Making a Report of the Identity Theft Crime

Identity theft is the act of stealing ones identity including the name, address telephone number, credit cards and mother maiden name. In most cases, it is not only the identity stolen. Identity thieves also steal properties secured over the accounts of the owner. This is serious case and is recognized as a fraud.

You can be a victim of this crime as there are no particular requirements for identity theft. Even small companies including college students are also victimized by this crime. However, you need to take the proper action once you are victimized. It is important for you to know who stole your personal information in your computer. You need to identify the thief who opened your new account without your permission.

It is very important for you to know the thief of your account as quickly as possible to avoid more problems to come. The law has been changed allowing anyone to review all their account or credit report annually without requiring payment for such. This law was established in 2005. You can have a free credit report when your previous credit is denied within 60 days.

With this monthly review, you will have the chance of identifying whether there has been a huge unauthorized use of your accounts. You will be able to identify them more quickly and implement an early intervention as well. There are many services that offer monitoring of your accounts and business that are affordable. What happened if your identity has already been stolen? You will need to report this matter. However, you will also need to take different systematic steps before you can report this particular crime.

Police look after the criminal side of the matter. You will still need to do much paperwork. You will need to complete forms and send them to all the companies and agencies that are responsible. Where are you going to report the crime? Do you have the knowledge that you need to fill out some forms for this kind of report? Where are you going to send them?

You may report it to the police. However, you will not receive that advance action to the crime. There are special agencies that entertain crime like this. It will be discussed on the later part of the article. You have to undergo many stages in order for you to clear your name. It can be the most difficult part, as you will be clearing a mess that you did not make. It will take time for you to clear name and battle with bureaucratic red tape.

There are many numbers of federal and state agencies that have jurisdiction, depending upon the type of crime committed. Federal Trade Commission has different agencies that can treat cases like identity theft issues, but you will still need to contact these agencies. It will take time to clear out all the errors made in your name that is why you need to start with the process as soon as you figure out that a crime has been committed with your identity. Start reporting the crime to the different agencies, companies, credit bureaus and investigators to process the clearing of your name and correcting the errors.

You will need to keep all the relevant files of all the contact and record all the relevant conversations and written correspondence. For you to have an easy to understand history of the relevant data, you may need to make a chart of all of these including the date, agency, contact person, company and summary of all the information discussed.

Keep originals and the send out copies. You must keep your originals safe. They will be relevant in the investigation of the crime. You can also send copies through certified mail, return receipt requested. In this way, you will have a record of the date the letters were received.

It may take time to clear your name but you will get there in the end. You will start a new life full of confidence that you will never encounter crimes like this anymore. Remember that patience and determination is the key to the resolution of this crime.

Secure Document Shredding is More Than Just Best Practice, It’s the Law

Identity theft, the nation’s fastest growing crime, occurs when someone uses your personal identifying information, like your name, social security number, or credit card number without your permission to commit fraud or other crimes. Approximately ten million Americans had their identity stolen in 2008. Proper document shredding is one of the easiest ways to help prevent identity theft. While it used to be best practice, it’s now the law due to growing identity theft crime stats.

According to Federal Trade Commission (FTC) 2008 complaint data, six forms of identity theft are most common. These include:
o Credit card fraud (20%), where someone acquires your credit card number and uses it to make a purchase;

o Government fraud (15%), which includes tax, social security and driver license fraud;

o Employment fraud (15%) occurs when someone without a valid social security number borrows someone else’s to obtain a job;

o Utilities fraud (13%) occurs when utilities are opened using the name of a child or someone who does not live at the residence;

o Bank fraud (11%), which includes check theft, changing the amount on a check and ATM pass code theft; and

o Loan fraud (4%), when someone applies for a loan in your name.

Every day printed, confidential and personal information is produced and passed on to businesses and strangers. Identity theft continues to rise every year while governments and regulators around the globe continue to introduce legislation to help protect businesses and individuals. Some of the legal efforts to make identity theft more difficult include:

Health Insurance Portability and Accessibility Act (HIPAA) puts very strict guidelines on the healthcare industry to protect sensitive patient information. Failure to comply with HIPAA results in heavy fines and potential loss of business.

The Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (GLBA) includes provisions to protect consumers’ personal financial information held by financial institutions, which comprises banks, securities firms, insurance companies, and companies providing other types of financial services and products to consumers. The GLBA requires banks to develop privacy notices and provide customers with the option of prohibiting the sharing of their confidential information with outside third parties. On July 1, 2001, the GLBA was amended with the requirement that financial institutions must have a comprehensive, written information security program which includes the proper destruction of
documents.

The Fair and Accurate Credit Transaction Act (FACTA) mandates that businesses properly dispose of documents containing consumer information. Businesses are required to take measures to destroy all consumer reports to the point that they will not be reconstructed or reread. Noncompliance of FACTA may result in fines, class action lawsuits and federal and state legal enforcement actions for violation of the law.

In recent years, most states enacted identity theft protection acts as well, which criminalize identity theft and impose obligations on businesses to protect the privacy of consumers’ information.

Federal and state regulations help to ensure consumer and business protection. Proper document shredding is a crucial step in abiding by these laws. Shredding and destroying information on paper used to be considered a best practice. Now it’s the law. Secure document shredding helps prevent identity theft and protects the integrity and liability of your business – saving business’ time, money and their reputation.

How You Can Play a Part in Preventing the Worker Identity Theft Crisis

Is identity theft a real threat? What can we do in order to protect ourselves from it? Should we just watch our statements, install anti-virus software, keep our social security card locked up, and hope we don’t become a victim? When it comes to a corporation, is there a threat as well? The answer to this question is “yes”. What kind of actions can be taken in order to keep both the company and employees safe from identity theft?

The Basics of Identity Theft

Identity theft is a crime that is done by stealing another person’s personal information in order to commit fraud. This crime is obvious in the example of credit cards that are stolen and used to purchase different items. But there are other forms of identity theft such as hacking into a corporation’s network in order to steal information, using someone’s social security number in order to obtain a job, using someone’s medical insurance in order to pay for the thief’s medical bills, taking out a loan in someone else’s name and much more.

Identity theft is a serious crime that has exploded since the late 1990s. Although it remains a serious issue, the rate in which the crime has been increasing has leveled off some over the past couple of years with between nine and ten million people becoming victims per year. And corporate data theft statistics show that businesses just like personal need to have protection in place to protect the identities of their employees. Identity thieves continue to use more advanced methods of theft increasing the cost to any business that becomes a victim of this crime.

The reason that identity theft has been a rising crime over the past couple of decades is due to the age of technology. Technology is consistently advancing and with these advancements come more threats of becoming a victim of identity theft. Think of all of the different places where your personal and sometimes financial information is stored, such as with your cable and cellphone companies, along with your financial institution, and any shopping that you do online. Then think about all of the accounts that you have online, such as Google, Yahoo, PayPal, and more.

Your employer also has all of your personal information on file, including your social security number, and possibly bank information for your check to get direct deposited. All of the accounts and passwords that you have in order to get into the systems that you use at work. If your company does any outsourcing of work, the risk for information to be stolen from these networks increases.

As you continue to think about all of the uses you have for the Internet, along with all of the uses your employer has, it can be a little scary. If any of this information is stolen online or if your employer’s network is hacked and your information is taken, there are huge risks that you will have someone using your information to commit fraud in numerous ways.

Identity theft can be much more than having your credit card stolen. It can be something that turns your entire life upside down. You will months and even years of your life trying to get it under control. As soon as you fix one thing, another can pop up. If your identity is ever stolen, you will need to keep in mind that it can easily be sold over and over again making your problems a lifelong issue.

Is Disaster Just Waiting to Happen?

Recently there were three legal changes that were pretty major that caused an increase in the cost of corporate data theft.

1. Provisions have been made to the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act or FACTA that imposed penalties on an employer that did not protect their employees information with the result being employee identity data being lost. The employer could pay civil fines of $1,000 for each employee with additional federal fines. Some states have higher fines as well.

2. Several court cases have also found that employers need to take extra measures in order to keep employee information safe. Courts have awarded the cost of damages to employees whose information was stolen.

3. Several states have had laws passed making it mandatory for companies to inform the consumers of data that has been lost.

The task of keeping data containing employee information secure is becoming more and more difficult. With corporations and businesses outsourcing more of their work, such as recruiting, background checks, payroll, testing, benefit programs, and even all of HR, it makes it more difficult to manage the exposure of employee information. The same goes with outsourcing IT, how are companies going to manage the data when it is being outsourced. With virtual networks and remote offices being the new trend, it makes it difficult to control the way the data flows and to ensure that configurations are standard. How can you stop someone from burning employee information to a CD while at home? All of the regulations and legislation that has been put in place makes things even more complex.

What company can say that they actually understand everything that has been put in place? The result of all of these things are more data lost, and more issues trying to keep everything secure, and more identity theft. All of this revolves around employees with HR and IT trying to keep your information safe.

The good news is that this is a problem that people are aware of and are looking for. Everyone from the owner of a company on down the chain of command are aware of the issues that can come with the theft of employee information.

The Journey Through Identity Theft

It is important for all companies and corporations to have a permanent initiative to prevent identity theft. A program needs to be set up for this purpose and there needs to be someone that manages it. The management of the program needs to be consistently completed. Examine the risks that the company faces, use leadership skills, and continue to manage the program.

Primary Objectives For Identity Theft Program

1. Do everything you can to prevent identity theft.
2. Minimize the company’s liability for identity theft.
3. Respond quickly and effectively to any incidents.

Critical Areas and Key Factors for Success in Preventing Identity Theft

* Follow the path that the processes flow along with its data. Make sure you are aware of where any personal information goes and the path it takes to get there. In order to test the efficiency of your program and safe-guards, you could hire someone to try and hack into the system to get to the personal information.

* Put restrictions in place to only allow certain people access. This will help eliminate the exposure. Treat this data as if it were your own treasure. Be sure you have unique and strong passwords, training and security agreements for employees, and access audits.

* Ensure your employees are trained on the importance of protecting this information. They should be informed that it is personal data and is not something that should be copied. Inform them of the severity of distributing or selling this data to anyone.

* Create policies that need to be followed by anyone that handles this information. This goes for any external people as well.

Minimize Your Company’s Liability

* Do everything you can think of to safeguard this personal data.

* Have controls in place to protect the data.

* Document the steps within the program and the controls that have been put in place.

* Measure the success you have had with your program.

Respond Quickly and Effectively to Any Incidents

* Clear communication that is proactive, not only to your employees but to the public after.

* Explain in the communication what had happened, that a group has been put together to work through it, a procedure to “lock-down” the data has been put in place as the situation is investigated. Also explain that any employee that was affected will be compensated and given assistance in the recovery process. Services will be put in place to monitor the situation for any affected employee.

* Everything that you state to the employees and public must be true and followed through with.

* A task force must be put in place prior to any incident. They will be responsible for putting the lock-down in place.

* Have a drafted letter of communication written in advance for quick communication.

* Make sure investigative services are qualified.

* Expert resources for assistance in recovery and monitoring services should be researched and selected prior to any incident.

* Practice incidents should be done to ensure that the response can be done quickly and effectively.

* A response to an incident should be completed within 48 hours of it happening.

A quick and effective response to an incident can be beneficial to your company and the reputation of it along with having employees that are satisfied.

Identity theft is not something that just started to happen. It began because of the way that the world is moving. Technology is growing and becoming a more important piece of everyone’s lives. With this comes the risks that thieves will use this expanding technology to steal the information they want. A company can help protect their employees by being prepared for anything, including a potential incident.

Understanding Identity Theft Crimes

Technology has changed the nature of crime in Miami over the past few decades. For example, according to the Miami FBI chief, identity theft has grown exponentially in recent years. Considering the increased prevalence of these crimes, one can expect many more Miami residents to face ID theft related charges than ever before.

Miami Leading the Nation in ID Theft

Miami has the highest rate of identity theft of any metropolitan area in the nation. In 2012, there were over 35,000 complaints about ID theft, which doubled from 2011, according to the Federal Trade Commission. The same year there were over 12 million reported incidents of identity theft across the United States. The number of incidents of identity theft is predicted to continue to rise in Florida. The state also leads the nation in the number of theft of government benefits, including theft of tax returns. There were 69,000 reported complaints of theft of government benefits in 2012.

Observers believe that Florida is a hot-bed for these crimes because of the demographics of the state. The large elderly population and the high number of individuals on Medicare make area residents a prime target for these offenses.

Identity Theft Charges in Miami

Local residents may face any number of different criminal charges stemming from identity theft. In virtually all of the cases, however, the potential penalties for conviction are stiff. Some of the most common ID theft related crimes include:

– Obtaining Property by False Pretense – Otherwise known as “larceny,” this crime refers to using another’s identification to obtain property. Filling out information on applications using another’s information can lead to these charges.

– Criminal Use of Personal Identification Information – A similar crime, the state statute specifically lists the identifying information that can lead to these charges, including using another’s name, date of birth, driver licenses number, or even mother’s maiden name. There are different degrees of this crime, with more severe penalties when the information is used to obtain large amount of property or involves a larger numbers of people.

Defending Against ID Theft Charges

Considering the recognition of the Miami area as a problematic spot for these crimes, state and federal officials will undoubtedly be cracking down on suspected ID thieves. Unfortunately, lawmakers often overreach when dealing with suspected criminals–violating constitutional rights and otherwise failing to treat suspects fairly. At other times, innocent parties can be arrested. It is not uncommon to make mistakes on applications or not know when using information from others breaks the law.

For these reasons, if you or someone you know is facing ID theft charges, be sure to seek out experienced legal help immediately. An attorney can analyze the specifics of your case to determine if authorities acted properly when collecting evidence against you. If so, the information obtained may not be used against you. At other times, advocates can work with prosecutors to obtain favorable plea bargains to avoid the harsher penalties and allow you to move on with you life as quickly as possible.

The Fight Against Computer Crime

Computer technology has attracted its fair share of criminal activities from those looking to exploit and capitalise on people’s reliance on the computer to run their daily lives. After all, author Jolly John singled Singapore out for being ‘the most network-ready country’, signifying both our dependence on new-age technology and the capabilities of the talent we have. However, there are dire consequences to be dealt with should the intentions of those with the ability to manipulate the systems deviate to malice.

In their efforts to safeguard against computer crime, the Singapore Government has set up various measures through a multi-pronged approach. The first step is to keep up governing laws with the fast changing developments of technology and the opportunities for dismeanour it presents by passing new legislation. Singapore passed the Computer Misuse Act in 1993, which has since been amended four times.

The Computer Misuse Act punishes perpetrators of computer crime, rather than cyber crime. Computer crime refers to crimes against a computer through acts that attack a computer system. The Act covers unauthorised access to a computer, or computer material without authorisation, modifying the contents of a computer without authorisation, obtaining or intercepting any computer service or function, interfering with or obstructing the lawful use of a computer, impeding or preventing access to or impairing the usefulness or effectiveness of any computer program or data, or disclosing a password, access code, or other means of gaining access to a program or data. To take just the first example, any person who uses a computer to secure access to another computer without authorization shall be guilty of an offence.

On the other hand, the existing Penal Code governs cyber crime, which is traditional crime like fraud, theft or extortion abetted through the computer. As opposed to carrying out crime against a computer, perpetrators carry out their illegal acts through the computer.

Through the Computer Misuse Act, the law punishes and deters computer criminals by meting out harsh penalties including imprisonment and fines. Crimes targeting the bedrock of our nation’s critical industries like banking and finance, communications or transportation and public services warrants the harshest punishment – a fine up to $100,000 and/or imprisonment up to 20 years. It is also noteworthy that a Court can order compensation to be paid by the offender for any damage that is caused, and such compensation which is ordered does not prevent or restrict a civil claim for damages which exceeds the compensation amount.

The next step it has taken is to set up agencies that ensure the enforcement of these laws. These specialised agencies include the Singapore Computer Emergency Response Team, Computer Crimes Branch of the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) and Computer Forensics Branch of the Singapore Police.

Operated by professionally-trained tech experts, they can exercise their power with extra-territorial jurisdiction. They are trained in all aspects of computer investigation, one of which is the emerging field of computer forensics. This intricate process of investigation enables the retrieval of consequential data from computers, computer networks, data storage media and related equipment that may contain evidence which can be presented in court. They first analyse the data and meticulously document and preserve the evidence to be presented before court. This operation requires highly trained professionals as it involves delicate procedures where a single wrong move can destroy or modify the evidence.

If one suspects a breach but don’t want to bring it directly to the authorities, there is the option of approaching private forensic investigators like Adroit Data Recovery Centre (ADRC). Due to the increase in violations of the Computer Misuse Act, ADRC has set up a forensic investigation department to deal with the influx of such investigative requests.

With more than 10 years of experience in the data recovery market, ADRC is well equipped with certified computer forensic experts who are capable of securing and documenting digital evidence with full audit trail suitable for court submission and performing data recovery under all adverse situations. They also have their own class 100 clean laboratory. Without having to move evidence around, this minimizes the risk of evidence being contaminated.
Computer users should also adopt preventive measures to safeguard their computers against computer crime, which is a very real threat that has the potential to be even more damaging given our reliance on computers these days.
Adroit Data Recovery Centre (ADRC) Pte Ltd is South East Asia’s leading data recovery centre equipped with the first Class 100 clean laboratory in Singapore. It has an un-paralleled capability and the setup to acquire and collect the digital evidence from all kinds of working or damaged media while observing the strictest process of computer forensic investigation.

The team of qualified forensic experts is able to provide court-ready reporting of digital evidence for civil and criminal litigation through the installation of rigorous forensic methodologies in order to identify, acquire, preserve, analyze and document digital data (electronically stored information) for use as evidence in court or other legal or administrative proceedings.