IDENTITY THEFT Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Southern California High Tech Task Force Identity Theft Detail Detective Robert Benoit Detective Trent Thurber
SOUTHERN CA HIGH TECH TASK FORCE/ID THEFT Unit comprised of Los Angeles Sheriff’s Detectives, United States Secret Service, FBI Agents, ICE Agents, Social Security Investigators, US Postal Inspectors, DMV Investigators, District Attorneys, State Department, Consumer Affairs, City Attorney, State Attorney General, Crime Analyst, Reserve Deputy, Civilian Volunteers
Definition Identity Theft • The illegal use of personal identifying information (name, social security number, date of birth, drivers license, etc.) to commit financial fraud. • The illegal use of your personal information when caught committing illegal acts (traffic violations, misdemeanors, or felonies).
Examples • A thief gains access to your information and raids your bank accounts, uses your credit, takes out new loans or more credit, and/or collects benefits in your name. • A thief has used your information when arrested for a criminal offense. He/She does not go to court, a warrant is issued in your name and YOU GO TO JAIL!
This Crime Affects Everyone • It can strike anyone, anywhere, at any time and possibly go on for years. • The crime does not adhere to geographic or socio-economic boundaries. • This crime devastates the victim. ~ There is a looming specter of continued financial devastation and/or incarceration.
Solutions to Jurisdictional and Other Problems State of California Legislation • Penal Code section 530.5 Any Unlawful Use of Identifiers • Penal Code section 530.6 Mandated Reporting Victim’s Residence • Penal Code section 530.5(d) Any person who possess personal identifiers
LEGISLATION • FCRA of 1996 • Free credit reports for fraud victims • California Assembly Bill 156 (1997) • Makes identity theft a crime • Requires credit bureaus block disputed credit information when provided a valid law enforcement report. • Must send notice of block to data furnishers. • Limits instant credit transactions
LEGISLATION • California Senate Bill 168 (2001) • Requires credit bureaus to post security alerts. • Gives consumers the right to freeze their credit file. • Freeze is free with law enforcement report. Otherwise reasonable fee may be charged. • California Assembly Bill 655 (2001) • Requires that a DMV report be treated as a law enforcement report. • Requires business to investigate security alerts. • Requires credit issuers to investigate address discrepancies.
LEGISLATION • California Senate Bill 1386 (2002) • Requires businesses to notify California consumers when their records are compromised. • California Senate Bill 1239 (2002) • Requires credit bureaus to notify consumers of their rights under AB156 and SB168. • Gives ID theft victims 12 free reports for one year
LEGISLATION • Fair and Accurate Transactions Act, FACT ACT 2004 - Imposes new id theft protections - One free credit report annually from every credit agency - New restrictions on sharing information
Identity Theft Reports to The Federal Trade Commission Federal Trade Commission Identity Theft Report January 2007
FACTS FEDERAL TRADE COMMISSION • Received 246,000 ID Theft complaints in 2006 (FBI estimates the actual count closer to 10,000,000 over the last 3 years) • Compared to 161,000 complaints in 2002 and 96,100 complaints in 2001 • Out of 100,00 people in CA, 90.7 are ID Theft Victims • 31,000 victims daily • 43% of fraud complaints were for ID Theft
Identity Theft Reports to LASD As of December 31, 2007 (LARCIS)
ID THEFT TASK FORCE STATS 2004 2005 2006 2007 SEARCH WARRANTS: 225 186 147 183 ARREST WARRANTS: 42 58 47 35 ARRESTS: 101 112 78 92 CASES FILED: 118 223 101 73 PROPERTY REC: $1,074,400 $4,818,483 $3,542,114 $4,253,564 LOSS: $4,161,520 $6,817,376 $7,547,285 $53,254,912 PREVENTABLE LOSS: $17,470,993 $8,781,681 $7,499,481 $54,894,325 **Since 1999 there have been 44,204 Identity Theft reports filed with the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department.
Why is It Happening? • Credit cards are more difficult to alter • It is easier to steal identities, valid cardholder or good customer information • Third strike suspects want to avoid detection and apprehension • This crime is less enforced and punishment is minimal time in custody or probation • Greed/Challenge • IT IS JUST TOO EASY...
How It Can Happen • Business and personal • Employee theft • Mail theft and redirection • Trash, (Dumpster Diving) • On-line theft, Phishing • Service employees (Both business and home such as care takers, etc.)
Fraudulent I.D. via Computer Your Photo Here
I.D. Via “Legal” Means Fraudulent Originals & Duplicates, (used to access information from:) • DMV • Social Security • Hall of Records
Who is Doing This? • Organized Crime • Organized Groups • Gangs • Drug Users • Parolees/Probationers • Juveniles • Opportunists • ANYBODY & EVERYBODY
Impact on the Victim • Financial - loss of credit or ability to purchase • Criminal - Arrest warrants issued, Criminal record, Driving record problems • Loss of ability to obtain a job or rise in current job • The personal feelings of being victimized
Financial Impact on the Victim • Internal Revenue Service – Tax Audits or liens on your property • Franchise Tax Board - Wage garnishment • Social Security - Loss of benefit • Damage to credit rating
Community Impacts • Increased business costs • Higher interest rates • Lack of trust in the community as a whole • The consumers (WE) pay for the losses
Problems with Jurisdictions • Often the suspects operate across jurisdictional boundaries bouncing from one city, county, state, and/or country to another • Instant credit over the telephone and Internet *Order from California to a company in New York and the product is shipped to an address in Arizona • Federal vs. State (whose case is it ???? ) * FBI, Secret Service, US Postal, DMV, Local, etc...
Investigations • Normal investigative techniques are not as effective ~Lag time in the victim discovering the crime ~ Lag time in victim reporting crime to proper police agency ~ Once an investigation begins, many uncover a long term, complex pattern of criminal activity by the suspect ~ Possible suspect may really be the victim
L.A.S.D. Policy 21 Patrol Stations Servicing the Unincorporated County Areas and 41 Contract Cities • Reporting is based on victim’s residence • Victim advised to contact credit bureaus • Victim advised to register complaint in National FTC Database • Victim given copy of Department’s Victim’s Guide
Personal Protection PROTECT YOUR IDENTITY • Do not keep Social Security Card in wallet • Do not give out your Social Security number • Do not enter contests, turn in warranty cards, or fill out information forms • Be careful what you say on the phone • Do not give credit or personal information to anyone (any business) you do not know or did not initiate the call
Personal Protection PROTECT YOUR ASSETS • Use Gel pens when writing checks • Safeguard blank checks • Protect your PIN • Balance your accounts (monthly or more often)
Personal Protection PROTECT YOUR MAIL • Don’t leave mail out for pickup • Buy a locking mail box or use a post office for outgoing and incoming mail • Shred all Mail with your name on it ! • Remove yourself from unsolicited marketing and mailing lists
UNSOLICITED MAIL OPT - OUT (888) 567-8688
Personal Protection PROTECT YOUR CREDIT • Look over your monthly statements • Check out credit bureau reports (Transunion, Equifax, Experian) at least once per year. More often if you have been a victim. • Promote and examine privacy policies of those you do business with • Develop information handling policies including audit trails for your business
Summary Identity Theft Affects Everyone • The crime is rising at an extraordinary rate • It affects everyone • It devastates the victim • You can harden the target by protecting yourself and guarding your credit, assets and personal information • Monitor your finances and credit for any irregularities • Act rapidly when you discover any abnormalities • Report your crime to local and proper authorities