Articles Posted in Identity Theft

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Tens of billions of dollars are being spent each year by companies attempting to keep their customers’ information secret as well as the money being paid back to consumers whose identities and funds have been taken by cyber crime.

It has become a giant problem in this country and worldwide as thieves have taken to computer networks and mobile phone applications to steal money, rather than stealing purses and breaking into people’s homes. Identity theft in New York leaves victims in a wake or frustration and often leads to false charges when law enforcement officers or civil authorities come calling. Both require legal representation.
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According to the ABC News article, obvious spam e-mails aren’t the only way cyber thieves are striking. They are creating fake applications and making them look realistic, so when they are downloaded, the users have free rein inside your computer.

In some cases, obtaining a person’s phone number allows crooksters to place small charges on the user’s monthly bill. Most consumers likely won’t notice such a small charge or if they do, they may not think it worthwhile to notify customer service and put up the battle that it likely will require.

The article states that for people who have online “credits” in websites, hackers can go after those, too. If each “credit” is redeemable online for cash they have value to hackers. Stealing these credits can also seem trivial to users, but on a large scale, they can mean big bucks for hackers. And they can mean your online identity has been breached, which can result in serious consequences.

Spam is also still a big hit for hackers. Clicking on outrageous headlines that bring up videos or websites that seem fishy can give cyber thieves access to your computer, so they can search for personal information.

Facebook has also been targeted. When users “like” an application, it requires certain information be accessed, such as e-mail accounts, phone numbers, status updates and other information. When phony applications are created on Facebook, they can be used to store this information with the intent of stealing passwords or gaining more access to a person’s life.

While there’s no doubting that these crimes are happening on a daily basis, tracking down the real culprits can be very difficult. This can lead to false arrests and poor justice. While this is certainly a big problem, a bigger problem is if the wrong people are arrested. Proving who is behind these attacks, which are typically hidden with fake IP addresses, usernames and performed with untrackable networks, can be difficult.

This sometimes leads to police putting the wrong person in handcuffs and the victims getting no justice at all. Getting reimbursed for cyber crimes can take a long time, but consulting with an experienced lawyer can speed up the process and ensure that your rights are protected.
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A former JPMorgan Chase & Co. business banker recently pleaded guilty in New York state Supreme Court to grand larceny, identity theft, falsifying business records, forgery and scheme to defraud after stealing more than $1.1 million from the bank and its customers, Bloomberg reports.

Years ago, the only identity theft people had to worry about was if a pickpocket stole a person’s purse or wallet and began using their credit cards to make illegal purchases. Identity theft in New York and throughout the country is now tied to physical theft as well as internet-based crimes. Internet-based crimes now account for a large portion of thefts in the United States as well as abroad.
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Hao “Howie” Wang, 28, of Newark, New Jersey, pleaded guilty recently in New York state Supreme Court to grand larceny, identity theft, falsifying business records, forgery and scheme to defraud, the office of District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr. said in a statement, according to Bloomberg.

He was arrested in November and indicted in December. He worked at a retail branch on Park Avenue from 2007 to 2008. Prosecutors allege his scheme lasted about a year.

In one instance, prosecutors said, he stole a person’s identity without their knowledge to obtain a $100,000 loan by falsifying records. The government alleged he stole hundreds of thousands of dollars and transferred money to offshore accounts. He could have faced up to 25 years in prison, but will be sentenced to two to six years in prison plus restitution.

According to the Internet Crime Complaint Center, there were more than 303,000 internet-based criminal complaints in 2010. That was down from 336,600 in 2009, the all-time high.

New York ranked third in the nation behind California and Florida regarding perpetrators from the same state as the complainant with 29.4 percent. According to the center, New York made up 5.8 percent of the complaints of internet-based crime, which ranks it fourth in the nation.

According to the agency’s annual report for New York, non-delivery of merchandise was the number one complaint made by New Yorkers in 2010:

Non-delivery of merchandise: 20.1%
Identity Theft: 18.2%
Auction Fraud: 12.9%
Credit Card Theft: 7.6%
Miscellaneous Fraud: 6.4%
Computer Crimes: 4.9%
Overpayment Fraud: 4.2%
Advanced Fee Fraud: 3.8%
SPAM: 3.4%
Illegal Business: 2.4%

The majority of the monetary loss ranged from $1,000 to $4,999 and lower. Only 9.9 percent of the complaints resulted in losses above $10,000. The top dollar complaint, according to the report, was $245,000, while the reported loss exceeded $26 million.

Having one’s identity stolen can be a painful reminder that a person must take all precautions to ensure their Social Security Number and financial information is secretly guarded at all times. While online business can be convenient, consumers should take special care to make sure they protect their interests. And victims should consider consulting with a Great Neck identity theft lawyer if they wish to be reimbursed or seek payment for losses.
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Citigroup customers, whose accounts were hacked last month, weren’t told for three weeks that the breach had occurred, CNN reports.

New York City Identity theft has become an increasingly popular crime in our society as the Internet has become so available and also because companies have used it to store so much critical data. Consumer Lawyers have seen how frustrating and devastating identity theft can be for victims. If you need help putting the pieces back together after you’ve been victimized, contact our identity theft lawyers today.
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The Wall Street Journal reported that Citigroup didn’t immediately notify customers because it was first conducting an internal investigation. On June 9, the company announced it discovered a security breach where a hacker accessed more than 200,000 accounts. That’s about 1 percent of the 21 million credit card accounts in North America, CNN reports.

Citigroup is among several large companies that have experienced online breaches in the last few months. Lockheed Martin was the victim of cyber attacks, as was Sony in April and May, which affected several of its gaming systems and compromised more than 100 million user accounts, including credit card information, Bloomberg reported. Sony has come under fire lately because hacker groups have relentlessly attacked the company’s servers to its PlayStation Network as well as some of its other sites. With millions of people’s account information, customers have become increasingly upset that their information was compromised and that it has taken weeks for Sony to restore and secure its servers.

According to the Federal Trade Commission, there were 250,852 identity theft complaints in 2010, comprising 19 percent of the 1.3 million consumer complaints each year. To put that into perspective, there were 86,250 complaints of identity theft in 2001. That’s a 190 percent increase in 9 years.

There’s no doubt that the increased popularity in the Internet is a factor in the increase. But a person’s identity can be stolen in other ways, too.

  • Rifling through a person’s trash to steal mail that could contain personal information
  • Using electronic means to steal a credit or debit card number during a legitimate purchase
  • Using spam email to act as your bank and attempt to get your information, called phishing
  • Fraudulently changing your address to divert mail
  • Gaining access to your records illegally
  • Stealing purses or wallets to obtain personal information

It’s easier than ever for this type of fraud to occur, so if you are the victim of identity theft, call today. Our lawyers can help you safeguard your assets and stop any potential long-term ill effects to your credit and peace of mind. Take action to protect your hard-earned reputation and identity. Everyone is at risk for this life-altering crime, so make sure you are in the best hands if you are betrayed.
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The possibility of identity theft has become more and more common with the explosive growth of social networking sites. Money Talks News and other news providers are handing out endless amounts of advice to social networking users on how to effectively protect your identity online. It is important to protect your personal information from hackers looking to steal identities in New York and elsewhere around the world.

Our New York identity theft attorneys urge you to protect your personal information, as you would any other valuable possession. It may be easier than you think for hackers to get their hands on your personal information, which can create a nightmare of unauthorized purchases, credit card transactions and other financial crimes.
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Internet users often use networking sites as a chance to network with large groups of people, most strangers, instead of keeping within their circle of friends. By doing so, you are opening the virtual doors to your personal information.

ID Analytics recently conducted a study among internet users. The results show that we’re leaving ourselves entirely too vulnerable and unarmed in the hands of hackers:

-Many social networking users will accept invites from nearly anyone; men are more than twice as likely to hit that accept button.

-It’s estimated that nearly 13 million users, 18-years-old and older, will accept any connection request from a member of the opposite sex, even if they do not know the person requesting connection.

-It is estimated that 5 percent of adults in the United States will accept a request from anyone, again, regardless if they know them or not.

When using these popular networking sites, it is important to follow a few basic rules to help prevent identity theft:

-When you’re spring cleaning your house, try spring cleaning your computer. You’d be surprised by how much personal information is readily available to a hacker.

-Remember, there is no prize for having the most friends on Facebook or MySpace. You’re not going to win some sort of cyber popularity contest. Confirming a friend request from a complete stranger is similar to picking up a hitch-hiker; each come with their own risks.

-Double check your privacy settings. Step-by-step guidelines, posted by nearly every news source, are available to help you keep you information secure.

Online thieves can wreak havoc on your financial reputation by hacking into credit card accounts, bank accounts, and can have virtually any document altered to their benefit. Those who have been victimized by identity theft should consult an attorney right away. Reclaiming your life can be a long and complex process. Failure to assert your rights can leave you liable for thousands of dollars in damages.
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