calucagAn accused murderer who was allegedly involved with disappearance of two others is now facing further charges for identity theft. 60-year-old Henry Calucag Jr., also known as Hank Jacinto, was recently indicted by a Federal Grand Jury yesterday on multiple counts of fraud, money laundering and illegal transportation. His girlfriend Debra Anagaran, 52, was indicted on similar charges.

Originally indicted for coercing a man into signing over $200,000 worth of  promissory notes to a company that Calucag owned, the couple is at it again.  Three male victims were persuaded to travel with Calucag to the Philippines after which they disappeared and over $250,000 worth of property transferred into Calucag’s name. Calucag was finally caught and sentenced to 30 years in prison.

(Via Honolulu Advertiser)


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webfraud_oneBlack Friday has obtained near holiday status with its amazing deals that allow people all over the country to make that one big purchase that they couldn’t afford the rest of the year. However, there is a new shopaholic’s holiday that lets shoppers spend from home called Cyber Monday. Cyber Monday is the Monday immediately following Black Friday and boasts similar sales and discounts.

However some people have been unwilling to participate in the online sales because of Internet security concerns. There are some simple tips that you can use in order to make sure that you are not getting scammed. First and foremost, you should be familiar with the company from which you are buying. Most companies offer online explanations of their privacy policies for customers to review. It’s important to also make sure you’re dealing with a secure site before purchasing. Look for the unbroken key or locked padlock symbol, often found in the bottom right hand corner of the page. This means that your information is being sent securely and is not prone to hacks.

Make sure that you get the details on your purchase including expected arrival dates, shipping and handling fees, warranties, return policies, and other information such as a contact e-mail or phone number in case there is a problem with your purchase. It is also good practice to purchase using credit cards seeing as how under federal law and most credit card agreements your liability for fraudulent charges does not exceed $50. The final good practice is to keep detailed records of your purchases, print your receipts and keep electronic records. This will help in the case of a discrepancy.

Using these simple tips will keep you safe during online shopping and thus let you enjoy all the sales that are available to you on Cyber Monday. Now you can shop at home in your pajamas without fear.

(Via PR News)

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phishingNearly 100 people were charged with aiding a national identity theft ring that attacked thousands of bank accounts and stole millions of dollars.

An indictment released Wednesday charged 50 people in Los Angeles with running the “phishing” program in conjunction with another 47 people that were arrested in Egypt. The phishing scam works like most, where Egyptian hackers would direct people to fake bank sites and get them to enter sensitive financial information. The FBI says it’s the largest number of defendants ever charged in a cyber crime case.

The identity theft has supposedly affected thousands of accounts and drained millions of dollars. This mass arrest across country lines has proven that governments worldwide are being more diligent when it comes to cyber crimes and computer safety.

(Via Associated Press)


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attfamilymap1When we think of airports in the U.S., we think of intense security checks and measures that no regular person would be able to bypass. Well this blind trust was proven wrong earlier this week when Dakota Davis, a young 14-year-old with Asperger Syndrome, was able to use his mother’s credit card to purchase an airline ticket, board the plane, and fly there, without proper identification.

But thankfully, police were able to locate Dakota before any real damage was done thanks to the GPS tracking capabilities of his cell phone. With help from AT&T, police were able to triangulate Dakota’s position in Chicago using the signal from his cell phone. AT&T used the GPS service called the “AT&T Family Map” to track Dakota all the way to the Chicago O’Hare Airport. The company also found text messages between the 14-year-old and a female girlfriend in the area. Dakota was never able to see his friend as he was caught at the baggage claim in the airport and sent on the next flight home free of charge.

(Via KOIN Local 6)

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screen-option-alarmA while back we talked about technologies designed to deal with laptop theft. Here is yet another way to keep your laptop safe by using a simple software application that can help stop a laptop theft in its tracks and also guarantee that your data is safe if it should ever be stolen. The software is called, LAlarm, and it utilizes audible alarm systems, data retrieval, and remote deletion technology to make sure that your laptop and its data remain safe and secure.

The protection begins with the software’s alarm system that notifies you whenever your laptop is taken outside a predetermined safe area, it also sounds an alarm when your laptop has been left alone for too long. As a bonus, LAlarm even helps you save battery life on your laptop by notifying you when your battery is close to depletion. It can also send an alert to a users cellphone notifying them whenever one of the alarms is triggered, effectively guaranteeing that a laptop owner remains in the know at all times. But probably the best feature that LAlarm has to offer is its data recovery and deletion. This feature allows a user to delete and recover information from a laptop that has been stolen.

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chick-at-computerDozens of people experience computers hacks everyday spanning from stolen Facebook login credentials that result in embarrassing status updates, to something more serious like bank or identity theft. Stealing these passwords used to be reserved for computer savvy hackers or psycho ex girlfriends, but apparently now all you need is a $100 cash to hack an e-mail account. A website called YourHackerz.com claims that, with the exception of .gov and .edu, they can get the password and effectively hack into any e-mail account. And if you use the same password for multiple accounts, you could be in serious trouble.

Although hacking into someone’s e-mail is considered a federal offense, it is treated like a misdemeanor as long as no other laws are broken. Orin Kerr, a George Washington University law professor and former computer crimes attorney, stated “The Feds don’t usually have the resources to investigate and prosecute misdemeanors. And part of the reason is that normally it’s hard to know when an account has been compromised, because e-mail snooping doesn’t leave a trace.”

However, there are some simple steps that every person can take to help make sure that they are not so easily defeated. Simple things such as keeping passwords secret and consistently changing passwords can greatly decrease the probability of getting hacked. Also, one should refrain from using the same password for more than one account. Using a combination of numbers and letters can also increase password strength, making it harder to figure out and crack. Simple preventative measures is all it takes to help keep yourself a little safer in today’s technological world.

Via (Wtop.com)


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creditcardsPoor Vanessa Ward knew something was wrong when she received a letter in the mail welcoming her to Wells Fargo for a credit line that she had been approved of. But there was a problem with that letter – and that was that she had never applied for that line of credit.

Vanessa isn’t sure how the credit card thieves got a hold of her card exactly, she says that it might have happened from a single pick-pocketing. Regardless, Vanessa was already aware that thieves had gone on a shopping spree using her credit. A surveillance video inside of a Safeway store shows the two suspected thieves on a $400 splurge, with purchases that include four prepaid Visa cards and three gift cards to Chili’s and Starbucks cards. Afterwords they spent another $200 at Nordstrom Rack, and later on they also went shopping at Standard TV and Appliance.

Vanessa has already closed all of her accounts and flagged her credit history. But she cant help but be concerned that other victims will fall prey to these thieves.

“I want them to go to jail. I’m sure I’m not the only ID that they have. So if we could put them in jail that would be awesome.”

If you are worried that your personal information may have been compromised, the FTC recommends immediately closing all accounts and changing all passwords. It’s important to contact your banks and credit card providers to alert them of the security breech. You can also place a temporary alert on your credit cards that will put your account activity on high alert, hopefully catching any wrongdoers before they’ve done too much damage.

(Via KGW)

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suspectsIn Virginia Beach authorities are investigating an ATM scam that has stolen the financial information of more than 25 people. The secret service, Virginia beach police, network news, and Richmond have all come together in order to stop these attacks from happening. The thieves, a man and woman, were seen on a bank security system placing a magnetic scanning device that would scan the information of any card used at the machine.

There has been at least one victim who has come forth and complained of receiving fraudulent charges. Officials have located an ATM skimming device at a Virginia Beach Wachovia Bank. According to Virginia beach officer Jim Barnes,  the police have discovered other skimming devices but were reluctant to reveal the number of devices found.

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identEvery day thousands of people download new applications onto their smart phones without much care for  the terms of service they so easily agree to. What most of these people don’t know is they may be volunteering information and allowing for companies to gather data without their consent. Recently a company called Pinch Media was charged with being a little too invasive when it comes to gathering information through their iPhone apps.

According to one iPhone developer, applications using Pinch Media can retrieve information like your phone’s personal ID number and can work in conjunction with other applications like Facebook to determine your gender, birth year and even your exact longitude and latitude. Pinch Media has been accused of gathering information that has nothing to do with its applications. Instead, they have been using this data collection for advertisements and other marketing purposes. Worse, is that this information is often taken without the consent of the user and more often than not does not allow the user the option to stop the information gathering.

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atm-machineThe next time you go to get money out of the ATM machine, think again because you might be giving away your identity.

An attendee of the Defcon conference on cybersecurity, found a breach of security in the very hotel- The Riviera Hotel- the conference was being given: a fake ATM machine. A computer that was hidden inside the ATM was designed to scan debit cards when they are swiped through the machine, said officials who came to retrieve the suspicious machine.

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