Saturday, December 04, 2010

A new twist on dumpster diving

Here is a new one from San Antonio. It is a classic case study of how financial identities are stolen and an alarming reminder that we are all vulnerable no matter how careful we personally are with our confidential information.

"The white Cadillac Escalade scoured the San Antonio area for storage rooms of local hotels, looking for a jackpot.

During one of those trips, the vehicle idled downtown near the Shrine of Texas Liberty as its driver, a man known on the streets as “Hollywood,” instructed two accomplices to go into the Emily Morgan Hotel and retrieve some papers from a storage room on the 12th floor.

There, authorities say, Cody Quincy Jones and Randy Ray Flaharty found boxes of monthly credit card receipts from previous hotel guests. Box by box, they and others lifted them from the hotel, officials allege.

The receipts, officials say, helped the men manufacture counterfeit credit cards in document “boiler rooms” and card “chop shops,” which they then used to buy $300,000 worth of merchandise in Texas, Oklahoma and Louisiana"

How many times have I told you NOT TO BELIEVE IT when after a data loss or breach the company, university, government agency or whoever says - maybe a few weeks after the information loss is revealed - "there is no evidence that this personal information was used in any illegal way"?

Remember what I have always said - you wont know for months or years. Right?!

Well here is the info on the San Antonio case - "The cardholders never realized their credit card accounts had been compromised until months, even years, after they stayed at the hotel. But the damage made it hard for some of them to get loans and left lingering headaches in trying to straight things out, officials said.“When you look at these types of crimes, you may think the victim is the vendor or the credit card companies,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Tom McHugh said. “What we see is that the person whose identity is stolen, his problems may go on for years.”

Once again a reminder that we need to be defensive and monitor our credit ratings very clsely and constantly to correct these types of very damaging breaches.

Steffen Schmidt, PhD

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