May 20, 2013 |
When it comes to credit issues and identity theft, I sometimes feel like what we used to call a broken record. Almost incessantly, I urge readers to check their credit reports by visiting www.annualcreditreport.com or by calling 1-877-322-8228. Both will get you to the "central source" mandated by Congress a decade ago for consumers to request free reports from TransUnion, Experian, and Equifax, the nation's three main credit bureaus. If the reports are clean, I tell readers, there's no need to pay for a credit score - which Congress, alas, did not require the credit bureaus to provide, and did not bar them from pitching via side deals to consumers who request their free reports.
May 3, 2013 |
If you spot a lady outside the Barnes Foundation Thursday munching on a cheesesteak, you may want to ask for an autograph. It's probably Maria Semple, author of Where'd You Go, Bernadette , one of the funniest, most wondrous novels of recent years. Semple is here for a reading Thursday night at the the Free Library of Philadelphia, but she's making an effort to catch some local flavor in every city she stops in. In Philadelphia, that means sampling our sandwich staple and visiting the impressionist extravaganza on the Parkway.
April 28, 2013
Message for all in vendor's death It broke my heart to read of the death of the hardworking man, Don Ly, from whom I bought fruit salads when I worked at the University of Pennsylvania seven years ago ("Fruit vendor in W. Phila. is stabbed," April 19). The photo of his kind, smiling face brought back memories of seeing him every day upon my arrival at Meyerson Hall. To think that someone killed him is maddening. I grieve for his family, and for all of us living amid such crime.
April 17, 2013 |
Oh, look: a letter from the IRS. My electronically filed tax return has been received . . . and rejected. Some crook filed a tax return via my Social Security number (stolen). Hello, identity theft. Hello, faceless cyber-burglars beyond reach. It's a multibillion-dollar industry, according to the U.S. Treasury inspector general for tax administration, who pegs the cost at $21 billion over the next five years. I'm but one of millions who have had their IDs stolen. Like them, I'm now scurrying to restore my info and shore up protection against these slimy genius hacker-creeps.
March 15, 2013 |
The ringleader of a large fraud and identity theft ring, described by his victims as a "financial terrorist," was sentenced today in federal court to 12 years in prison. Lawrence Fudge, 47, of West Oak Lane, defrauded dozens of victims as he amassed more than $360,000 in cash and goods. According to prosecutors, Fudge employed a network of bank employees, check runners, and an insurance company employee. He used illegal drugs to entice some of the conspirators. In at least one case, he flashed a gun in ensure participation, according to prosecutors.
March 14, 2013 |
A Chester County couple paid hospital workers to steal patients' personal information, then used it in a scheme to steal $1.7 million in tax refunds, prosecutors said Tuesday. Rafael Henriquez Polanco and Yanira Lopez pilfered the identities of at least 144 people, including patients at Community Hospital in Chester and Crozer-Chester Medical Center in Upland, between 2008 and 2011, according to charging documents filed in U.S. District Court in Philadelphia. Prosecutors said Polanco, 30, and Lopez, 27, paid hospital workers to steal confidential forms that listed patients' names, birth dates, and Social Security numbers, then used the information to file fraudulent returns.
March 6, 2013 |
Chester County police knew something else was amiss when they saw the driver of the car suspected in a hit-and-run crash throw credit cards out the window - lots of them. David Carroll and Rochelle Fraser, both of South Jamaica, New York have been charged with identity theft, forgery, theft and other related crimes, according to the West Whiteland Township police. On Jan. 25, Carroll was allegedly involved in a hit-and-run accident on North Pottstown Pike in Exton. Police saw Carroll's car traveling south on Route 100 after the crash.
February 23, 2013 |
A Southwest Philadelphia man has been sentenced to 2 to 4 years in prison for stealing the life savings of an elderly woman suffering from Alzheimer's disease. Antar Thomas, 32, will also serve 5 years probation after his sentence and pay $35,000 in restitution. The District Attorney's Office said that events began in early 2009 when Thomas befriended Lillian Drake, and an 82-year-old member of his church. Thomas eventually moved into her home, and her health began to decline.
February 21, 2013
DEAR HARRY: I'm a young, married guy whose mother got hit with identity theft a year ago. It was a problem, but it got straightened out with zero loss to her. It was emotionally aggravating, however, and she did need a visit to her doctor. I want to avoid that as much as possible. I see all kinds of ads for companies that will do that for me, but they seem to be more about boasting than protecting. There have to be things I can do for myself. Help! WHAT HARRY SAYS: The most important thing is to be alert so you can catch a stolen identity before it gets too far. Get an annual credit report from each of the major reporting agencies: Equifax, Experian and TransUnion.