Friday, August 18, 2017

People misidentified as marching with right wing in Charlottesville get doxed

Misidentification of people at the Charlottesville riots (mostly of people in the extreme right wings groups) has been taking place, with doxing and various threats to some people.
MSN has republished a story from the New York Times, by Daniel Victor, “Amateur sleuths aim to identify Charlottesville marchers, but sometimes misfire”, here

The story concerns a University of Arkansas professor at the engineering school misidentified was a protestor wearing a shirt from the school.  You can imagine what followed.

The article examines how the establishment press verifies identities. 

Amateur sleuths do risk getting sued, but the targets may be in danger from some time.

This could become an existential problem in social media. 

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Chip credit card technology is not perfect

ABC News reports that chips have been falling out of a few of the new chip cards, leaving consumers vulnerable, story here.
It’s possible for a thief to use a chip that had been found on another credit card.  So now there is a "chip hack".


It’s also possible for some smart phones to swipe a chip by being very new it.  

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Dallas Cowboys potential player dropped after real life identity theft in a convenience store robbery; will he be reinstated?

Identity theft can result in job loss or being cut from a pro sports team, as Lucky Whitehead was dropped from the Dallas Cowboys after someone was arrested in Prince William County, Virginia for a theft at a convenience school and claimed to be him, even with social security number.  NBC News has a typical story here.

Lucky maintains he even wasn’t in Virginia at the time of the offense. But it appears that so far the Cowboys are unwilling to reinstate him, saying there had already been some other problems (story). So he was not “lucky”.

It seems that sometimes you are responsible for the use of your own identity, no matter what. 

Ironically, there is a another story where a University of Oregon Ducks football player was arrested for perpetrating identity theft.

Update: Aug. 10

Whitehead has been reported to be picked up by the New York Jets.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

More sites offer background checks on individuals

I stumbled across a couple more sites that offer public records information:, and Whitepages.  Mylife even offers a public “reputation score” and lists a number of personal activities without the reader’s being a member.  Records from theses sites may come up on Google searches of the formal legal name. 

Some such sites claim that the subjects will not know “you” have checked up on them. 

Mylife did not have one on me, but did have one on a relative in the Midwest.
I generally will not look at these unless there is a “business” reason.  

This would certainly seem to matter for "online reputation." 

Sunday, July 02, 2017

People skills of debt collectors

Just recalling those two-plus months I worked as a debt collector in Minnesota in 2003.

I can remember being told when asking for a person who picks up the phone, to pretend being a “friend” of the person (in the days before Facebook).  I’m not much of a manipulator or imposter, although this is how stings are set up, too.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

What about debts after death? Can deceased people's identities be stolen?

Do you need to “worry” about your debt after you pass away?  Well, you can’t do anything about it.
Here’s an AOL article on the issue. 

Apparently your unsecured debt disappears with you.

But in most cases, the money can be tied to an estate that has to be paid off.  When my Mother passed, I immediately paid the remaining caregiving bills.  I canceled her social security, and one payment was taken back.  I had a credit card in her name.  I paid the bills on it, and kept using it for house (trust expenses) until the bank called and said it had to cancel the card.  I did pay the final bill ($900).  I had thought I could use it until distribution (there was no probate since there was a trust).  

 The bank feared I could simply not pay, I suppose, but I did pay it off in full.

Sometimes some of my mother’s accounts have shown up on my own credit report, which is incorrect.  I’m planning to pull detailed reports on myself soon because of the possibility, at least, of relocation.

But I wonder what could happen if a criminal “reincarnated her identity” to create a fictitious person for identity theft.  Not too easy with an unusual last name, and I would think lenders could check to make sure she wasn’t deceased. 

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Are some people less vulnerable to identity theft than others?

Are some people less vulnerable to identity theft than others?

Probably so.  It helps to have an unusual or hard-to-spell foreign last name, and less common first name.  It probably helps to be older and have a longer credit history.

It may, ironically, help to have a robust personal social media presence, one which might be more likely stand out with employers.

And it might help to be famous.  Public figures are more vulnerable to invasion of privacy and defamation attempts, but less so to identity theft.

Many homeowner’s policies are adding identity theft endorsements to their policies in many states.