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.
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.