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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.

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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


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).
  • 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
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
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

  • 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
  • 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.
  • 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
  • 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
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
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
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
how it can happen
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.)
i d via legal means
I.D. Via “Legal” Means

Fraudulent Originals & Duplicates, (used to access information from:)

  • DMV
  • Social Security
  • Hall of Records
who is doing this
Who is Doing This?
  • Organized Crime
  • Organized Groups
  • Gangs
  • Drug Users
  • Parolees/Probationers
  • Juveniles
  • Opportunists
impact on the victim
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
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
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
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...

  • 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
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
Personal Protection


  • 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 protection1
Personal Protection


  • Use Gel pens when writing checks
  • Safeguard blank checks
  • Protect your PIN
  • Balance your accounts (monthly or more often)
personal protection2
Personal Protection


  • 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


(888) 567-8688

personal protection3
Personal Protection


  • 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
personal protection4
Personal Protection


  • Shop on-line carefully, (https://)
  • Avoid giving out bank account information
  • Avoid investment schemes, Emails requesting information, etc.
  • Don’t download .EXE files, etc.
  • Learn and examine the privacy policy of your on-line service
  • Firewall protection

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