Friday, February 16, 2018

Russian election hack may have used synthetic ID theft of real US persons



It appears that some of the fake Facebook and other social media accounts involved with the 13-point Mueller indictment today may have been created as synthetic fake people with info stolen about real US persons, as in this Wired story
  
It does not appear that there was widespread direct harm to the persons stolen (credit scores, false prosecutions)


A fake profile of me was created on Facebook in early 2016, caught by a friend, and removed by Facebook before I knew about it.  It has no content.  But it is conceivable that this could have been Russian activity.
  
A detailed story in the Washington Post about the indictment by Rosalind S. Heldeman and others appears here.
  
Apparently some real US citizens joined fake groups not knowing these were Russian.
Here is a Scribd pdf text of the US Attorney in Washington DC (37 pages).  It is said to read like a spy novella. 
  
It is not clear how easily individuals named could be extradited and prosecuted.
    
The story could turn out be relevant to “fake business scams” currently discussed on my IT jobs blog.

Monday, February 12, 2018

Equifax hack even worse than previously thought; DL info could be exposed



The Equifax hack was worse than we thought.  Maybe it is “so bad”.

It looks like it compromised names, social security numbers, tax id’s, and driver’s license, for up to 143 million people. DL exposure could complicate TSA security. 
  
Tech Republic has a current story and video by Allison DeNisco Rayonne, here
  
The company that I worked for in Dallas in the 1980s, Chilton, was very nearly bought by Equifax in 1988 before TRW made a better offer (now it’s Experian).


But all my work there in the 1980s was on a mainframe, on member billing systems, with little interface with consumer records.
  
There is unusual attention this year to the possibility of IRS W-2 fraud, which could be related to Equifax.

Tuesday, February 06, 2018

Experian lists 20 kinds of identity theft


Today Experian (aka TRW, Chilton, and Pinger) offered a missive “20 Types of Identity Theft and Fraud,” the long list here.


Some are surprising.  One is driver’s license ID theft, very common, and it gets around the picture. Another is Biometric.  Still another is if a criminal gives your identity to police when arrested, which can make the police come after you, although it’s hard to see how a police department doesn’t catch it.
   

But one possibility would be to get into someone else’s Internet accounts, social media or domain, and place illegal content there or distribute from it, framing the other person.  This hasn’t happened as much as one might fear it could. Another is using someone’s wifi router for illegal purposes, causing that person to have his account canceled. 

Saturday, January 06, 2018

People with trusts might have to be careful when in their own name, if someone makes an fraudulent id-based claim and judgment; is overseas debt a risk?


Every few days I get an email with a spoofed sender address that purports to claim some stuff was bought using my iCloud signon.   Often they are games, and most of them are in Jakarta.  I think there has been one claim of a purchase on the Philippines (on one of the southern islands having violence), and a couple in former Soviet republics.  So it sounds like a simple phishing attack.

There is never a bill on a credit card, and I forward them to reportphishing@apple.com

I wonder, if someone had my SSN and somehow created accounts in foreign countries and ran up bills, could I ever be pursued for them?  I would think not unless I traveled to the country.

But it is possible for people to be pursued for judgments for fake accounts using their social security numbers.  In my case, I think it would be pretty easy to prove that it wasn’t me. 

Here’s the rub.  I have two trusts based on inheritances.  A lot of it is in my late mother’s name.  Some has been used to my name only, because for some future purchases that works better.  The part under mom’s trust name is supposed to be immune from creditors.  There could be a theoretical risk of seizure of money in my name only.  Inherited money might not be as well protected (if derived from an estate) for essentially “political” reasons, from tampering in a case like this.
  

I’ll check with Apple soon (at a store) and see if they know what is going on overseas.