software Company Adobe, hackers have accessed the personal information of around 2.9 million customers. The cyber thieves got away with information, including customer names, user IDs, passwords, encrypted credit or debit card numbers, expiration dates, and other information relating to customer orders.
Adobe is sending emails to anyone whose account was potentially compromised. If you received the email, follow the instructions to reset your password. Also… Continue reading
Bradford Thomas, 46, a Cobb County man has been charged with filing more than 1,200 false tax returns using the names and Social Security numbers of various victims. Many of the victims were incarcerated throughout the country.
False tax returns claimed more $5.5 million in fraudulent tax refunds that were directed to be deposited into bank accounts controlled by Thomas or individuals working with him. The scheme caused an actual loss… Continue reading
A change of address form filled out and submitted to the postal service can lead to identity theft.
Channel 9’s Nancy Alvarez in Florida was told, at a local post office, that a person can walk in and fill out a change of address form without showing any identification. The change of address form can also be made online.
Fred O’Neal, an attorney from the Orlando area discovered a week’s worth of… Continue reading
A Missouri supermarket chain recently discovered the data on about 2.4 million credit and debit cards used by customers may have been exposed. Schnucks, a St. Louis-based supermarket chain that owns 100 stores and 96 in-store pharmacies in a five-state region in the Midwest announced that it had found and contained the data breach.
According to the company, only card numbers and expiration dates appear to have been exposed… Continue reading
Identity theft has been the top consumer complaint to the Federal Trade Commission now for the last 13 years.
The FTC’s annual look at its Consumer Sentinel Network database of complaints found that 2012 was the first year the agency got more than 2 million complaints overall, and 369,132, or 18%, were related to identity theft.
Here is the list of the top 10 complaints:
- Identity Theft
- Debt Collection
- Banks and
The Better Business Burerau offers the following tips to keep your identity secure:
- Carry only the cards you need at the time. Minimize the identification information and the number of cards you carry in your wallet or purse. Do not carry your Social Security card unless you need it.
- Cut up old or expired credit cards. Be aware of inactive credit card and bank accounts. Check them periodically for suspicious activity.
With the wireless technology today, it is has become very easy to become a victim of identity theft.
Just recently, a stay-at-home mom named Jennifer Baker agreed to a hack-test. Until now her Internet security never really crossed her mind.
“I had just figured that we were secured,” Baker said.
A man called Tim was brought in by News Channel 10 in California to see if he could hack… Continue reading
Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt issued a warning on Monday for seniors to be aware of criminals targeting them for identity theft.
“Identity theft has increased with our older population and it is important that Oklahomans know how to protect themselves,” Pruitt said.
Older residents can be more susceptible to identity theft because of the amount of personal data they give for health care or in-home assistance. Many seniors can… Continue reading