A New Year brings New Identity Theft and Data Breach Stories. A few of the latest...

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Geeks.com website hacked -customer data stolen!

If you bought anything from Geeks.com in at least the last year or so, you might want to start paying close attention to your credit card statements--the company sent out an email on Friday telling former customers that they "recently discovered on December 5, 2007 that customer information, including Visa credit card information, may have been compromised." Read More

Six (bank employees) Charged With Identity Theft

Philadelphia - Four Philadelphians and two individuals from Conshohocken were charged with aggravated identity theft and other charges over the weekend.

U.S. Attorney Pat Meehan announced a superseding indictment, charging the six with conspiracy, bank fraud, aggravated identity theft and the use of a computer in connection with bank fraud.

According to the indictment, the defendants, Rashin Owens, 49, David Tunnell, 29, Victor O'Connor, 22, Damoon Hosseinzadeh, 26, Clarissa Gavin, 22 and Tommy Antone Murray, 48, stole names, social security numbers, addresses, dates of birth and driver's license numbers of customers of Citizens Bank and Commerce Bank, where two of the defendants were employed. Read More

Mail theft turns into identity theft

It started with a letter from a bank.

A payment was overdue.

Before long, similar letters swarmed into James and Alice Harris' Crab Flats home from credit card and insurance companies. All were past due bills. The bank confirmed the checks were cashed -- but not by businesses they were written to.

A check to pay their credit card bill was spent in a local restaurant. Another was used to buy gas.

The Harris' discovered they were victims of mail identity theft.

And they're not alone.

All across the county, police agencies and U.S. Postal Service officials are seeing an increase of the crime. Read More

Illegal immigrants turn to identity theft
Legal names and government-issued ID numbers used to thwart detection

When U.S. Air Force veteran Marcos Miranda had his identity stolen, he went from being a valued customer and employee to a government statistic -- one of thousands of identity theft victims caught up each year in the crackdown on illegal immigrants.

Identity theft has been a growing worry in the United States, but a rise in federal prosecutions of immigrants offers a new wrinkle on the problem. As better systems are developed for verifying employment, illegal immigrants are assuming the names and government-issued ID numbers of Americans like Miranda to thwart detection at workplaces, get driver's licenses and obtain credit.

Miranda first learned someone else was using his identity in 2000 when he was arrested on a warrant for unpaid traffic tickets at the border after a visit to relatives in Mexico. Read More

Vandals steal school computer with social Security Numbers

AUGUSTA, Ga. - Students throughout Richmond County returned to school today. But there were empty classrooms at Dorothy Hains Elementary school after vandals broke in -- breaking windows, setting walls on fire and stealing electronics.

"I was disgusted yet again...because it had just recently happened," said Principal Sophia Cogle.

It's the second time this has happened since November. This time, teachers desks were ransacked, bulletin boards destroyed, papers--and even an America flag--burned.

Principal Cogle says it's affecting everyone.

"I have a new teacher. This is her second month and her second break-in and i'm sure she's discouraged at this point," she says with concern, "I'm very scared. It sems to be an every other month thing here recently."

Most of the damage happened in the outside portable classrooms destroying things that teachers spend their personal money on.

"Many of them have come out of pocket to decorate and to make the classroom as conducive as possible for learning," says Cogle.

Teachers say they have no clue who could be behind these crimes, but they think the portable classrooms are being targeted because there's not enough lighting in that area of the school yard.

But, there's also damage inside the main building. The library door was kicked in and the circulation computer was stolen--something the principal desperately wants back because it has the social security numbers of students and teachers on it.
With continued reports that point to an alarming growth of various types of identity theft, it's important to know what you can do to protect your children....Here's some info & Tips...

Protecting Your Child's Identity
SENDING YOUR CHILD off to their first summer job is a proud moment for any parent. For Kristin Smith of Mesa, Ariz., however, that milestone marked the beginning of a stressful battle to reclaim her child's identity.
It all began in mid-July, shortly after her 16-year-old son started a summer gig at a local car dealership. His new employer conducted a routine background check that returned shocking news: A man living in Phoenix was using his Social Security number. Even more shocking was the discovery by the local police department that there was more than one perpetrator. In 1994, a man from Pennsylvania with a DUI arrest on his record had been using Smith's son's Social Security number as well.
Was there any other damage, such as credit cards or other loans taken out using her son's information? Frustratingly, Smith -- whose name we've changed for privacy concerns -- hasn't yet been able to find out. When she tried to pull her son's credit report from the three credit bureaus, her requests were denied. The bureaus were not able to confirm her son's information, most likely because his Social Security number was already in use by someone else. READ MORE


Oftentimes a child becomes a victim of identity theft when someone they know uses their social security number and name to secure a credit card or have utilities turned on in their name. But, nowadays, children are becoming a favorite target of criminals that use their social security numbers to secure employment, medical services, housing, loans, travel and to commit additional crimes under their names. Because children aren't using their credit, their information can be used and the thief can go undetected for years.

During that time the child's information can be bought and sold to multiple thieves for multiple years. Sadly, the news of a child's destroyed credit rating goes unnoticed until he/she learns an application for a student loan, credit, or employment has been denied. In some cases, the teen suddenly finds out they are being responsible for large debts they didn't know about and didn't accrue -but are still being held accountable for. There are some ways to prevent your child from becoming a victim of fraud and identity theft:

1. Keep their social security number locked up in a secure location - If your child's SSN isn't accessible, criminals can't steal it.
2. Don't carry their card in your wallet where it could easily be lost or stolen.
3. Don't share the number with family members or provide it to anyone
4. Make sure their SSN isn't listed on their insurance card.
5. Check with the credit bureaus to confirm they don't have a credit history -if they do... something is wrong.
6. Watch for pre-approved credit card offers or bills, or mail that arrives in your childs name -don't just assume it is junk mail. Your child shouldn't be receiving mail -unless his/her identity is being used.

For additional information and more tips see:

Identity theft isn't only for adults anymore. Kids are having their identities stolen more and more often.

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