Identity theft news & latest reported data loss...

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38 accused in identity theft scheme
Ring stole more than $230,000 over 14 months

More than three dozen people have been indicted in what Fort Bend County authorities said was a fraud and identity theft ring that stole more than $230,000 from lending agencies.

The 38 people indicted in May and June stole hundreds of identities between December 2006 and February 2008, sheriff's spokeswoman Terriann Carlson said Thursday.

Carlson said a yearlong investigation conducted by the Fort Bend County Sheriff's Office and other local law agencies focused on hundreds of fraudulent short-term loans, commonly known as "payday loans."

Police said the suspects would obtain a person's identity information and use it to obtain a loan. Money was to be deposited in checking accounts opened in the Houston area. Once the money was wired to the account, one of the suspects would withdraw the funds.

Carlson said the investigation led detectives in February to a home in northwest Harris County in the 10800 block of Waterfern Court where Wesley Thomas Dixon, 48, was arrested. He has been charged with fraudulent use and possession of identifying information.

Barbara Maria Guinn, 33, and Sequietta Combs Grevious 33, were also arrested. Carlson said Guinn and Grevious are accused of recruiting people for the alleged scheme and of providing support to Dixon. They were indicted on charges of theft. Dixon and Grevious are being held without bail, and Guinn's bail was set at $50,000.

Carlson said police believe Dixon used identities of more than 500 people to apply for more than a thousand loans valued between $200 and $800 each.

Two others, Tracy Spencer Gilmore, 34, and Chante Monique Small, 32, were also indicted on charges of stealing information from their employers and providing the stolen identities to Dixon, Carlson said. Gilmore is still at large and Small was released from jail on $20,000 bail.

Carlson said evidence indicates that Gilmore was employed by Kelsey-Seybold Clinic and Small was employed by HCA-Clear Lake Regional Medical Center when they stole information from patient records.

Two others, Chace Barrett, 20, and Tadrick B. Goodman, 30, have been taken into custody.

Carlson said police are seeking the remaining 31 people who were indicted.

Source: Houston & Texas News


DMV puts Colorado residents at risk of ID theft

The Denver Post

The Division of Motor Vehicles put 3.4 million Coloradans at risk of identity theft due to flaws in the way driver's-license information is handled, lawmakers recently learned at an interim transportation committee hearing.

The DMV regularly sends large batches of personal information over the Internet without encryption and has failed to properly limit access to its database, according to a recent audit.


UnitedHealthcare insider charged in Cal data theft

IDG News Service -A former UnitedHealthcare employee has been charged with stealing customer data in connection with a rash of identity thefts at the University of California, Irvine.

Mike Tyrone Thomas Jr., 27, was arrested at his Fort Worth, Texas, home on July 7 and now faces a fraud charge in connection with a scam that hit 163 students enrolled in the university's Graduate Student Health Insurance Program. He also faces a charge of aggravated assault relating to a November 2007 incident, although it was unclear if the charges are related.

Thomas accessed the customer data, which he was not authorized to see, in late October, according to authorities. In February, U.C. Irvine graduate students started noticing that their 2007 tax returns had already been filed by someone else, apparently in the hope of collecting their tax refund checks.

At the time he allegedly accessed the data, Thomas was working for UnitedHealthcare's student resources department, a division of its Dallas group, said U.C. Irvine campus police chief Paul Henisey. He didn't know if other UnitedHealthcare customers were affected by the breach but said it's a possibility. MORE


Man Gets 4 Years for ID Theft, Software Piracy

A 23-year-old Oregon man was sentenced this week to four years in federal prison for using computer viruses to steal financial data from dozens of consumers. Investigators say the man used the information to set up multiple eBay and PayPal accounts, which helped him sell more than $1 million worth of pirated software.

Jeremiah Joseph Mondello, of Eugene, Ore., admitted distributing keystroke logging programs via online instant message networks. Investigators say he then used bank account credentials stolen from victims to set up more than 40 online auction accounts in the victims' names. MORE


This week's reported data loss:

Ohio University - July 25th
Names and Social Security numbers posted on the internet 

University of Houston - July 24th
Social Security numbers and names found on web 

Hillsborough Community College - July 24th
Social Security numbers, names, addresses, and routing numbers of 2,000 stored on stolen laptop 

Saint Mary's Regional Medical Center - July 24th
128,000 notified about possible database intrusion)

Village of Tinley Park, Illinois - July 24th
Lost backup tape contains Social Security numbers of 20,400

Minneapolis Veterans Home -July 20th
Stolen server contains Social Security numbers, addresses, and medical information

Click here for earlier July

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