February 10, 2014 |
This new year, many women decided to reinvent themselves - as me. I was the victim of "high-level identity theft. " I came home from the holidays to find 12 new credit cards opened in my name, none by me. Somebody had gotten my Social Security number, birth date, and address. I freaked. I called my mom, and she freaked. Then I looked online and learned I could resolve the fraud in, oh, about 100 easy steps. The first was to file a police report. Simply being inside the police precinct made me feel guilty.
January 27, 2014 |
The data heists from Target and Neiman Marcus continue to focus attention on the problem of information and identity theft. If you're a victim, or just don't want to be one, see these sites. Immediate steps to take when your identity is stolen include placing an initial fraud alert with one of the three big credit-reporting companies. The Federal Trade Commission's page on how to handle ID theft tells how. The alert entitles you to free credit reports from all three reporting companies, and you'll need them.
January 24, 2014
SINCE THE major data breach at Target, many readers have asked how to best protect their credit. "My wife and I are vigilant and we replaced our debit cards because of Target," one reader wrote. "Our credit has been 'frozen' at the three credit agencies for years and we view the reports annually. Do you consider 'frozen' at the agencies as ample protection?" It's likely you've heard that if you're a victim of identity theft or you want to protect your files from fraud because you suspect you are vulnerable, you should put a fraud alert on your credit files at the major credit-reporting agencies - TransUnion, Experian and Equifax.
January 20, 2014 |
Could the uproar over Target's vast data breach finally force Americans to get serious about consumers' security? Most of the rest of the world - including Canada and Europe - now uses payment cards embedded with microchips, making them far harder to clone. Almost everywhere, payment cards also are secured by customers' secret PIN codes. Meanwhile, America clings to outmoded magnetic-stripe technology, which makes card cloning much easier for the bad guys. And we blithely issue debit cards - yes, cards that take money from your very own bank account - that are usable with just a signature, no PIN required.
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.