Identity Theft News


News Archive


Contact Information

Center for Identity Management
and Information Protection
Dr. Donald Rebovich,
Executive Director
Utica College
1600 Burrstone Road
Utica, NY 13502

September 2009 News Archive

September 30, 2009

Facebook Warns Members about Rise in '419' Scam

More and more fraudsters are harvesting the log-in data of Facebook members in order to impersonate them and ask their friends for money, according to the social-networking company. full article

Banking Trojan steals money from under your nose

Researchers at security firm Finjan have discovered details of a new type of banking Trojan horse that doesn't just steal your bank log in credentials but actually steals money from your account while you are logged in and displays a fake balance. full article

Identify theft on the rise in Virginia

Shred all your documents displaying bank account and Social Security numbers. Be careful about sharing personal information on the Internet, and don’t respond to e-mails requesting it. full article

Touchless 3-D Fingerprinting

A new non-contact, 3-D fingerprinting system could make spotting the bad guys faster and easier, whether it's at the border or the police precinct. By projecting patterns of light onto a finger and analyzing the image, researchers from the University of Kentucky are able to create a more accurate print than those made with ink or sensor plates. The researchers say the system is more efficient than traditional fingerprinting and significantly reduces the number of incorrect matches. full article

National Guard members warned of identity theft scam

SPRINGFIELD - The Illinois Army National Guard has had its identity impersonated in an effort to steal the identities of others. full article

September 29, 2009

Will your privacy be compromised online?

(CNN) -- The 2010 Census is nearly under way, but don't expect an e-mail from the U.S. Census Bureau asking you personal questions in its head count of America. full article

Second city man arrested in ID fraud

Feds: 2 used DUI reports to get vital info

A second Lancaster County man has been charged by the U.S. Department of Justice in an identity-theft scheme that targeted DUI offenders in Lancaster and York counties. full article

Recycling project a security breach at MUN

A project intended to reuse paper from campus offices at Memorial University of Newfoundland has accidentally breached some students' privacy. full article

Mastic Beach woman charged with identity theft

A Mastic Beach former mortgage broker who owned an employment agency has been charged with identity theft after she used client information to run several scams, police said. full article

Cop accused of tip line cash theft to stand trial

A Detroit Police Officer accused of stealing more than $26,000 in reward money from a police tip line stood silently in 16th District Court in Livonia this morning as a judge ordered his case to circuit court. full article

Microsoft Bing Ads Warn About Scams

As part of its ongoing security push, Microsoft is teaming up with the government and Western Union to run search ads to educate users about potential online fraud.

In keeping with expanding efforts to educate consumers about security risks, Microsoft (NSDQ: MSFT), in conjunction with the Federal Trade Commission, the United States Postal Inspection Service and Western Union, has launched a series of online public service announcements (PSAs) on its Bing search engine to warn searchers about online scams. full article

Two Romanian Citizens Extradited to the United States to Face Charges Related to Alleged Phishing Scheme

Nora R. Dannehy, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, and Kimberly K. Mertz, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, today announced that two Romanian citizens have been extradited to the United States to face charges stemming from an alleged Internet “phishing” scheme that victimized individuals, financial institutions and companies. PETRU BOGDAN BELBITA, 25, of Craiova, Romania, and CORNEL IONUT TONITA, 28, of Galati, Romania, each have been charged with one count of conspiracy to commit fraud in connection with access devices, one count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud, and one count of aggravated identity theft. full article

Florida Man Sentenced for Identity Theft

INDIANAPOLIS—Richard L. Marzullo, 56, Orlando, Florida, was sentenced to 70 months' imprisonment today by U.S. District Judge Richard L. Young following his guilty plea to aggravated identity theft, wire fraud, interstate transport of stolen property and conspiracy, announced Timothy M. Morrison, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Indiana. This case was the result of a investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. full article

New Identity Theft Laws to Take Effect

HARTFORD, Conn. -- New laws to protect those who are victims of identity theft will take effect in Connecticut on Oct. 1. full article

Fake IRS email spam continues to strike users

A fake email notice that purports to come from the Internal Revenue Service is continuing to make the rounds, widely ramping up attacks against businesses and individuals, according US-CERT. full article

Majority think outsourcing threatens network security

A majority of IT security professionals believe that outsourcing technology jobs to offshore locations has a negative impact on network security, according to a survey released Tuesday. full article

Mayor Bloomberg to Protect New Yorkers from Identity Theft

Mayor Bloomberg today announced a comprehensive plan to help prevent fraud and identity theft, in addition to providing greater assistance to the victims of these crimes. The plan will increase the public’s awareness of potentially compromising situations and create a set of “Best Practices” for businesses that handle personal information. full article

Malware worldwide grows 15 percent in September

A rise in malware has caused the number of infected PCs worldwide to increase 15 percent just from August to September, says a report released Tuesday from antivirus vendor Panda Security. full article

September 28, 2009

Do Phishers Have More Poles in the Water?

Are phishing attacks going up or down? The answer depends on who you ask. Undoubtedly, phishing is still a big problem on the Internet, but regular statistical reports from various vendors leave a mixed picture. Vendors tend to collect data in different ways as well as from different sources, and it's difficult to find two reports that enable a true one-to-one comparison. full article

Doctors mistakenly fax patients' data to Indiana Company

Doctors continue to send information to wrong number

Doctors' offices in Tennessee have been accidentally sending patient information, including Social Security numbers and medical histories, to an Indiana businessman's fax machine for the past three years. full article

Only 1 In 4 Terror Suspects Prosecuted

WASHINGTON -- The government is prosecuting only about one out of four of those charged in connection with terrorism, according to a study that suggests federal agencies don't agree on who is a terrorist. full article

Woman accepts plea deal in La Honda ID theft case

REDWOOD CITY —— A La Honda woman who was part of an identity theft ring that used stolen credit cards to buy merchandise was sentenced to two years probation and four days in jail for her role in the scam, a prosecutor said Monday. full article

September 27, 2009

Colo. Springs hospital looks for missing data

COLORADO SPRINGS - A Colorado Springs hospital and police are investigating the apparent theft of Social Security numbers and other personal information of 175 patients. full article

September 26, 2009

Hackers Paid to Hijack Macs

A network of Russian malware writers and spammers paid hackers 43 cents for each Mac machine they infected with bogus video software, a sign that Macs have become attack targets, a security researcher said yesterday. full article

UNC data breach exposes 163,000 SSNs

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill today began notifying about 163,000 women about the potential compromise of their Social Security numbers and other personal information after a hacker breached a system containing the data. full article

September 25, 2009

IRS Scam Now World's Biggest E-mail Virus Problem

Criminals are waging a nasty online campaign right now, hoping that their victims' fears of the tax collector will lead them to inadvertently install malicious software. full article

House subcommittee passes cybersecurity R&D bill

The U.S. House Research and Science Education Subcommittee this week unanimously approved legislation to strengthen the Cybersecurity Research and Development Act. full article

Cahokia man gets 8 years for filing 116 false tax returns

EAST ST. LOUIS -- A Cahokia man will spend the next eight years in prison after pleading guilty Sept. 18 to federal fraud charges in connection with filing false electronic income tax returns and collecting more than $1 million in refunds. full article

Instead of being destroyed, box of employees' personal documents found on curb in front of school

A box of documents full of employees' personal information was left out in front of a Williamsburg school before the Labor Day weekend. full article

2007 identity theft aftermath continues to be felt in Delaware

Suspecting fraud, WSFS issues new bank cards

Months after a hacker pulled off the largest identity theft in U.S. history, the aftermath is still being felt in Delaware, where the case has prompted one local bank to deactivate and reissue debit cards for some of its customers. full article

Mail carrier pleads guilty to federal theft charges

Carey woman says she had drug habit

Marsha Billock-Strahm told a federal judge Thursday she wasn't being nosy when she stole select pieces of mail she was supposed to have delivered in rural Wyandot County between 2005 and 2009. full article

Illegal faces federal ID theft charges

Juan Castro was originally picked up by Eastern Adams Regional Police on driving offenses.

An illegal alien from Mexico picked up in June by Eastern Adams Regional Police now faces federal identity-theft charges, according to a press release issued Thursday by the U.S. Attorney's office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania. full article

September 24, 2009

Protect Your Privacy on Facebook and Twitter

Web surfing is no longer a solo affair. Facebook, Twitter, and other social networks have quickly become an integral part of the online culture, and with them comes a whole new array of potential security threats. In this article, I'll identify some of the key dangers of social networking and offer a few easy steps that you can take to stay safe online. full article

Department Of Defense Putting Data At Risk

Data deletion policies aren't being properly followed across the board, risking exposure of personal or sensitive data, report says.

The Department of Defense risks exposing personally identifiable information and other sensitive data because it isn't consistently following proper procedures in preparing computer equipment for disposal or reuse, the military's inspector general has found. full article

Med students crossing the line on the internet

Thirty-eight percent of deans surveyed said their schools had policies barring unprofessional conduct online

From Facebook to YouTube to personal blogs, future doctors are crossing the line -- and getting in trouble. full article

Identification theft a disease in health care

Providers now required to check patient ID

It's not unusual to be asked to show photo ID when buying cigarettes or alcohol, or going into a night club. But now there is a new reason that people are being asked to pull out their picture identification. full article

ABA Wants Quick Ruling Against FTC in Suit over Identity Theft Rules

The American Bar Association is hoping for a speedy -- and successful -- end to its lawsuit against the Federal Trade Commission, which is getting ready to impose identity theft rules on law firms and other businesses that extend credit. full article

Construction Firm Sues After $588,000 Online Theft

A construction company in Maine is suing its bank after about $588,000 disappeared from its accounts, alleging the bank failed to spot suspicious account activity before it was too late. full article

Protect Your Identity Week 2009

The ITRC is proud to support the National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC) and Council of Better Business Bureaus joint National Protect Your Identity Week (PYIW) October 17-24, 2009. full article

September 23, 2009

Man given time served for massive ID theft

WILMINGTON -- One of two men involved in a massive theft of ATM card information -- along with money from those compromised accounts -- was sentenced to time served, or just over two years in prison, on Tuesday in federal court. full article

Man killed in crash shortly before sentencing

COVINGTON, Ky. -- A northern Kentucky man has been killed in an Ohio traffic crash shortly before he was to be sentenced on a theft charge. full article

ID Analytics Expands Availability of On-Demand Identity Intelligence Solutions for the Government Market

SAN DIEGO, CA, September 23, 2009 – ID Analytics, Inc., the leader in on-demand identity intelligence, announced today its risk management solutions are now available on its’ U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) Schedule. Under this modification, government agencies have streamlined access to ID Analytics’ identity scoring technology currently used in the daily operations of Fortune 100 financial services, healthcare, telecommunication companies, and retailers to increase program integrity while maintaining a positive customer experience. full article

Google Urges Cooperation against Bad Ads, Malware

A malicious ad surfaced in Google search results just as Google called for a more concerted industry effort against such scams.

As if to underscore its call for greater industry cooperation to fight malicious online ads and content, Google allowed a scam ad to appear briefly atop search results on Tuesday for the term "Firefox." full article

New Twitter worm strikes

A new worm attack seems to be breaking out on Twitter, this time through direct messages sent to users, according to reports. full article

EKU posted about 5,000 Social Security numbers online for a year

The names and Social Security numbers of about 5,000 Eastern Kentucky University faculty, staff and student workers were posted inadvertently on the Internet last September, where they have been displayed for a year, according to EKU President Doug Whitlock. full article

Survey: Most organizations struggling to secure data

Hampered with issues such as lack of CEO support and budgetary resources, organizations are struggling to secure sensitive data and the majority have experienced a breach, according to a survey released Wednesday by the Ponemon Institute and sponsored by data security company Imperva. full article

Criminal Hackers, Carders, Dumps, and Identity Theft

Albert Gonzalez and his gang of criminal hackers were responsible for data breaches in retailers and payment processors, with some estimates saying they breached over 230 million records combined. Gonzalez, considered a proficient criminal hacker, provided "dumps," a term which refers to stolen credit card data, to "carders." "Carders" are the people who buy, sell, and trade stolen credit card data online. This video provides an example of an online forum where stolen data is bought and sold. Gonzalez pleaded guilty to his crimes and will be serving the next fifteen years in jail. He and his gang used a combination of schemes that have caused a significant increase in counterfeit fraud. full article

Woman suspected in counterfeiting scheme

An Otis woman arrested last week has been charged in Reno County District Court with 22 counts in an alleged scheme to make counterfeit money, phony checks and fake driver's licenses. full article

September 22, 2009

Privacy groups blast new health care notification rule

The new health care data breach notification law, which is set to go into effect Wednesday, has drawn harsh criticism from privacy advocates. full article

Thousands of patients warned about theft of personal information

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. -- Thousands of patients at a Kern County health clinic have been warned their personal information could have been stolen. full article

Breach of Personal Information at CMHA

CINCINNATI -- Hundreds of Cincinnati Metropolitan Housing residents have had their personal information compromised, including social security numbers, exposing them to potential identity theft. full article

Madoff investors' security may have been breached

More than 2,200 Bernard Madoff investors are learning that some of their personal and financial information has potentially been breached after the July theft of a laptop in Dallas, Newsday has learned. full article

September 21, 2009

Study: 600K campus records hacked this year

Report calls American universities 'a hacker's dream,' says overhaul of campus IT security is needed

Computer hackers reportedly have stolen identifying information and credit card numbers from more than half a million -- some 600,000 -- college students, faculty, and alumni this year. This is prompting some campus IT officials to call for a "total overhaul" of computer security protocol. full article

Man guilty in ID theft that ensnared Ben Bernanke

ALEXANDRIA, Va. (AP) - Federal prosecutors say an Illinois man has pleaded guilty in an identity theft ring that ensnared Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke as a victim. full article

U.S. charges Obama fund-raiser in $290 million fraud

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Hassan Nemazee, a fund-raiser for Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and other Democrats, has been indicted for defrauding Bank of America, HSBC and Citigroup Inc out of more than $290 million in loan proceeds, U.S. prosecutors said on Monday. full article

Rampant brute-force attack against Yahoo Mail

A widespread brute-force attack against Yahoo email users aims to obtain login credentials and then use the hijacked accounts for spamming, a researcher at Breach Security disclosed last week. full article

September 20, 2009

Many scams against college students are hatched online, experts say

FORT WORTH, Texas — Phil Banker said he "freaked out" when he saw his bank account balance after buying a $100 cell phone with his debit card. The receipt showed that $1,919 was missing from his checking account. full article

September 18, 2009

Microsoft Files Five Lawsuits To Halt Malicious Advertising

In an effort to protect Windows users, Microsoft is suing unidentified scammers for distributing malware through online ads.

Microsoft (NSDQ: MSFT) on Tuesday filed five civil lawsuits in Seattle's King County Superior Court to combat malicious online advertising, or malvertising. full article

Scam targets veterans' credit card info, VA warns

(CNN) -- Watch out for the latest scam targeting veterans and their credit card numbers, the Department of Veterans Affairs warns. full article

PBS' Curious George site hacked to serve malware

The website for the popular children's television show "Curious George" was compromised this week to serve malware to visitors, according to researchers at web security vendor Purewire. full article

September 17, 2009

On the Lookout for Stimulus Fraud

It would not ordinarily go down in the annals of crime. But when Robert Fitzsimmons was arrested this summer and accused of cashing a check made out to his long-dead father at a Pay-O-Matic check cashing store in Manhattan, he became one of the first people in the country accused of stealing some of the $787 billion in federal stimulus money. full article

Misdirected Spyware Infects Ohio Hospital

It was a bad idea from the start, but even as bad ideas go, this one went horribly wrong. A 38-year-old Avon Lake, Ohio, man is set to plead guilty to federal charges after spyware he allegedly meant to install on the computer of a woman he'd had a relationship with ended up infecting computers at Akron Children's Hospital. full article

September 16, 2009

Ex-CTA employee gets 4 years for identity theft

An ex-CTA employee was sentenced to 4 years in prison today for stealing the personal information of customers to buy merchandise from local department stores, according to the Cook County state's attorney's office. full article

Consumers Accept Device Fingerprinting, Study Finds

To fight online fraud, consumers are warming to the idea of technology that identifies the device they're using.

Computer users are willing to accept device profiling if it leads to improved security and less sharing of personal information, according to a study conducted by the Ponemon Institute, an independent privacy research organization. full article

September 15, 2009

4 Charged With Identity Theft Ring

Alleged Ringleader, Robert Lyles, Arrested At Business

HOUSTON -- Four people have been arrested and charged with running a counterfeit check and fake identity ring that used hundreds of stolen IDs and had nearly 200 customers of the service. full article

Identity Theft Suspect Sought

Police Looking For Jeanice Gallegos Juarez

SAN ANTONIO -- A $1,000 reward was being offered for information leading to the arrest of a woman wanted on charges of identity theft. full article

September 14, 2009

Identity-theft victim catches her thief

A Seattle customer service representative who was the victim of identity theft in January was able to help police break up a ring of ID thieves when a woman tried to open a credit card account using her stolen identity. full article

Serena Williams meltdown is latest poisoned search attack

Video of tennis star Serena Williams imploding Saturday in the U.S. Open women's semifinals is just the latest search term to be poisoned by attackers wanting to infect users with rogue anti-virus software, researchers said Monday. full article

September 12, 2009

Hacker Pleads Guilty In Major Identify Theft

Albert Gonzalez, 28, accused of stealing tens of millions of credit and debit card numbers in one of the largest computer break-ins in U.S. history, pled guilty Friday.

A hacker accused of stealing tens of millions of credit and debit card numbers in one of the largest computer break-ins in U.S. history pleaded guilty Friday to fraud, identity theft and other charges. full article

September 11, 2009

Chandler man arrested for stealing identity of Marlins pitcher

PHOENIX -- A man stopped for having a poorly inflated tire was arrested for stealing the identity of a Florida Marlins pitcher. full article

Newstead debt collector charged in identity theft

State police at Lockport have arrested a Newstead woman accused of purchasing merchandise and paying bills with checking-account and credit-card numbers she obtained from her job at a local debt-collection agency. full article

Former loan officer indicted on bank fraud and aggravated identity theft

McALLEN — A former Lone Star National Bank loan officer has been indicted on five counts of bank fraud and one count of aggravated identity theft. full article

September 9, 2009

Sacramento man pleads guilty in identity theft scheme

A Sacramento man who was part of an international identity theft operation pleaded guilty to numerous felony charges in federal court, the U.S. Department of Justice announced Tuesday. full article

Woman guilty in ID theft that ensnared Bernanke

A doctors' receptionist has admitted to stealing bank account information from patients as part of an identity theft ring that ensnared Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke as a victim. full article

Trust, but let Google verify: Companies join government in identity authentication experiment

OpenID, Information Card announce Web 2.0 initiative with feds

The Obama administration is collaborating on a pilot program with Web 2.0 organizations and vendors to enable people to access multiple federal Web sites with greater transparency and more control over their personal information, the groups announced today. full article

DuPont sues employee for trade secrets data breach

Industrial manufacturing giant DuPont has sued an employee it claims was planning to smuggle trade secrets to China, according to a report this week in The News Journal of Delaware. full article

Cutwail botnet authors behind wave of malicious IRS spam

Researchers at an email security firm warned Wednesday of a new spam run that seeks to infect machines by tricking users into believing the U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is trying to contact them over a fraudulent incident. full article

September 8, 2009

Mobile phone ID fraud increases

There has been a rise in the number of mobile phone accounts being cloned or taken over by criminals, figures show.

According to the UK fraud prevention service Cifas, the practice is one of the growth areas of identity theft. full article

How To Prevent Card-Skimming Identity Theft

The PCI Security Standards Council (PCI SSC) provides a framework and in-depth guidelines on how merchants securely store and transmit payment card account data to keep it out of the hands of criminals. Non-compliance with the standards can result in fines of up to $500,000 issued by credit card associations such as Visa Inc. and MasterCard Inc. PCI recently released best practices for retailers to defend themselves against the growing number of credit- and debit-card skimming scams. full article

Court allows suit against bank for poor online security

A US couple who had thousands of dollars stolen from their online account have been given the go-ahead by a court to sue their bank for failing to provide adequate security.

In 2007 Marsha and Michael Shames-Yeakel fell victim to an ID thief who gained access to their Citizens Financial Bank online account and stole $26,500 from a home equity credit line. full article

Better Business Bureau Warning, iJango Possible Pyramid Scheme

A new money making opportunity that claims to “Multi-level market the Internet” could be nothing more than a pyramid scheme warns the Better Business Bureau (BBB). An investigation by the BBB about iJango – a new self-described multi-level marketing company – finds that this business is aggressively seeking representatives for a product that has no track record. Consumers are paying hundreds of dollars in upfront fees based on the claim that they can earn money by recruiting others to do the same – a red flag for pyramid schemes. full article

Website exposes sensitive details on military personnel

Programming errors on a website that helps commuters carpool to work are exposing sensitive information of workers for hundreds of employers in Southern California, including at least one military installation. full article

Thousands of Patients Affected By Hospital Burglary

Kern Medical Center Sends Out Notices To 30,000 Patients

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. -- A small burglary has left major problems for Kern Medical Center. That's because someone stole the personal information of thousands of people. full article

September 7, 2009

OUTRAGE: Private School Files Abandoned On NY Curb

Documents Containing Sensitive, Personal Student Information Abandoned When School Moves Papers, Some Containing Signatures And Social Security Numbers, Posed Potential Identity Theft Nightmare

BRIGHTON BEACH, N.Y. (CBS) ? it’s a disturbing mystery unfolding on a Manhattan Street. Boxes of highly confidential student records were dumped on the curb, papers with Social Security numbers, signatures, and personal information – an identity theft nightmare waiting to happen. full article

Identity theft can be on-campus problem

GOFFSTOWN – As students head off to college this fall, there are plenty of things for them to worry about: Passing classes, making friends, decorating dorms, getting invited to the right parties, the freshman 15. full article

Phony debt collectors raise fear of national data breach

The Better Business Bureau is issuing a national alert about phony debt collectors who are calling consumers and saying they have defaulted on a payday loan and will be arrested if they don't pay immediately. full article

September 3, 2009

TJX settles for $525K with four banks over breach

TJX announced Wednesday that it has settled with the four remaining banks pursuing a class-action lawsuit against the discount retailer over a major breach disclosed more than 2 1/2 years ago. full article

Environmental rogue traps users with "green" promise

A new rogueware menace is playing the environmental card, seeking to trap users into buying and downloading useless security software by claiming that donations to an environmental program will be made with every purchase. full article

FBI Investigates Laptops Sent To Governors

State officials fear the unsolicited computers could contain malware meant to penetrate the security of state or federal networks.

The FBI is investigating why unsolicited laptops have been sent to 10 governors' offices across the nation. The shipments have spurred cybersecurity concerns. full article

Police: FAU Student Stole Identity To Save Tuition

Former Student Accused Of Stealing Woman's Social Security Number

BOCA RATON, Fla. -- A former Florida Atlantic University student faces years in prison after police said she stole someone's identity to save money on college costs. full article

September 1, 2009

Suspect in ID-theft ring that hit Bernanke's wife arrested in Miami-Dade

A woman accused of involvement in a major theft ring that targeted the wife of Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke was arrested Monday night in Miami-Dade County by U.S. marshals. full article

Recorded telemarketing calls without written permission now illegal

You soon may be hearing a lot fewer of those maddening pre-recorded telephone pitches for everything from car insurance to debt consolidation services. full article

Instant messaging speeds up data theft danger

IDG News Service - One of the more sophisticated pieces of malware in circulation has been given an upgrade that lets cybercriminals act even faster after they've stolen data from a PC. full article