Tuesday, January 29, 2013

"Mills" producing fake ID cards proliferate, challenging police


Pamela Brown has a story for WJLA-7 in Washington DC about “mills” that churn out “Argo” fake ID’s (particularly drivers’ licenses) in Washington DC.


It’s always possible for law enforcement to look for specially hidden print or holographics to detect fakes.
People use them to get into bars illegally (this happens a lot) and sometimes might be able to get away with them to get green cards or go to work illegally.

Home printing and duplicating technology (as well as various rogue software programs) have tempted more people into this sort of “industry”.  An episode of the WB show “Everwood” had been predicated on this idea back in 2003.  And one of my screenplays exploits this idea.  A teen, trying to get a substitute teacher to learn to use P2P, sends the teacher the software, and its presence on his own computer at home implicates him, and important plot point in the movie.  

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Macy's turns me down despite high credit score: bait, and deny


Well, today I got a letter from Macy’s turning me down.  After one week ago today, the store baited me to apply for an unnecessary card.

I had a credit score of 845/900 from Experian (I think this is the Vantage score).  I thought that was good.  But yet the letter says.

“Excessive amount owed on accounts”;

“Proportion of loan balances to loan amounts is too high”;

“Time since most recent account opening is too short”;

“Too many accounts with balances”;

 “Too many inquiries last 12 months:.

I do have several cards, and I pay the balance in full each month, usually two or three days ahead of time, online, electronically.  But there is often an unbilled amount that will carry over to the next month.  So the reasons seem very silly.  All payments are made on time (except for one disputed USAir membership fee, which was supposedly cleared up.)

Maybe the USAirways escapade looked bad (Nov. 23, 2011).
   
By the way, on my main “BillBoushka” blog today, I discussed the “service” by Frank Ahearn to help people “disappear” online.  That’s not exactly the same thing as identity security. 

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Department stores prod customers with unnecessary credit cards for discounts


Well, yesterday I bought some dress shoes at a Macy’s in a shopping mall (might actually need them again), and the clerk said I could get a 20% discount with a Macy’s visa card.  I said I didn’t need any more credit cards, but was talked into applying for one anyway. 

Down goes my FICO credit score a few points.

I had to talk on the phone with someone, explaining trust income, and how I “rent” my house. 

I wound up with a 10% discount (I don’t know if something went wrong with the credit).
  
Companies keep prodding to get more cards.  You saw what happened with the USAirways card – an $89 annual fee, and then they discontinued it when I hadn’t used it or traveled in time (see Nov. 23, 2012 posting).

Friday, January 11, 2013

Whatr? Use my discount card for somebody else's cigarettes?


Today, as I stood second in line at a Rite-Aid store at the cash register, the clerk asked me for my “wellness card” so that the customer in line ahead of me could get a discount for a cigarette purchase.

No, I don’t think I’m at serious risk of identity theft from the incident.  But it’s wrong to ask one person to participate in another’s purchase of a product (however legal) that he does not approve of.  And now, that purchase is on my “record”.  I don’t think it is likely to be abused, but the idea that there is an electronic record of a cigarette purchase by me that did not happen is disturbing.

I suppose the CVS automatic checkout lines have a lot to say for themselves (although sometimes they don’t work).

Oh, yes, men, cigarette smoking can make you go bald on the legs. The "wellness" here sounds like an oxymoron. 

Tuesday, January 01, 2013

Maryland invokes strongest law in nation giving parents ability to proctect kids' credit histories


Maryland has passed a law, effective January 1, 2013, that allows parents to freeze the credit histories of minor children even when they do not yet have an existing report.  Previously, a freeze could happen only when there was an existing report.  There is a fee unless the minor has already been the victim of identity theft.  This is the strongest law in the nation right now protecting the credit records of minors or preventing access to records of those that purport to be the same minors.
  
The Aberdeen Patch has a story here.