Friday, July 13, 2018

Mueller's probe reports widespread identity theft as a result of Russian hacking; who is liable?

Around noon today, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein announced indictments of twelve more Russians for hacking activity associated with the 2016 elections, as part of Mueller’s probe.

The announcement seemed controversial since it occurred during Trump’s Europe trip.  

Rosenstein emphasize that no American citizens were charged, and that there was no finding that the hacking changed the election.

But he said that around eleven individuals had their identities stolen.  It was not clear if these were Americans or other western nation citizens.
It is possible for people to be held liable for misuse of their identities in some circumstances.  Some employers presume that associates will take absolute responsibility for any misuse of their identities, as with credit checks. So this is a noteworthy announcement.

Sunday, July 01, 2018

112-year-old veteran in Texas has bank account drained by identity thieves

Sometimes the very elderly are targeted by identity thieves.
Richard Overton, in Austin, TX, now 112 and a WWII veteran, found his bank account drained by an identity thief who had found his social security number and checking account number.
CNN has a detailed story here. The GoFundMe account that funds his home health care was not involved. Fox News has a similar story here
It’s very important for everyone to watch bank accounts regularly online and notice irregularities. The news stories don’t report if the bank can recover any money. It is also unclear if his identity was breached by any one of the major corporate breaches recently (like Equifax). 

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Identity theft of the deceased is increasing

Identity theft of a deceased person seems to be increasing.

AARP has a list of tips that estate executors should follow, here.  For sure, notify Social Security (not doing so and allowing payments to continue may be a crime), and notify the state to revoke a driver’s license.  Credit card companies will not allow cards in their name to continue and to try to use it as a “trust” card could be illegal (even though the executor pays the bills properly). The executor must replace the card with the executor’s or trust name on it.
The IRS recommends sending a death certificate copy to each major credit reporting company. 
The Digital Executor nomination becomes of issue here.  Most social media companies will delete accounts with no activity at all after some period of time.  Hosted accounts would expire for lack of payment (as could domain names).

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Vehicle identity theft, warning from Experian

Experian is warning consumers about “Vehicle ID theft”, whereby thieves use stolen VIN info to drive away a car from a lot and saddle you with the debt.  Experians’s link on the problem is here
Thieves would need to steal vehicle registration to make the scam work.
The problem would seem to happen at motels where travelers cannot see their cars.

Also, look at the problem of car dealer ID theft here

Monday, May 21, 2018

Former debt collector sets up charity to buy back and forgive medial debt (RIP)

Craig Antico, a former medical debt collector, has formed a non-profit called RIP Medical Debt, which buys medical debt on pennies on the dollar so that individual debtors can be forgiven. 
NBC News has a video and report here.

I worked for RMA, a debt collector, in the summer of 2003 near St. Paul, MN.  It did have a division that collected medical debt.  

Antico said he used to make 200 calls a day as a bill collector.  That sounds about what I did.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Superhero comic character creator sues his own company for international identify theft attempt

Superhero creator Stan Lee has filed a #1 billion lawsuit against a company he helped found.
He claims executives at Pow! Conspired to create a deal to sell Pow to a company in China and then to steal Lee’s identity.
The CNN Entertainment story is here.

It’s hard to believe anyone could pull anything like this off.  But maybe business in China is that opaque.

I got odd requests in 2013 about registering my own domains in China, where I would probably be banned for my political content.

But the possibility of creating someone’s identity in a foreign country, especially a non-democratic one, sounds like a broader danger.  It’s unclear if that would have repercussions for an “average American” unless he/she traveled to the country.  It’s hard to believe fictitious international debts could be successfully pursued.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Unusual murder by elderly woman in Florida motivated by identity theft

In a bizarre case of female evil, a woman who shot her own husband in Minnesota fled to Florida, and then killed a woman who looked like her to try to assume her identity.

A station in Florida gives the bizarre account here
The perpetrator is elderly, “grandma”.  Very unusual crime, right out of the movies.
Authorities have already said that identity theft is the Number 1 crime in Florida.