MISSION • The mission of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service is to protect the U.S. Postal Service, secure the nation’s mail system and ensure public trust in the mail.
What Is Identity Theft? When a person knowingly transfers or uses, without lawful authority, a means of identification of another person with the intent to commit or to aid or abet any unlawful activity that constitutes a violation of federal law or that constitutes a felony under any applicable state or local law. Identity Theft and Assumption Deterrence Act, 18 USC 1028 (a) (7)
IDENTITY THEFT / FRAUD • Identity theft involves acquiring key pieces of identifying information without the victim’s knowledge. • Identity fraud occurs when thieves use the victim’s personal identifying information to order merchandise, obtain credit, or otherwise falsely represent themselves without the victims’ consent.
THEY ARE ALL VICTIMS OF IDENTITY THEFT
TRENDS • Identity theft is America's fastest-growing crime. • Last year alone, more than 9.9 million Americans were victims of identity theft, a crime that cost them roughly $5 billion.
IDENTITY THEFT STATS • Nearly 30 million victims in last 3 years • Most victims do not learn about the theft of their identity until 14 months after it has occurred. • Victims will spend about 30-175 hours cleaning up their personal and credit records.
How & Where is Victims Personal Identifying Information Stolen ? • Mail theft • Trash theft • Personal theft • Credit bureaus • Automobile dealers • Hospitals/health care • Employment • Hotels/Travel/Skimming • Internet • Anywhere!
Identity Theft Mail Theft?
“Steal me” flag! Mail Theft Don’t do this!
Identity Theft • The FTC reported that only four percent of victims cited stolen mail as the source of personal information. • BUT……
Identity Theft What is the common link in most Identity Theft cases?
Who Is Stealing Information? • Collusive Merchants • Custodians & Cleaners • Bank Employees • Hotel Employees • Postal Employees • Travel Agents • Airline/Ground Support Workers • Organized Groups - Russian - Gay Fraud Gangs - West Africans - Tweekers - Mexican Gangs - Filipino Gangs - Chinese Gangs
What Are They Looking For? • Credit Cards • Checks (including cancelled checks) • Pre-approved Credit Card Applications • Convenience Checks • Credit Bureau Printouts • Bank Statements • Credit Card Statements • Employee and Customer Records
Identity Theft “Pre-Approved Application"
Identity Theft “Pre-Approved Application”
Identity Theft “Convenience Check”
Check Washing and Counterfeiting A few chemicals used to remove ink from stolen checks:
Identity Theft Who? Postal Employee Woodmere, NY • Incoming Credit Cards not received • Postal Inspectors observe clerk “Veronica” stealing • “Veronica” admits to stealing 60-65 credit cards • Sold credit cards to brother “Eddie” for $100 each • “Eddie” admits to receiving stolen credit cards • and re-selling the credit cards to a “Nigerian National” • for $200 each
Identity Theft Who? Government Employees Federal Times February 28, 2000
Identity Theft Who? Airline/Ground Support BWI Airport / Baltimore, MD • Contract Employee of Worldwide Flight Services • Stealing US Mail from contract airlines • A search warrant was executed by Postal Inspectors at his residence located in Baltimore, MD. • Arrested on Federal charges
ID Theft Categories ASSUMED IDENTITIES ACCOUNT TAKEOVERS FRAUDULENT CREDIT APPLICATIONS
ASSUMED IDENTITY A victims personal identifying information used to assume a new identity by: Fugitives Illegal Aliens Terrorists
ACCOUNT TAKEOVERS Obtain the Personal Information of a True Person and their Credit / Bank Account Information Change Address on the Account • Send letter • Telephone • Fax • Receipt of Card, Fraud charges begin
False Change Of Address Filed The majority of false COA occur through Financial Institutions and not through the Post Office Why? Victim is alerted on non-receipt of mail The U S Postal Service’s Move Validation Program
FRAUDULENT APPLICATIONS • Personal identifying information of a true person used to open a new accounts • Mail • Fax • Telephone • Internet • Instant Credit
Where are the credit cards & checks mailed to ? • To the victims residence • Commercial Mail Receiving Agency (CMRA) ( UPS SORE, Ma & Pa Stores, etc ) • Pay friends, relatives, drug addicts, etc to receive mail at their address • P.O. Box opened under fictitious name • Vacant house or apartment • Rent house or apartment in the victims name
CMRA’s Box rented in fictitious name and/or name of victim using false identification At one time, address appeared as residence or business (Apartment # or suite # used instead of box #) Minimal contact with employees (24 hour access) Mail forwarding service Fraudulent Addresses
Test card at gas station with small charge Runners may be used to make withdrawals Large advances obtained same day or within a few days Advances obtained at different banks using same card Maximum withdrawal per day One bank may be used for several different cards within a short period of time Exhaust credit limit as quickly as possible Bribery of bank employees to process cash advances Cash Advances
Identity Theft / Debit Card • Open Fraud Checking/Investment Account in Victim’s Name • Minimum Deposit - Cash ($100) • Deposit Stolen Business Checks, Credit Card Convenience Checks and Counterfeit Checks • Obtain Debit Card • Purchase Postal Money Orders • ATM Cash Withdrawals • Merchandise Purchases
Personal Information is Everywhere! • SSN often used as identifier for patients on wrist band or medical charts which may be viewed by many. • Standard practice to use your SSN as an ID number for health benefits and insurance services. Insurance providers are slowly switching to a randomly generated number.
UNKNOWN EMAILS • Also known as “SPAM” • Could launch hackers software • Could cause victim to respond to fraud scheme (i.e. “Phishing”) • Could cause victim to give up personal info when making a “purchase” • Best practice is to delete unknown or suspicious looking emails
“ PHISHING ” • The theft of personal information using legitimate looking emails • An estimated 75 – 150 million phishing e-mails are sent EVERY DAY! • Losses total more than $1 billion dollars a year
PHISHING • Fake eBay site • Real eBay site
AUCTION / CLASSIFIED SCAMS • Victim is legitimately selling an item on the internet or through the newspaper and is contacted by a potential “buyer” • Buyer agrees to send check, which is for more than what the victim is asking • Buyer asks victim to deposit check, and wire the difference back to the buyer via Western Union • Check ends up being counterfeit • Buyer never had any intention to purchase item