Posted on July 10th, 2008 No comments
A state grand jury has indicted a former employee of the Commerce Bank branch in Mount Laurel on charges she provided personal information of bank customers to individuals who then stole the customers’ identities.
Jennifer Mullner, 22, of Hammonton, a former loan services representative at the bank branch; her boyfriend, William Roman, 21, of Galloway; and Anthony Wood, also known as Anthony Bickerstaff, 44, of Philadelphia, were each charged with conspiracy, computer criminal activity and identity theft, which are second-degree offenses.
The indictment alleges that between March 1 and Oct. 30, 2007, Mullner accessed at least 240 bank documents containing customer information, including loan information and account numbers, and unlawfully provided the information to Wood.
Mullner is also accused of providing documents to Roman on two occasions, who then forwarded the information to Wood, according to the indictment. Authorities say Roman was paid $250 for his involvement.
The indictment said the defendants stole the identities of at least five victims and obtained more than $100,000 in merchandise and services.
New Jersey State Police arrested Wood on Feb. 26. He was released from Burlington County Jail on $100,000 bail.
By MELISSA HAYES (Burlington County Times)
Posted on May 2nd, 2008 No comments
LONDON (Reuters) – Financial services companies must change their attitude to security to curb the rise in identity fraud, the Financial Services Authority says.
The FSA issued the warning following a review of data security systems and controls at 39 firms including banks, building societies, insurance companies and financial advisers.
Although it found examples of good practice across the industry, it said firms underestimated the risk of data loss and fraud to their businesses — especially to their customers.
One company has been referred to the FSA’s enforcement division.
The call comes just days after Information Commissioner Richard Thomas said companies and government departments had suffered an “inexcusable number” of security breaches since the loss of millions of personal details last year.
Thomas said he had been told of 94 data breaches since November, with two-thirds from the public sector and the rest from the private sector. Half of the commercial breaches were from financial institutions.
Prime Minister Gordon Brown ordered an urgent review after HM Revenue and Customs said it had lost data on 25 million people, exposing them to the risk of identity theft and fraud.
The FSA said that, on occasions of significant data loss, firms seemed more concerned about adverse media coverage than on being open and transparent with their customers.
Speaking at the body’s annual conference on financial crime, Philip Robinson, its director of financial crime and intelligence, said: “It is worrying that, despite increased public awareness of the impact that identity theft can have on customers, many firms are still not taking this risk seriously.
“Customers have a right to be confident that firms are doing everything reasonably possible to keep their personal and financial details safe.”
Posted on April 17th, 2008 No comments
If identity thieves were to disregard your financial accounts and instead target your medical information, your first thought might well be, “Take my medical identity. Please.” What nut would want your high cholesterol, trick knee, and family history of Alzheimer’s? The answer is simple: one without health insurance who needs surgery or prescription drugs, or someone who sees a medical ID as the open sesame that will allow him or her to collect millions in false medical claims. These thieves don’t actually want your medical ailments, of course, but by pretending to be you they can get what they’re really after. Untangling the mess is hard: Unlike financial identity theft, there’s no straightforward process for challenging false medical claims or correcting inaccurate medical records. For victims, the result can be thousands in unpaid charges, damaged credit, and bogus, possibly dangerous details cluttering up their medical records for years to come.(Getty Images)
Medical identity theft currently accounts for just 3 percent of identity theft crimes, or 249,000 of the estimated 8.3 million people who had their identities lifted in 2005, according to the Federal Trade Commission. But as the push toward electronic medical records gains momentum, privacy experts worry those numbers may grow substantially. They’re concerned that as doctors and hospitals switch from paper records to EMRs, as they’re called, it may become easier for people to gain unauthorized access to sensitive patient information on a large scale. In addition, Microsoft, Revolution Health, and, just this week, Google have announced they’re developing services that will allow consumers to store their health information online. Consumers may not even know their records have been compromised. In January, a new law took effect in California that requires providers to let consumers know if their medical information has been “breached.” But only a handful of other states spell out notification requirements regarding unauthorized release of patient medical data. In contrast, most states have so-called breach laws that address accidental disclosures of financial information; these may also apply to medical data in certain instances. This month, Democratic Reps. Ed Markey of Massachusetts and Rahm Emanuel of Illinois, with support from several privacy groups and Microsoft, introduced a bill that would strengthen safeguards protecting access to consumers’ medical information and make it a federal requirement to notify patients if their healthcare data get exposed.