January 17, 2014
WE HAVE TO face the truth: We've lost the battle to protect our identities. Once the information from our credit and debit cards has been transmitted, it's out of our control. The latest high-profile data breaches confirm that we are forever vulnerable. In mid-December, Target said that criminals had forced their way into its computer system and gained access to customer credit- and debit-card information. Initially, Target said about 40 million shoppers were affected. Last week, the retailer disclosed that the personal data for an additional 70 million customers had also been stolen.
December 27, 2013
T HE DATA breach at Target has a lot of people worried. Information on about 40 million credit- and debit-card accounts was accessed between Nov. 27 and Dec. 15. This included customer names, credit- or debit-card numbers, expiration dates and security codes. Only in-store purchases were affected, according to Target. The company has denied a Reuters report that customers' personal identification numbers, or PINs, were compromised. Q: How can the information about one credit card lead to identity theft?
November 24, 2013 |
NORRISTOWN Richard Ruth wasn't just an old-fashioned neighborhood doctor who went the extra mile for his patients. He was a drug dealer who made money hooking people on highly addictive drugs that he prescribed, a Montgomery County Court jury said. On Friday evening, a jury found Ruth, 78, guilty of all 25 counts against him after 70 minutes of deliberating. The counts included nine of prescribing a controlled substance to a drug-dependent person and 10 of unlawful prescription of a controlled substance, as well as identity theft, insurance fraud, and corrupt organizations.
November 9, 2013 |
POTTSTOWN A Pottstown woman was banned from Twitter and sentenced to at least a year in jail Wednesday after pleading guilty to stalking a Montgomery County judge who had ruled against her in a child custody case. From 2011 to 2012, Sadiyyah F. Young distributed fliers, posted tweets, and sent forged letters criticizing Judge Wendy Demchick-Alloy, who had issued a ruling placing Young's children in foster care, said Assistant District Attorney Matthew Quigg. Young also was accused of harassing lawyers and social workers involved in her case.
October 5, 2013 |
When you or someone you know suffers identity theft, the typical loss is more than $4,900, according to the U.S. Department of Justice. So how can we protect ourselves? A June study found that the number of identity fraud victims annually in the United States totaled 11.5 million people. So we put together some tips to fight identity theft: Guard your mail and trash from theft. Have the U.S. Postal Service hold your mail while away from home, and install a lockable mailbox. Tear or shred receipts, insurance information, credit applications, doctor's bills, checks and bank statements, old credit cards, and any credit offers received in the mail.
September 8, 2013 |
Abington police have arrested two U.S. Postal Service employees who they say stole customers' credit card numbers and used them to purchase gift cards, aquarium tickets, and other items. Rashaad Schell, 23, and Daryl Matthews, 24, both of Philadelphia, are charged with identity theft, conspiracy, forgery, and related offenses. They were arraigned Thursday, and bail was set at $75,000 each. Police say the men used their cellphones to capture photos or videos of customers' credit cards.
July 24, 2013 |
A 63-year-old Philadelphia man known alternatively as Amin Rashid or Lawrence Wilson was sentenced to 20 years in federal prison Monday for scams that fleeced more than $650,000 from former property owners and families that lost homes in city sheriff's sales. Rashid, who promised to help people recover their properties or sheriff's sale proceeds through an organization called the Center for Constitutional and Criminal Justice, was convicted of mail fraud and aggravated identity theft more than two years ago. After a long series of delays due to Rashid's filing unsuccessful posttrial motions, U.S. District Judge Cynthia M. Rufe agreed with the 240-month sentence recommended by federal prosecutors, ordered restitution of $782,391, and imposed five years of supervised release.
July 9, 2013 |
A COPPER THIEF with a dark past received a visit from the coppers this weekend after his latest theft resulted in the explosion of a vacant house in Wissinoming, according to police. About 12:23 p.m. Saturday, a two-story house for sale on Howell Street near Torresdale Avenue that had been vacant for about a year exploded and was leveled by the blast. Police reported no injuries in the explosion. Investigators discovered that copper piping had been cut from the residence and said the removal of the piping caused a natural-gas leak that led to the explosion, police said.
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.