We now regularly hear stories of hackers stealing large amounts of credit information that include social security numbers, phone numbers and credit card numbers. When it happens to stores like Target, those who have a Target credit card immediately wonder, “How will this effect me?”.
Last year, all taxpayers of South Carolina were notified that the State of South Carolina’s computers had been hacked. Information relating to those tax filings were subject to theft. South Carolina officials weren’t sure what it meant but just said to be on the lookout, and then offered a credit reporting service.
The Orlando Sentinel brings us another story relating to identify theft. This time, celebrities were targeted. A 19-year-old named Luis Flores Jr. worked at a local Florida call center. Armed with a flash drive, he gained access to credit card numbers and managed to use this information to steal money by having monies directed into an account where he had access to withdraw it.
Florida authorities claim that he tried to access the bank accounts of Bill Gates, Beyonce, Ashton Kutcher and even the Director of the U.S. Marshals Service. According to criminal records filed in Orlando Federal Court, someone called American Express claiming to be Kim Kardashian. The person gave the representative of Amex the reality star’s private information and then changed the primary Social Security number on the account to the number belonging to Flores. The mailing address was also changed to the Florida apartment address of Flores.
After that event, Flores then tried to gain access to the accounts of Tom Cruise, Vice President Joe Biden and First Lady Michelle Obama. American Express reported the suspicious activity to the Secret Service and agents began surveillance of Flores. Then, the agents learned that Flores’ mother was also involved in the fraud. They were both charged in the scheme and pled guilty in October.
These facts show that such schemes might not even be that sophisticated. It portrays a system where it is too easy to get personal information to commit fraud. It makes me feel as though there is little defense except to continually check credit accounts to see if suspicious activities are apparent or unknown credit or bank accounts have been opened.
DID YOU KNOW that John Hancock and Charles Thomson were the only people to sign the Declaration of Independence on July 4. 1776. The last signature occurred almost five years after that. (Thomas McKean)
And for pic o’ day:
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