Sunday, May 15, 2005

Identity Theft at Investigative Agency

A "Fraudster" recently got into an investigative firm's databases and stole 9,000 identities. The customers of this firm included law enforcement, private investigators, collection agencies and insurance companies. The "Fraudster" posed as a customer (professional investment advisor), claiming that information was needed to perform due diligence on investors. The company "Merlin Information Services" was tipped by Federal Agents, who were watching someone, described as a "criminal".

Thus far, none of the identities have been compromised (used in identity theft schemes). Merlin is buying a $50,000.00 "Identity Theft" insurance policy for each one of the people and is providing free "credit monitoring" for them.

It appears that identities were taken from all over, with California showing up with the highest number stolen.

According to a Forbes article, Identity Theft cost U.S. citizens 52.6. billion last year. Quoting the FTC, the amount of occurrences doubled last year. This probably doesn't take into account cases that were not reported and doesn't include the rest of the world.

This illustrates that the world of fraud and identity theft is indeed a murky one. The criminals are getting both smarter and bolder by the day. The only way to stay ahead of them is become smarter than they are through (education and communication).