Archive for January 2007

Fake ID: Theives scammed people scared of ID theft

January 30, 2007

Seattle police say criminals are playing on people’s fear of identity theft to commit identity theft by posing as representatives of a major credit bureau agency.

One victim is a woman we’ll call “Mary.”

Mary and her husband have always been afraid of identity theft.

“We only carry one major credit card. We don’t shop online. We don’t bank online,” she said.

It is this guardedness that may have made Mary susceptible to a sophisticated scam.

Last week a woman called saying she was a representative of Equifax, one of the nation’s three major credit reporting agencies.

The suspect alerted Mary that someone had used her credit card to buy a pricey plane ticket to Chicago, rented an expensive car and ordered a computer online. The suspect gave specific dollar amounts.

“My antennae went up and I’ve become exceedingly nervous at that point,” she said.

It was all a lie.

But to gain Mary’s trust, the suspect provided some vital information.

She knew all four credit cards Mary had ever used.

She knew all five banks Mary’s ever had accounts in.

She knew her current and a 35-year-old former address.

She even had a partial Social Security number.

Because the woman knew so much about her, it made Mary trust her.

So when asked to give the last four digits of her social security number, Mary did so.

Minutes later, Mary had a call on other line – it was her real credit card company.

“Two charges had been made on my account, so while I was on hold with the perpatrator charges were actually being made on my card,” she said.

“These incidents are not isolated at all, unfortunately. With this particular batch we’ve got at least three that we’re looking at right now,” said Sean Whitcomb of the Seattle Police Dept.

Whitcomb said it’s a sophisticated version of a disturbing crime.

“What they’re really doing is fishing for information. They’re hoping that you’re going to provide them with your social security number, your birthday or any other privileged information,” he said.

“If something this sophisticated can be conceived of, who knows what one might do with pertinent information,” said Mary.

Police say when credit and banking institutions call you, they will only verify changes to the account, but not ask you for information.

Here’s a really good way to protect yourself. Call one of the big three credit agencies and ask for a free 90-day fraud alert. So if you lose a wallet and you want the agency to watch out for questionable activity like someone applying for a credit card, you can do that. The alert can be renewed every 90 days.

If you’ve been a victim of identity theft, if you file a police report and then mail it in, you can get a free 7-year fraud alert placed on your account.

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Fake ID: Is the I.C.E. blowing the dangers of fake ids out of proportion?

January 30, 2007

News Reports this morning quote ICE officials as having charged more than 100 undocumented immigrants with identity theft. In Colorado, affidavits filed for the search warrant for a Swift plant in Greeley, Colorado showed that all of the stolen identities belonged to U.S. citizens or legalized residents of Latino background.Reports confirm that many of the those whose IDs were stolen never knew about it before contacted by ICE. An unspecified number of victims are said in news reports to have noticed that credit accounts and telephone accounts had been opened in their names. Yet, no word on how badly impacted were victims’ credit histories. ICE arrested approximately 1,282 persons at six facilities owned by Swift & Company as part of an ongoing worksite enforcement investigation into immigration violations and a massive identity theft scheme that has victimized large numbers of U.S. citizens and lawful U.S. residents.(Source: homepage of Immigration and Customs Enforcement)In Day 2 of the aftermath of the ICE raids on six Swift & Co. meat processing plants, the federal government has changed tactics in its defense of raiding these worksites and cuffing and herding the undocumented immigrants for deportation.

Suddenly, it’s not enough to just say these people were undocumented and working illegally. It used to be federal law enforcement didn’t feel it had to explain its actions to anyone – and really they still don’t.

Yet, with even the White House employing a PR person, image is suddenly everything. And ICE is wanting, as much as any federal department, to project an image that it is acting to secure the United States.

So, instead of focusing on their illegal status, ICE is using the explanation that these workers used fake IDs, meaning fake as it related to them.

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Fake ID: Singer John Legend Used Fake IDs To Get Into Bars

January 30, 2007

Smooth singer John Legend used color to his advantage when he snuck into bars underage– by just putting another “black dude” on his ID.

The soul star hit the town in a big way after graduating from Penn State University in Pennsylvania early at 20, and found a way to persuade bar bouncers he was 21.

He explains, “I had an ID of another dude. We ain’t even look that much alike but white people think we all look alike, so you go into a bar and the bouncer just looks at it (ID) real quick, sees a black dude… and keeps moving. I never got caught.”

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Fake ID card: Fake ids are not just for underage drinking anymore

January 16, 2007

Earlier this month, the Marietta-Cobb-Smyrna Organized Crime and Intelligence Unit in Georgia arrested six illegal immigrants who were manufacturing fake identification cards.  These arrests underline the growing tie between illegal immigration and document forgery, a tie that is threatening the security of our nation.

Last August, I visited a Point of Entry facility in Nogales, Arizona where I examined hundreds of illegal documents seized from immigrants attempting to enter our country.  These fake IDs are part of an illegal underground culture, one that has brought Mexican gangs and organized crime to our community.

This is one of the numerous reasons border security is critical to the safety of our nation.  We can not allow dangerous criminals to operate inside our borders with greater ease simply because they can obtain false identification.  And I haven’t even touched on the other problems posed by fake IDs, such as allowing individuals to illegally apply for benefits and programs, taking away much-needed resources from law-abiding citizens.

If we fail to secure our homeland, I fear we will see the problems of gang violence, methamphetamine abuse, drug trafficking and crime continue to rise, risking the security of our families and communities.

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Fake IDs: New York City Wants to stop people with Fake id

January 16, 2007

City Council Speaker Christine Quinn may propose “hefty fines for those who use fake ids”, according to the NY Post. The City Council has made nightlife safety an issue after many nightlife incidents, most notably the case of 18 year old NJ resident Jennifer Moore being kidnapped, raped and murdered after a night of drinking in West Chelsea.

Currently, there is no mandatory license suspension or fine for using a fake ID in New York, though a judge can choose to suspend the user’s driver’s license.

A source told The Post that while imposition of a mandatory suspension is not cited in her report, Quinn favors such a measure and may bring the proposal before the full council. The council would then make a formal request to state lawmakers in Albany that they approve beefing up the law.

Quinn’s report also says that people who make and sell fake IDs, which can be easily purchased over the Internet, should be targeted as well.

What about those college students who make them? And nightclub owners support a move to stricter measures, since they have the problem of trying to determine whether an ID is real or fake. What hasn’t been mentioned: What happens to people who lend their IDs to relatives or underage friends.

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Fake Ids: Cops In Montreal Try to fight fake id

January 16, 2007

Montreal police held a news conference yesterday to say they recently dismantled two counterfeit credit card operations in different parts of the city. They also found fake official documents during the investigation.

Const. Christian Emond said officers also found parts for making fake passports, and credit card-sized “Government of Canada” permanent resident cards that are part of the immigration process.

“For us, it’s a new item … we’ve never seen residency cards before,” Emond told the news conference.

Emond said it’s too early to say if there’s any link to organized crime or terrorist organizations.

“We’re still trying to determine exactly what this material was being used for and who is supposed to use it.”

Emond said about 10 passports were also seized in Montreal during another police operation in early December.

“We don’t know yet whether or not, they’re valid or fake or to whom they were destined,” Emond added.

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College Students still big on using fake id

January 9, 2007

It’s Saturday night in Norman, and countless University of Oklahoma students are heading to Campus Corner — all with the same question in mind: Will I get in?Other students find themselves in a similar dilemma down the street at the local liquor store: Will the clerk catch me?More than a year has passed since OU student and Kappa Sigma fraternity member Kevin Parham was arrested for the distribution of counterfeit Texas driver’s licenses, and fake ID arrests have declined.

In fact, they have gone down dramatically — from 92 in 2004 to 78 in 2005 to 32 through the end of November, according to Norman Police Department records. The arrest statistics seem to suggest far fewer underage students are using fake IDs to get into bars and buy alcohol today than were doing so two years ago.

Yet the word on the street suggests otherwise. Ask just about any student, police officer, bar owner or liquor store employee, and they will agree that students continue to break the law with impunity.

The continued use of fake IDs raises questions about the effectiveness of police enforcement efforts and the depth of public support for rounding up offenders. There seems to be little enthusiasm for filing felony charges and seeking stiff penalties or imprisonment for college kids who use a bogus card to buy beer.

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