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.
February 2, 2013
A former Pennsylvania Department of Transportation supervisor has been convicted by a Chester County jury of creating fake driver's licenses for criminals using the identities of innocent people. Khalif Abdullah Ali, 44, worked at the PennDot driver's license center in Frazer and used his position to make fake licenses with the photos of wanted criminals. One of the criminals was caught and testified against Ali. Others remain at large. Ali was convicted Wednesday of identity theft, tampering with public records, computer trespass, and related offenses.
January 25, 2013 |
In the cat-and-mouse game that pits Internet attackers against everyone else - from ordinary computer users to super-secure financial institutions and governments - the cat is lately looking a lot more ferocious. "Cyberwar" is no longer just a sci-fi concept. Just ask the Iranians who discovered in 2010 that their uranium-enrichment program had been at least partly disabled by the Stuxnet computer worm, or the malware researchers at Russia's Kaspersky Lab who last year added viruses known as Flame, Gauss, and Shamoon to the list of known cyberwar weapons.
January 23, 2013
IDENTITY THEFT IS a crime that's easy to dismiss. Until it happens to you. Just imagine: You've filed your tax return and are eagerly awaiting your refund. It's money you desperately need to pay some bills or buy whatever you've been hankering for. But then you get a notice from the IRS saying that your return has been rejected. You won't be getting a refund because it already has been claimed. You've become a victim of identity theft. Now, identity theft becomes very real. And it's getting frustratingly real for a growing number of taxpayers.