A Large ID Theft Bust in The Heartland and Pfizer Suffers Another Data Loss

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Identity Theft Bust Could Involve Thousands Of Victims "...this is the largest one I've ever seen"

An officer-involved shooting at a downtown Omaha hotel last week led to the uncovering of a potential major ID theft ring. Another major ring was discovered as the result of a traffic stop Sunday morning that could involve thousands.

Over the next few weeks, Saunders County Sheriff Kevin Stukenholtz will be busy making phone calls to unsuspecting people all over the region.

"We virtually have thousands in here that we have yet to contact." Thousands who don't yet know they are victims of identity theft. "I've been in law enforcement for over 30 years and this is the largest one I've ever seen."

Saunders County deputies knew there was nothing ordinary about the traffic stop just after 2 a.m. "Our officers were aware of the gravity of the situation early on."

Inside the suspect's car were thousands of documents from different people containing everything from bank statements to credit card receipts. Deputies also found hundreds of victims' bills with stamps that were never even canceled.

The sheriff believes the thief would go through people's mail and pull any unpaid bills with checks inside. His favorite was large bills like credit card receipts.

The sheriff says the thief would wash the ink off the check. Then he would make the check payable to one of his fake identities for the same amount as originally written and cash it at a local bank, making it nearly impossible for a victim to detect on a bank statement.

"I think probably some of the criminal element are becoming a little more professional and they're seasoned," says Sheriff Stukenholtz.

The thief had scanners and other equipment to help him easily assume any identity he wanted. His most bold identity was that of a sheriff from another county with a badge as phony as the bank account he opened in the sheriff's name. "We certainly think that identity theft is on the rise."

Sheriff Stukenholtz says so is awareness, which is why he's putting the word out. Channel 6 News cannot disclose the suspect's name because the sheriff believes he is part of something much larger and they don't want to tip their hand as the investigation continues.

The sheriff suggests we go through our wallet, lay out everything and ask if a thief got hold of this or that, what information would they have? Another tip is to photocopy all of it. That way if your wallet turns up missing, you know exactly what is gone.

See Video Here at WOWT News Nebraska


Another Laptop Stolen from Pfizer, Employee Information Compromised

About 13,000 employees at Pfizer Inc., including about 5,000 from Connecticut, had their personal information compromised when a company laptop and flash drive were stolen, the pharmaceutical giant confirmed today.

The data breach, which occurred about a month ago, was the second this year affecting Pfizer Inc. employees and the sixth made public in a one-year span dating back to May 2007. More than 65,000 data-breach notifications have been sent out by Pfizer over the past year, including more than 10,000 to employees from Connecticut. MORE


For tips on how to prevent identity theft see a few earlier blogs:

The Top 5 Tips for Protecting your Credit Identity...

Take the time to protect your credit -and your home!

Students may find more than a degree in their future -if not mindful of identity theft!

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