When Even The Attorney General Can't Protect Herself Against Identity Theft, Something Is Wrong

from the chances-of-getting-caught?--zero dept

Identity theft continues to be a popular crime for plenty of reasons, but the biggest one may be that the chances of actually getting caught are slim to none. InfoWorld has a short blurb about how the new Attorney General of Massachusetts was a victim of identity theft just a couple of weeks ago, and there's almost no chance that she'll be able to catch and prosecute the criminal who did it. It's the same old refrain we've been hearing for years. The chances of anyone actually getting caught is close to zero, and it's always the victims who have to clean up the mess that they're left with (and sometimes it's a tremendous mess). There are better ways that credit reporting agencies could deal with victims of identity theft, but it seems like it's just too much work for them, so they make it as difficult as possible -- and often make victims feel like they were the ones who did something wrong.

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  • identicon
    JJ, 24 Jan 2007 @ 2:04am

    It's nearly impossible to catch these guys, and it seems like no one takes it seriously. If even an AG isn't able to go after those who stole her identity, something is very very wrong.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    security, 24 Jan 2007 @ 2:14am

    CHECK THAT SHIPPING ADDRESS & PHONE NUMBER

    /// She said the chances of catching the crook - even for the state’s top prosecutor - are slim to none, since even if they could link it to a person, jurisdictional issues would likely hamper an effort to prosecute.
    This attitude is what allows these crimes to continue. The FBI could start by tracing the Address that the goods were supposed to go to.
    Then investigate and interview the people who were to receive the merchandise.

    The could also check that address with UPS or FEDEX & other PC companies to see if other Goods where shipped there.

    Was this a phone order - or placed over the Internet. Dell requires a telephone number for every client or quote. And the IP address is recorded for every online sale.

    Did she even file a formal complaint?
    Did the FBI tell her that they would no investigate?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Matthew, 24 Jan 2007 @ 4:57am

      Re: CHECK THAT SHIPPING ADDRESS & PHONE NUMBER

      The could also check that address with UPS or FEDEX & other PC companies to see if other Goods where shipped there.

      Was this a phone order - or placed over the Internet. Dell requires a telephone number for every client or quote. And the IP address is recorded for every online sale.
      The items could have been shipped to a vacant house for all the shipper would care, phone numbers can practically be rented, and the IP address is easily faked or done remotely from a zombie. Certainly these things will be checked out, but it is still easy to evade capture until you get greedy.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      magicdiablo, 24 Jan 2007 @ 5:03am

      Re: CHECK THAT SHIPPING ADDRESS & PHONE NUMBER

      Apparently you think that identity theft is only in the digital world or catalogs, and not in stores. Using someone else's credit information on-line is more difficult than one might think (especially if you want to ge away with it). Using their credit card and forging their signature in a store is easy. I'm not saying I have ever done this, just adding my 2 cents.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    ScytheNoire, 24 Jan 2007 @ 4:22am

    sorry, law enforcement is busy...

    law enforcement is too busy to do anything about it. they are busting down doors to get people who make DJ mix discs to be bothered with something like peoples lives being destroyed because of identity theft.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Enrico Suarve, 24 Jan 2007 @ 4:57am

      Re: sorry, law enforcement is busy...

      And I thought they were out saving the children?

      #2 - yeah you'd have thought that they (the authorities I am sure she knows well) would have at least shipped an empty box to the address and then had words with whoever picked it up

      Seems fairly simple to me

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 24 Jan 2007 @ 9:49am

      Re: sorry, law enforcement is busy...

      yep busting people for playing poker, smoking pot, getting laid... Good thing you can't kill someone over the internet. The current Government does not understand the internet. Sure they can point and click but whats an IP address?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Jim, 24 Jan 2007 @ 5:21am

    Skimming

    And still one of the oldest but easiest is what is called skimming, Someone at a point of sale terminal scans the card through their reader first, then runs your actual charge through and they now have your number and they go on a spending spree. hard to pin point who did it, and they usually use it for stupid things.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 24 Jan 2007 @ 5:28am

    Compaines don't care either.

    Dell called one day to verify my identity on a credit order placed for delivery in another state. I advised them it was fraudulent and the cencelled the order, but Dell refused to release any information about the order, that would have helped me hunt down and kill those people.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    junglejim0745, 24 Jan 2007 @ 5:29am

    Identity theft protection

    Personally I think the credit card and other companies involved in identity theft should give all addresses used in an id theft to the person who had their identity stolen. Let them, if they want check out the person or persons who caused the mess for them, it is evident law enforcement has no problem sweeping them under the rug.

    I have never had my id stolen, but if I did I would love to have all the info used for them to steal it. At least maybe I could do my own investigation, find the morons who stole my id, and explain the right to bear arms to them. There are no consequences anymore for being a crook, its time we went back to what the U S Navy used to call Rocks and Shoals justice. Find them, kick their butt good and proper, and move on, there would be less repeats if we did.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 24 Jan 2007 @ 5:29am

    Corporations don't care either.

    A large retail computer manufacturer (d*e*l*l) called one day to verify my identity on a credit order placed for delivery in another state. I advised them it was fraudulent and the cencelled the order, but they refused to release any information about the order, that would have helped me hunt down and kill those people.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    misanthropic humanist, 24 Jan 2007 @ 5:42am

    I think this ones easy

    Allow me to explain what is going on here.

    Of course identity theft criminals could be brought to book. As others have pointed out, it's a very unsophisticated crime when you have goods shipped to an address from where you must pick them up.

    Also the victim of the crime is the banks and insurance companies. These are the same people who spend $10,000 on lawyers fees and debt collectors to get $10 back from an old lady. They have the resources to raise an army if they wanted to.

    So, law enforcement could stamp on this overnight. Why dont they?

    Does it add up? No.

    Is there a way to explain it?

    Yes.

    [tinfoil hat]
    America is being softened up and prepared for biometric ID cards/implants etc.
    [/tinfoil hat]

    If you want to sell security to people, first you have make them feel insecure. Tell them bad things will happen to them if they don't buy your measures. Let the criminals run wild and eventually the people will come to you begging for a cage to hide in.

    Based on the evidence, I think that's the long and short of it really.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Future Humanist, 24 Jan 2007 @ 6:40am

      Re: I think this ones easy

      This guy is on to something here.
      We (the consumer) no longer have to make the mistake. We have been victims by 'dumpster diving', crimnal 'Point Of Sale' cashiers, muggers, car thieves, house thieves all of them getting your identity by faults of our own. Maybe by not locking the door, throwing out a full sheet of paper, etc.
      Now the crooks just hack into a D-base and they have hundreds of thousands of numbers to play with.
      Law enforcement did ABSOLUTLEY NOTHING in my case. As a matter of fact, by the time the cops got to my house I MYSELF traced back the crooks IP addresses back to a SINGAPORE server. The cop was amazed that I could show him that. If the guy who responds to the crime can be amazed by that, THERE IS A LOT WRONG!
      Law enforcement doesn't care about you. Talk to one of your neighbors who is a cop. They think that they are above you (a civy, short for civillian) yet they live in your same community. Could you imagine the mindset of their bosses? The ones who decide on what cases the lower cops take. These guys are the bottom of a very huge pyramid, where at the top, they just dont give a fudge.
      They want to frighten you.
      They want you to be scared.
      They want you to look, but not see.
      They want you to believe all the hype.
      They want you to be submissive and tolerable.
      They want you to tune in to see the threat level color to frighten you.
      They are coming for you.
      They are coming for your sons and daughters to fight wars that have no meaning to us. Only for their aganda which is downright greed.

      PEOPLE! ALL PEOPLE!! HELLO!!
      Can we let this continue?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Rigger, 24 Jan 2007 @ 6:00am

    Maybe it's not a crime

    Too bad you can't type in a sarcastic tone :)

    I had my identity stolen a few years ago. Or at least a part of it. Anyway my bank told me they would take care of it. I guess that means they put the money back in my account changed my check card number and moved on. I never heard anything about it afterwards but it's my understanding that banks don't involve the police or go after these guys at all. I mean the person who stole my identity spent over 600 bucks at heredity.com. You'd think he/she would be pretty easy to catch. As long as the identity theves have no fear of being caught, they'll keep running thier scam like a business.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    lemonnfresh, 24 Jan 2007 @ 6:55am

    It's easier to commit the fraud then to report it

    In my case, they, the ID thief, used my wifes info to open up an account w/ Verizon. All it took for the ID thief to open up the account was a phone call to Verizon.
    We discovered the fraudulent account via a credit report easily enough but when it came to time to actually report the crime to the authorities we couldn't call it in as you would a normal theft. A call to the local PD was met w/ a "you need to come down and file an affidavit, because too many people file false identity theft report." Wtf?
    In summation, it was easier for the ID thief to use my wifes info than it was for us to even file a police report.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    lemonnfresh, 24 Jan 2007 @ 6:55am

    It's easier to commit the fraud then to report it

    In my case, they, the ID thief, used my wifes info to open up an account w/ Verizon. All it took for the ID thief to open up the account was a phone call to Verizon.
    We discovered the fraudulent account via a credit report easily enough but when it came to time to actually report the crime to the authorities we couldn't call it in as you would a normal theft. A call to the local PD was met w/ a "you need to come down and file an affidavit, because too many people file false identity theft report." Wtf?
    In summation, it was easier for the ID thief to use my wifes info than it was for us to even file a police report.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Wizard Prang, 24 Jan 2007 @ 9:41am

    Not identity theft

    Looks like common-or-garden Credit Card fraud to me.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    PhysicsGuy, 24 Jan 2007 @ 2:49pm

    sorry...

    but for everyone thinking that it's easy to catch someone committing credit fraud, whether online, over the phone, or in a store: it's not. sure, there are rather worthwhile schemes by certain credit card companies that are near fool proof for online and over the phone transactions, specifically only allowing predefined addresses to be shipped to. without such schemes however, it's as easy as sending the package to a vacant house or apartment and making sure it doesn't look like the house is for sale or for rent when ups shows up. if you're down for some social engineering, ship it to an actual person's house and stop over that night and tell them that you "called company x and they messed up the delivery, oops, can i have my package please?" ... fraudulent use of a credit card isn't known until after the fact, it is literally impossible to catch someone in the act, hence the difficulty in catching the criminals. oh, and an IP address?!!? ever hear of a public library?!?!?!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Report2System, 30 Jan 2007 @ 9:22pm

    Uhm... Pub Library? that sounds funny :P

    First of all, in most Pubs no matter if its a library or a internet caffe in most of the worlds countries(UE is for sure) you gotta give an ID to use that PC, so your personal informations will be recorded and i doubt anyone is using those to do any "dirty things".

    I can say its pretty easy to catch any Idenfity Thief, did it before and can do it anytime, BUT what most of you don't realise is that these big Feds corps cannot "catch" any of these folks if the money they should spend on it its higher then the actual damage, that's why most of the times my fellows thieves from countries like Romania,

    where i live most of the times if not all the times never gets caugh and not just because here the laws for cyber things are not known how to operate and for sure not because FBI doesn't care or because they can't do it, ITS JUST BECAUSE IT DOESNT WORTH IT. Ofcourse there are marges of demage, after an X limit they can start working on a case they can start hunting them down, but well if your case doesn't fix the limits... and the template for sure all you will have to do its clean yourself up and move on hopping it won't happen again.
    And yes there are "thieves" like someone said above ,whom they can't wait untill some cybercrooks some HIGH visible damage and then they jump into people's eyes with offerts to "protect them", while all they wants its their money knowing that now their pretty much vulnerable and in a need.

    Uhm i think i've said enough.... One more then, when you think its IMPOSSIBLE, follow the white wabbit, and as a HINT, the white wabbits "middle" name is AOL.


    Have a nice day,
    With respect.
    Report2System

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    |333173|3|_||3, 2 Mar 2007 @ 9:43pm

    Public Library

    In one of my ocal public libraries they did not ask for ID until recently, where there was a kid looking at smut, and they wanted to report him to his school. THey introdueced a rule which required ID, and then reported him to the school whose name was on the card when he used his student ID. I can think of plenty of places nearby where I am where I can use free internet access without real ID.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Eli3000, 10 Mar 2007 @ 11:11am

    Library are simple

    Most libraries and a lot of restaurants have free WI-FI in which you dont have to sign anything to use it. All you have to do is have a laptop that is anonymous and you would be good to go.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    jaja, 11 Jul 2007 @ 3:22am

    Public Library

    The public libraries out here in california let you use the internet for 15 minutes without an ID ... the one in Glendale lets you use it for up to an hour! with no ID ... not to count Cyber Cafes, all you need is $3 bills to use the internet for an Hour! and most of these internet cafes open 24hours!! ...

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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