Serial identity thief pleads guilty, gets 10 years Crimes & Incidents, posted by Editor, Palo Alto Online, on Mar 29, 2012 at 4:04 pm
A 28-year-old man who went on an identity-theft crime spree in Santa Clara County, including in Palo Alto, pleaded guilty on March 22 to numerous criminal counts, the Santa Clara County District Attorney's Office announced Thursday, March 29.
Read the full story here Web Link posted Thursday, March 29, 2012, 3:52 PM
Posted by neighbor, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on Mar 30, 2012 at 3:01 pm
Seems like a confirmed criminal. The time in prison doesn't seem all that much, unless he is rehabilitated in some fashion. Seems like he will get out and go back to this, just maybe be a litte more sophisticated in his criminal actions to try to evade the law?!
I am very careful and knowledgeable, shred everything with personally identifying info, etc., yet I had partial identity theft twice and without getting into the entire stories, I assure you these were horrible experiences that greatly inconvenienced me.
We normal, NON-criminal citizens are now forced to be even more vigilant - and constantly check our online bank accounts for accuracy and to ensure no breach or issue has occurred. The burden is on normal folks. I do not have full confidence in merchants and vendors, banks, etc. that hold our private info.
The idea that your credit card company will reimburese you, etc.,is minimal compared to the horror of discovering (on eve of travel, for example) that your card is SHUT DOWN and your bank did NOT phone you -- you are not at fault, but discovered this by logging in online and checking up on things and then having to race to try to clear things up. Then you need to request a new card and get it expressed to you (at YOUR expense) -- oh, don't let me get started -- this was the easier of the cases by far.
There was just some brief news item on the radio breezily stating that thousands - millions? of people who have MasterCard or Visa cards may have had their personal info "compromised" and possibly misused or stolen. Some intermediary-type-financial-processing vendor was named -- didn't recognize the name -- We need much better security and accountability from vendors at all levels.
Don't underestimate how scary and horrible this experience (being a victim) is unless you have experienced it.
Posted by Who-R-U?, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on Mar 30, 2012 at 4:28 pm
> update: "Global Payments, which processes payments, discovered
> the breach" (just on the radio news) -- of the MasterCard and
> Visa card customers and their info --
Not much has been revealed about this incident, and much information probably won't be released either. This makes it frustrating for all, since there is no easy way for the public to understand how these breaches occur, or if there is any way to ever secure data.
One straightforward thing that could make things safer is to have a federal law passed that mandates that all customer information would have to be stored in an encrypted format. At a minimum, people breaking into computers would not be able to do anything meaningful with personal data, since there were be nothing that could be used unless they also managed to steal the encryption code/keys too.
Unfortunately, Congress has never expressed much interest in data breaches. They have outlawed unapproved computer access--but those laws don't seem to stop people from entering, and stealing, data with little consequence.
Corporations might take machines with customer data off of the Internet (or any other data network access). But this is not something that Congress would ever likely require.
Congress could also increase the limit of liability that people could sue for, if their information was lost/breached/given away/etc.
Solutions start with our elected representatives, for increasing personal information in a systemic way.
Posted by dean, a resident of the Midtown neighborhood, on Mar 30, 2012 at 4:42 pm
Again, a former mid-towner speaking here...
Two simple words here LIFE LOCK. It's the best $15 a month you'll ever spend, and these guys are vigilant with email alerts.
Prepaid Legal $12a month is a close second (I started mine in 1984---it's more now I think).
As in all of life, keeping a low profile is always best.
My wife and I have a series of credit cards with low limits ($1,000 to $2,000) which we pay off monthly and monitor.
These bad guys (This guy is pictured on my screen BTW)I'm certain are looking for high credit limits to hit first and often.
I know from my overseas travel back in the 1970s that travel in Europe requires a lot of credit (card line of credit) or cash so to pay for the large amounts we spent we took travellers checks denominated in the country(s) we were to visit. No fees for changing currency either while there.
I monitor my 2 checking accounts every day.I figure everyone should.
Yes, I have been a victim. I had a check book stolen from my car but the credit union covered every single bad check. I was out a bit of heartache/headaches.
Now, I never carry more than one check in my wallet out of the house. Never a checkbook. Obviously, 3 or 4 is fine if one is going on a spending spree.
Also, we only have our first initials and last names on the checks now. No address or phone. Fine for paying bills. No problem at local merchants I know personally.
Also, NEVER NEVER write your full credit card number on any check you send in to pay a credit card. LAST 4 digits are plenty! The CC companies can easily ID us, but those who handle the check along the way have no idea what are full numbers are.
Fold every check in half that you mail. People look through to see if a check is worth stealing.
Before the amount of the check (line two) write (as example)----ONLY one hundred dollars. Too hard to alter and not worth the trouble.
Posted by Nayeli, a resident of the Midtown neighborhood, on Mar 30, 2012 at 8:53 pm
California really needs to pass an anti-dumpster diving law. Most states have laws that protect people from having their trash sifted by deviant identity thieves.
One person told me that California doesn't have extensive dumper diving laws simply because of certain "green police" who are can search through your trash in certain municipalities. Does anyone know if this is true?