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Multiple ID fraud busts
Published: 2005-11-09

Two U.S. states have cracked down on groups of ID fraudsters by arresting a number of people using stolen credit cards, debit card information, and SSNs, some of which were obtained through the Internet via phishing scams.

In Arizona, 17 people were arrested and indicted on charges related to stolen credit cards and debit card information. The group had more than 4,500 credit cards that were obtained from hackers in foreign countries involved in phishing scams. The U.S. Secret Service were tipped off to the crime ring when more than $300,000 was wired overseas to pay the phishers for the information. Police estimate the ring stole more than $600,000 from personal bank accounts and credit card companies by using blank debit and credit cards along with user-supplied passwords and equipment to encode the cards.

Identity theft and fraud also seems to be the new way to finance traditional crime. In Oregon, a drug raid uncovers a laptop computer with hundreds of thousands of names, birth dates, SSNs, credit scores, and home addresses. The information could be used for identity theft if bank accounts or loans are opened with stolen information.

There has been a long string of breaches this year relating to credit cards and ID theft, with 40 million credit cards stolen from CardSystems and 145,000 identities stolen with ChoicePoint, thereby leaving unsuspecting victims with a lifetime of vigilance. Until recently, major online breaches involving CardSystems, Choicepoint, LexisNexis, and others did not need to be reported to the public, and therefore victims often had no idea that their identity and/or accounts had been compromised.

Posted by: Kelly Martin
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