New Phishing Trojan!

Sensei Posted in Identity Theft
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A new Trojan can change IP addresses! IP Addresses are how your web browser finds the web sites you want to view, it is a translation of the human readable domain name (say www.chase.com) to a numeric, computer readable address (like 159.53.64.105). This new trojan can change this IP address before your request leaves your computer! It can also go grab the site you wanted and redirect you to an impostor site…very scarey stuff! What does this mean? In layman’s terms it can control the websites you visit regardless of what sites you try to visit. For example let’s say you type in the URL www.chase.com so you can manage your account. A trojan that can change the IP address can now send you to www.fakechase.com instead!
The more technical description is, this new Trojan is on the loose and is enabling attackers to reroute users to phony Websites even when the user types the URL out manually. The Trojan, dubbed DNSChanger.eg, corrupts the process of translating a domain name into an IP address, according to security researchers at security software vendor MicroWorld Technologies, which discovered the vulnerability. The exploit has “high risk potential,” the researchers say. When a user types in a URL, the smart Trojan changes the “NameServer” registry key value to a fraudulent IP address. Phishers can design the fraudulent page to look very much like the pages of the site they are defrauding businesses such as a bank or retailer and fool the user into typing in their account information. “Phishing usually requires you to be lured through emails that lead you to impostor Websites, but this requires nothing of that sort”. Unfortunately we don’t have any information on how this trojan is spread or how you protect against it.

Be Aware at all times…

Sensei Posted in Identity Theft
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Police in Montreal have arrested nine people that allegedly used rigged payment terminals to skim debit cards and steal customer’s PINs. The gang is thought to have stolen millions of dollars from 18,000 customer bank accounts. The criminals targeted convenience stores and petrol stations and bribed shop staff to install fake payment terminals which skimmed debit cards and recorded PINs. Local press reports say the gang included a call center employee who worked for a subcontractor to French bank Mouvements Desjardins and is alleged to have sold customer data to the scammers, such as dates of births. Source
Here is a perfect example of how even when we do all the right things we can still fall victim to crime. Even someone highly aware would have a difficult time protecting themselves against this identity attack. When criminals have insider support for a crime like this you might as well walk into a carefully planned ambush! All you can do is hope to recover well. Don’t forget to check your statements and bills every month for unusual or unknown entries, even small ones!! Good luck out there…

Dead before your time!?!

Sensei Posted in Identity Theft
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Medical Identity TheftWe’ve been discussing Identity Theft here for some time now but there is a new danger in town! Given the rising cost of medical care and the desire for some to obtain prescription drugs for illegal purposes Identity Thieves are targeting your medical identity in addition to your financial identity!! This is a devious twist to the now old crime of identity theft. Tens of thousands of Americans may already be victims of medical identity theft and not know it.

Pilot and business owner Joe Ryan thought it was a joke when he opened a letter from a collection agency stating he owed more than $40,000 for a surgery that he never underwent. In an effort to clear up the matter he told them he had not had any surgery. At first unresponsive Mr. Ryan went in and talked with the agency where he offered ‘You want to see my body?’ And they said ‘No, no.’ I said, ‘I have no scars'”. He discovered he was a victim of medical identity theft. Medical Identity Theft occurs when someone takes your identity information and they use it to get medical treatment in your name, using your insurance or credit. Often the imposter’s simply provide fake insurance information, or none at all. It is estimated that nearly 250,000 Americans have already been victims of medical identity theft. In many ways this is worse then financial identity theft because you can be looking at one time charges of upwards of $100,000.00.

Aside from creating medical bills for you these medical identity thieves pose and even more dangerous problem, one to your health. Once in control of your records they can alter your medical information, changing your blood type, removing drug allergies or medical conditions thereby putting you in a life-threatening situation.

Joe Ryan commented, “What happens if I drive home today, and I get in a wreck and I end up in a coma? They bring all those medical records, you know. Am I allergic to penicillin; is that the same blood type?” The man Ryan believes stole his identity has since died, but the problems could haunt him for years. “Now, he’s dead. Am I dead? You know, will I ever get Social Security?” said Ryan. More hospitals are now recognizing the crime and establishing programs to prevent it. Hospitals are now asking patients to provide identification such as a passport or driver’s license. While these items are difficult to get they are not impossible, just costly. Regardless the hospitals think the new measures are working. So how do you know if a medical identity thief has hit you? If you receive a bill or an insurance claim in your name for medical services you never received, that is a red flag. Just as with your financial records go over any bills you receive, if you find an error go to wherever the bill was sent, call them up and ask them for a copy of your medical file. Work to change your records. Go to the insurance company; go to every place where you think your medical file has been. This process can be very difficult since once your medical records are altered it is almost impossible to get them information completely removed because of duplication and storage requirements.

While victims of financial identity theft have explicit legal rights to help clear their records, victims of medical identity theft currently do not have any blanket rights allowing people to correct errors in their medical files. Basically all you can do is protect your identity as best as possible, watch your records and hope your identity doesn’t get targeted. If it does document everything. Another good suggestion is to maintain a copy of your medical records which simply means the doctor has to give you a copy either periodically or as things are entered. This way you have your records on hand if you need to prove you are the real John Doe!

When will we learn…

Sensei Posted in Identity Theft
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THOUSANDS of Hotels.com customers may be at risk for identity theft after a laptop computer containing their credit card information was stolen from an auditor, a company spokesman said. The password-protected laptop belonging to an Ernst & Young auditor was taken in late February from a locked car, said Paul Kranhold, spokesman for Hotels.com, a subsidiary of Expedia.com based in Bellevue, Washington. And we are just hearing about it NOW!! “As a result of our ongoing communication with law enforcement, we don’t have any indication that any credit card numbers have been used for fraudulent activity,” Kranhold said on Saturday. “It appears the laptop was not the target of the break-in.” Well that is a relief! That makes a nice cover to distract us from asking why…WHY would sensitve data be stored on a very mobile device?
Both Hotels.com and Ernst & Young mailed letters to Hotels.com customers this past week (roughly 3 months after the information went missing) encouraging them to take appropriate action to protect their personal information. The transactions recorded on the laptop were mostly from 2004, although some were from 2003 or 2002, the companies said. The computer contained personal information including names, addresses and credit card information of about 243,000 Hotels.com customers. Ernst & Young, which has been the outside auditor for Hotels.com for several years, notified the company of the security breach on May 3.
“We deeply regret this incident has occurred and want to apologize to you and Hotels.com for any inconvenience or concern this may cause,” said the unsigned memo from Ernst & Young dated May 2006. Ernst & Young invites those affected by the incident to enroll in a free credit monitoring service arranged by the auditor. So we can’t trust them to keep our data secure…but we can trust them to arrange to “monitor” our credit for us! So I wonder if Ernst & Young are still the auditors for Hotels.com?

UK Bank Alert

Sensei Posted in Identity Theft
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UK banks rocked by millions in chip & PIN card cloning fraud. The UK banking industry’s massive investment in chip & PIN payment cards has been brought into question after scammers stole more than $1 million from customers by implanting skimming devices in retailer PIN pads. UK police have arrested eight people connected with the fraud which affected hundreds of customers paying for goods at three Shell gas stations where tampered card readers were discovered. Shell has temporarily suspended all chip & PIN payments at UK outlets. The scammers used old-school skimming devices to capture magnetic stripe details and PIN numbers. The cloned cards were then used to withdraw cash and pay for goods at locations overseas and at machines where the chip is not scanned. The banking industry had enforced a national migration to the new scheme on the assurance that it would prevent counterfeit card fraud by making it impossible for scammers to copy confidential card details stored on the microchip. The continued use of mag-stripe data for card withdrawals, both in the UK and at cash machines abroad, represents a loophole which can be exploited by criminals. Sandra Quinn of Apacs said, “This is a specific issue for Shell…We are confident that this is not a systemic issue.
If you live in the UK you might want to double check your bank statements and balances!

Chase Bank Phishing Emails…

Sensei Posted in Identity Theft
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If you’ve received an email recently that appears to be from Chase Bank and asks for personal information, then you’re a target of internet scam artists. Thousands of Chase bank customers have gotten the fake alert.
The email looks authentic and even uses the bank’s logo, but be forewarned. From emails to a police impersonator, giving over your info could give thieves a high-speed connection to your bank account.
The emails promise protection: “The security of your account is our primary concern,” they read. But a closer read between the logo and the lines shows that thieves are ready to take your personal information to the bank.
“Your bank is not going to send you email asking you for your personal information, ever,” said Nancy Norris, Chase spokesperson.
This is an increasingly big problem for all banks not just Chase. If you get an email form anyone asking you or directing you to update your information, PLEASE call the company you do business with don’t trust the email. If it that important they would have sent you something via snail mail or called you directly.

ID Theft, Hawian Style

Sensei Posted in Identity Theft
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Thousands of Hawaii workers exposed to possible identity theft. The Hawaii Attorney General’s Office alerted more than 40,000 Hawaii residents Thursday, April 13, that they are at risk for identity theft. This includes 22,000 private sector employees, and more than 21,000 members of the Hawaii Government Employees Association and the United Public Workers Union. The warning comes after the U.S. Secret Service and Postal Inspection Service notified the state attorney general of the theft of insurance company records. Those records include a list of names and Social Security numbers of people enrolled in certain health and group life insurance plans in 1999. The Honolulu Police Department found the copied records on a computer that was being used by a suspect under investigation for drug crimes. Information regarding spouses and dependent children were not included in the stolen lists. Federal officials first informed the Attorney General’s office of the theft in January. The incident has not been disclosed publicly until now because it would have impaired the federal investigation.

Irish Bank First in Country to Offer 100% Secure Guarantee

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Ireland’s online bank, RaboDirect, has become the first bank in the country to offer its customers a security guarantee; customers are guaranteed they will not lose any money in the event of online theft. RaboDirect customers will have a token that generates a one-time use passcode to be used in their two-factor authentication scheme. These tokens are a great step for the constomer’s! While some may complain about a slight inconvenience this measure should completely thwart the efforts of phishing and scam artists! I wonder when the U.S. banks will step up to the plate and start to adopt similar measures to secure their customer’s identity?

MySpace.com scam artists

Sensei Posted in Identity Theft
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This is shocking news! Scam artists are flocking to MySpace.com, stop the press! It is amazing, that it is amazing to people that con-people, scam artists, thefts, perverts and other unsavory types are drawn to a large group of people, better known in to them as a target rich environment! MySpace currently claims 63 million users, making it the second most visited domain behind Yahoo. What is interesting about this story is their use of the technology. These scammers (criminals) are luring some users to fake MySpace sites that capture their user name and password. Now these same users are silly enough to use the same user name and password they use on their corporate networks and accounts…yes you read right…if you are realizing you do this, please stop! One very legitimate concern on a site like MySpace is the ability of scammers to put links to nasties that unleash viruses, worms and Trojan horses. In addition, there are now phishing attacks from people posting links to false sites set up by online criminals using MySpace as the conduit. While MySpace isn’t inherently bad you still need to be careful. And all kidding aside…be careful out there…

Be careful out there in Cyberspace…

Sensei Posted in Identity Theft
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Security vendor Sunbelt Software detected the site Tuesday, March 21, and reported it to eBay, which worked with the local ISP to have it taken offline. The site probably collected the information through phishing attacks or a Trojan horse virus that plants keylogging software on users’ PCs, said Alex Eckelberry, president of Sunbelt. Source.
It’s a whole new world, and the cold war seems to be heating up again. This time though it isn’t governments fighting but hackers (in sympathetic countries) and corporations and individuals that are waging war. Some old Russia/Eastern Block countries and China are quickly becoming the biggest threat to the western world. We have our share of ‘Western” hackers but some of the most damaging and ruthless phishing and hacking operations are coming from the east. In a recent case a Russian web site was offering eBay account information for as little as $5.00!! Prices ranged from $5 to $25 per account. Luckily eBay was able to get the web site shut down. The web site was offering to sell stolen customer account information and a handful of payPal accounts. Armed with these false customer accounts, a scammer/hacker could easily post items for sale, collect payments, and then never deliver the goods.
But remember only the web site was shut down, the hackers that were running the site still have all of the information and they are looking for a buyer…Even more so then in the physical world we have to be careful to protect ourselves, be diligent and aware of our surroundings. Like old credit cards online accounts that you don’t use or haven’t used in some time should be deleted to reduce your exposure to identity theft.