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Identity thieves want your unemployment benefits

Identity thieves want your unemployment benefits
May 28, 2015

By Byron Acohido, ThirdCertainty
Identity thieves are collecting unemployment benefits in a “tsunami of fraud,” says Wifredo Ferrer, U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Florida. Bad guys are buying personal information stolen from places such as hospitals, medical offices, schools and retirement programs. They then log onto state websites and file for unemployment benefits. Since the priority is for states to get the money out quickly, they don’t wait for an employer to verify the identity of the person applying. Victims typically don’t find out until their employer is notified that they are receiving unemployment payments. Source: CNN

Not-so-golden years?

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The cost of a data breach can have a serious impact on a senior living provider’s ability to stay in business, so companies are putting a priority on insurance against cyber threats, according to a report from Professional Risk Solutions. The 2015 Management Liability Purchasing Trends for Senior Living Communities compiled insurance-related data from 353 communities nationwide. More than half (56 percent) purchased a policy limit of $1 million for data breach/cyber coverage; 26 percent purchased the least at $500,000. Source: Senior Housing News

Hey, it’s all good

Andrus Ansip, European Commission vice president for the digital economy, said the European Union’s plans to push through a single digital market will benefit U.S. companies and aren’t designed to retrieve market share from U.S. Internet giants. “The digital single market strategy isn’t about protectionism, it is about opportunities,” he said ahead of a visit to the United States, where he will have meetings with White House and other government officials. The commission has rolled out several digital initiatives aimed at combining 28 national copyright and tax rules, as well as easing cross-border exports. Source: The Wall Street Journal

Complaints filed here

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The Internal Revenue Service’s report of a data breach affecting more than 100,000 households prompted fresh complaints from victims of tax identity theft about delayed refunds, red tape and the impact on their finances. Criminals steal personal data to claim a refund in a taxpayer’s name before he or she files. Many refunds are put on debit cards that can be hard to trace. IRS Commissioner John Koskinen said the agency assisted 875,000 victims of tax ID theft in the fiscal year ended Sept. 30. The FBI is investigating the current breach, which IRS investigators think was done by a criminal operation based in Russia. Sources: The Wall Street Journal, The Associated Press via The (Toledo, Ohio) Blade

Lower would be better

The total average cost of a data breach is now $3.8 million, up from $3.5 million a year ago as thieves target financial and medical records, says a study by data security research organization Ponemon Institute, paid for by IBM. Direct costs include hiring experts to fix the breach, investigating the cause, setting up hotlines for customers and offering credit monitoring for victims. Business lost because customers are wary after a breach can be greater. “Most of what’s occurring is through organized crime,” said Caleb Barlow, vice president of IBM Security. “These are well-funded groups.” Source: Reuters via Business Insurance

Well, don’t we feel special

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Nearly half of all credit card fraud around the world occurs in the United States, even though America accounts for only about a quarter of the global card volume, says a report from Barclays. The rising incidence of credit card fraud is primarily due to the fact that the U.S. still relies on magnetic strips that are easy to replicate if stolen. Hackers also can remotely install malicious software onto checkout terminals at stores to capture card numbers. The data gets transmitted to criminals, who sell the information. U.S. companies must switch to the chip-and-PIN system this year. Source: Nextgov

Across the nation

Two Waterbury, Conn., men have been sentenced in separate identity theft cases. Julio Trinidad got 12 years for using stolen identities to collect fraudulent tax refunds. The U.S. Treasury lost $7.5 million. Bernard Brantley was sentenced to two years for collecting victims’ Social Security numbers, birth dates and other personal information and giving it to a woman who filed tax returns for refunds. More than $1 million lost. … Authorities are seeking two men who they say used stolen credit cards to buy prepaid gift cards at a Lynchburg, Va., store. The two bought more than $250 in Apple iTunes and American Express prepaid cards, says a Central Virginia Crime Stoppers news release. … A grand jury indicted Tylia Jackson and Natalie Nye of Wasilla, Alaska, on charges of theft and fraud, according to court documents. They allegedly took a credit card from an unlocked vehicle at the Wasilla Vet Clinic. Sources: The Middletown (Conn.) Press; The (Lynchburg, Va.) News & Advance; The Mat-Su Valley (Alaska) Frontiersman

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