Heart of Glass - Blenko Glass
Blenko Glass is a West Virginia treasure that spans generations. Nothing symbolizes the state of West Virginia better or more beautifully than Blenko Glass. We will discuss current and former craftsmen and designers and how important it is that Blenko and West Virginia glass be appreciated and valued by the younger generation.
Tuesday, July 01, 2008
A Blenko Collector and close friend, over 60, and retired recently learned she (1)had a platinum discover card since 2002, (2) was working in San Jose, Calif., (3) had 2 cats, three other charge cards and a(4) automobile all in her name and social security number only thing is . . . . we'll she's retired and living with dogs in West Virginia.
She found her 'alias' by accident when the Discover Card folks called about increasing her credit line . She considers herself LUCKY and wants to warn you.
Before you begin your daily shopping, read this article from webmaster ROWE (wiki) and learn about identity theft. Protect yourself.
Identity theft is a term used to refer to fraud that involves stealing money or getting other benefits by pretending to be someone else. The term is relatively new and is actually a misnomer, since it is not inherently possible to steal an identity, only to use it. The person whose identity is used can suffer various consequences when they are held responsible for the perpetrator's actions. In many countries specific laws make it a crime to use another person's identity for personal gain.
Financial identity theft
A classic example of credit-dependent financial crime (bank fraud) occurs when a criminal obtains a loan from a financial institution by impersonating someone else. The criminal pretends to be the victim by presenting an accurate name, address, birth date, or other information that the lender requires as a means of establishing identity. Even if this information is checked against the data at a national consumer reporting agency, the lender will encounter no concerns, as all of the victim's information matches the records. The lender has no easy way to discover that the person is pretending to be the victim, especially if an original, government-issued id can't be verified (as is the case in online, mail, telephone, and fax-based transactions). This kind of crime is considered non-self-revealing, although authorities may be able to track down the criminal if the funds for the loan were mailed to them. The criminal keeps the money from the loan, the financial institution is never repaid, and the victim is wrongly blamed for defaulting on a loan s/he never authorized.
In most cases the financial identity theft will be reported to the national Consumer credit reporting agency or Credit bureaus (U.S.) as a collection or bad loan under the impersonated person's record. The victim may discover the incident by being denied a loan, by seeing the accounts or complaints when they view their own credit history, or by being contacted by creditors or collection agencies. The victim's credit score, which affects one's ability to acquire new loans or credit lines, will be adversely affected until they are able to successfully dispute the fraudulent accounts and have them removed from their record.
Other forms of bank fraud associated with identity theft include "account takeovers", passing bad checks, and "busting out" a checking or credit account with bad checks, counterfeit money orders, or empty ATM envelope deposits. If withdrawals or checks are made against the impersonated person's real accounts, that person may need to convince the bank that the withdrawal was fraudulent or file a court case in order to retrieve lost funds. If checks are written against fraudulently opened checking accounts, the person receiving the checks will suffer the financial loss. However, the recipient might attempt to retrieve money from the impersonated person by using a collection agency. This action would appear in the victim's credit history until it was shown to be fraud.
Identity cloning and concealment
In this situation, a criminal acquires personal identifiers, and then impersonates someone for the purpose of concealment from authorities. This may be done by a person who wants to avoid arrest for crimes, by a person who is working illegally in a foreign country, or by a person who is hiding from creditors or other individuals. Unlike credit-dependent financial crimes, concealment can continue for an indeterminate amount of time without ever being detected. Additionally, the criminal might attempt to obtained fraudulent documents or IDs consistent with the cloned identity to make the impersonation even more convincing and concealed.
Criminal identity theft
When a criminal identifies himself to police as another individual it is sometimes referred to as "Criminal Identity Theft." In some cases the criminal will obtain a state issued ID using stolen documents or personal information belonging to another person, or they might simply use a fake ID. When the criminal is arrested for a crime, they present the ID to authorities, who place charges under the identity theft victim's name and release the criminal. When the criminal fails to appear for his court hearing, a warrant would be issued under the assumed name. The victim might learn of the incident if the state suspends their own drivers license, or through a background check performed for employment or other purposes, or in rare cases could be arrested when stopped for a minor traffic violation.
It can be difficult for a criminal identity theft victim to clear their record. The steps required to clear the victim's incorrect criminal record depend on what jurisdiction the crime occurred in and whether the true identity of the criminal can be determined. The victim might need to locate the original arresting officers, or be fingerprinted to prove their own identity, and may need to go to a court hearing to be cleared of the charges. Obtaining an expungement of court records may also be required. Authorities might permanently maintain the victim's name as an alias for the criminal's true identity in their criminal records databases. One problem that victims of criminal identity theft may encounter is that various data aggregators might still have the incorrect criminal records in their databases even after court and police records are corrected. Thus it is possible that a future background check will return the incorrect criminal records.[
Techniques for obtaining personal information
In most cases, a criminal needs to obtain personally identifiable information or documents about an individual in order to impersonate them. They may do this by:
Stealing mail or rummaging through rubbish containing personal information (dumpster diving)
Retrieving information from redundant equipment, like computer servers that have been disposed of carelessly, e.g. at public dump sites, given away without proper sanitizing etc.
Researching about the victim in government registers, Internet search engines, or public records search services.
Stealing payment or identification cards, either by pickpocketing or surreptitiously by skimming through a compromised card reader
Remotely reading information from an RFID chip on a smart card, RFID-enabled credit card, or passport
Eavesdropping on public transactions to obtain personal data (shoulder surfing)
Stealing personal information in computer databases (Trojan horses, hacking)
Advertising bogus job offers (either full-time or work from home based) to which the victims will reply with their full name, address, curriculum vitae, telephone numbers, and banking details
Infiltration of organizations that store large amounts of personal information
Impersonating a trusted company/institution/organization in an electronic communication to promote revealing of personal information (phishing)
Obtaining castings of fingers for falsifying fingerprint identification.
Browsing social network (MySpace, Facebook, Bebo etc) sites, online for personal details that have been posted by users
Changing your Address thereby diverting billing statements to another location to either get current legitimate account info or to delay discovery of fraudulent accounts.
Individual identity protection
The acquisition of personal identifiers is made possible through serious breaches of privacy. For consumers, this is usually due to personal naiveté about who they provide their information to. In some cases the criminal obtains documents or personal identifiers through physical theft (e.g. vehicle break-ins and home invasions). Guardianship of personal identifiers by consumers is the most common intervention strategy recommended by the US Federal Trade Commission, Canadian Phone Busters and most sites that address identity theft. Personal guardianship issues include recommendations on what consumers may do to prevent their information getting into the wrong hands.
The strongest protection against identity theft is not to identify at all - thereby ensuring that information cannot be reused to impersonate an individual elsewhere. As such, identify theft is often a question of too little privacy or too much identification. Many activities and organizations in a modern society require people to provide personal identifiers (Social Security number, national identification number, drivers license number, credit card number, etc), and in some cases the knowledge of personal identifiers is treated as proof of identity. This is sometimes done as a convenience or to enable transactions by telephone or the iInternet however it can also make it more difficult for individuals to protect themselves from identity theft.
In some cases an identity thief will attempt to impersonate a deceased individual. Frequently credit checks or other types of verification are not cross referenced with death certificates, so the crime may go unchecked for some time unless the deceased's family detects it and takes steps to prevent further fraud.
Identity protection by organizations
In their May 1998 testimony before the United States Senate, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) discussed the sale of Social Security numbers and other personal identifiers by credit-raters and data miners. The FTC agreed to the industry's self-regulating principles restricting access to information on credit reports According to the industry, the restrictions vary according to the category of customer. Credit reporting agencies gather and disclose personal and credit information to a wide business client base.
Poor stewardship of personal data by organizations, resulting in unauthorized access to sensitive data, can expose individuals to the risk of identity theft. The Privacy Rights Clearinghouse has documented over 900 individual data breaches by US companies and government agencies since January 2005, which together have involved over 200 million total records containing sensitive personal information, many containing social security numbers Poor corporate diligence standards which can result in data breaches include:
failure to shred confidential information before throwing it into dumpsters
failure to ensure adequate network security
the theft of laptop computers or portable media being carried off-site containing vast amounts of personal information. The use of strong encryption on these devices can reduce the chance of data being misused should a criminal obtain them.
the brokerage of personal information to other businesses without ensuring that the purchaser maintains adequate security controls
Failure of governments, when registering sole proprietorships, partnerships, and corporations, to determine if the officers listed in the Articles of Incorporation are who they say they are. This potentially allows criminals access to personal information through credit-rating and data mining services.
The failure of corporate or government organizations to protect consumer privacy, client confidentiality and political privacy has been criticized for facilitating the acquisition of personal identifiers by criminals.
Using various types of biometric information, such as fingerprints, for identification and authentication has been cited as a way to thwart identity thieves, however there are technological limitations and privacy concerns associated with these methods as well.
The increase in crimes of identity theft lead to the drafting of the Identity Theft and Assumption Deterrence Act. In 1998, The Federal Trade Commission appeared before the United States Senate. The FTC discussed crimes which exploit consumer credit to commit loan fraud, mortgage fraud, lines-of-credit fraud, credit card fraud, commodities and services frauds. The Identity Theft and Assumption Deterrence Act (2003)[ITADA] amended U.S. Code Title 18, § 1028 ("Fraud related to activity in connection with identification documents, authentication features, and information"). The statute now makes the possession of any "means of identification" to "knowingly transfer, possess, or use without lawful authority" a federal crime, alongside unlawful possession of identification documents. However, for federal jurisdiction to prosecute, the crime must include an "identification document" that either: (a) is purportedly issued by the United States, (b) is used or intended to defraud the United States, (c) is sent through the mail, or (d) is used in a manner that affects interstate or foreign commerce. See 18 U.S.C. § 1028(c). Punishment can be up to 5, 15, 20, or 30 years in federal prison, plus fines, depending on the underlying crime per 18 U.S.C. § 1028(b). In addition, punishments for the unlawful use of a "means of identification" were strengthened in § 1028A ("Aggravated Identity Theft"), allowing for a consecutive sentence under specific enumerated felony violations as defined in § 1028A(c)(1) through (11).
The Act also provides the Federal Trade Commission with authority to track the number of incidents and the dollar value of losses. There figures relate mainly to consumer financial crimes and not the broader range of all identification-based crimes
If charges are brought by state or local law enforcement agencies, different penalties apply depending on the state.
Six Federal agencies conducted a joint task force to increase the ability to detect identity theft. Their joint recommendation on "red flag" guidelines is a set of requirements on financial institutions and other entities which furnish credit data to credit reporting services to develop written plans for detecting identity theft. These plans must be adopted by each organization's Board of Directors and monitored by senior executives
Identity theft complaints as a percentage of all fraud complaints decreased from 2004-2006.] The Federal Trade Commission reported that fraud complaints in general were growing faster than ID theft complaints.The findings were similar in two other FTC studies done in 2003 and 2005. In 2003, 4.6 percent of the US population said they were a victim of ID theft. In 2005, that number had dropped to 3.7 percent of the population. The Commission's 2003 estimate was that identity theft accounted for some $52.6 billion of losses in the preceding year alone and affected more than 9.91 million Americans the figure comprises $47.6 billion lost by businesses and $5 billion lost by consumers.
According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), a report released in 2007 revealed that 8.3 million American adults, or 3.7 percent of all American adults, were victims of identity theft in 2005
Spread and impact
Surveys in the USA from 2003 to 2006 showed a decrease in the total number of victims and a decrease in the total value of identity fraud from US$47.6 billion in 2003 to $15.6 billion in 2006. The average fraud per person decreased from $4,789 in 2003 to $1,882 in 2006.
The 2003 survey from the Identity Theft Resource Center found that :
Only 15% of victims find out about the theft through proactive