Goodbye Black Friday, Hello Cyber Monday


So you made it through Black Friday, that madness is over for another year.  Now it’s time for the Cyber Monday madness.  Although you don’t have to worry about being in the middle of a beat down over a Barbie, Cyber Monday carries it’s own perils and pitfalls.

Cyber Monday has developed into the biggest online shopping day and scammers will be setting up traps for the unwary.  Online shoppers get caught every year in a multitude of scams from simple online Phishing schemes to flat out thefts.  So when you jump into the online shopping, be aware!  Some of the things to look out for:

 

Spoofing of retail websites

Spoofing is not new.  It has been around for a bit.  Have you ever gotten an e-mail from E-bay saying that you need to update your account?  That email probably had E-bay’s logo and may have even had an attached link that looked legitimate.  That is what spoofing is, imitating a reputable website.  When you go to this spoofed site and input your personal information, identity thieves now have everything that they need to steal your identity.

With online shopping it’s the same thing.  The thieves set up a site that looks like Sears and may even have Sears in the web address.  But it’s not Sears you are giving your information to, it’s an identity thief.

 

Sharing of unknown links

We all like to  share good deals right?  So it stands to reason that our friends would share great deals with us.  We also trust our friends so we don’t really think when we get that message on Facebook about the free computer our friend got as a part of a ‘Holiday promotion’.  Social networks get hacked.  That link that your friend shared with you is not from your friend at all.  It is from some scammer phishing for information.

 

The too good to be true deal

While Walmart may have been selling the next big thing dirt cheap and way under cost for a couple of hours on Black Friday,  they are making up their loss through all of the other sales that they are making.  You don’t walk into a store and see that as the regular price.  Finding items at unreasonably low prices should set off warning bells.  Yes you might just find a Rolex discounted 25% on a website.  But when it is being sold for a 10th of the price?  Can you say hot watch?

Things to be aware of

Like anything else staying safe while shopping online is mostly common sense.  Here are some tips to protect yourself.

  • Do not enter any of your information on unsecured websites.  Always check the address bar.  The page url should start with “HTTPS://”
  • Confirm website urls whenever possible.  If you plan to shop at a major retailer online, pick up the phone and call them to get the correct url.  Many scam sites will use the retailer domain name and then change the .com to .net or .org.
  • Be aware of the almost correct url.  Scammers will create a domain name close enough to seem legitimate.  For example if they want to spoof say Starbucks and Starbucks url is starbucks.com, the scammer may use starbuckscoffee.com
  • Before clicking on any link, hover your cursor over that link.  At the bottom of the screen it will show you the web address that you are actually going to.  If the link is cloaked, for example it shows http://www.shortlink.com/identifying code your safest bet is not to click it.   Legitimate retailers have no need or desire to hide themselves.

Be aware of Knockoffs

If it is a designer item or  hot brand name, the knockoffs are out there.  Everything from Sports Jerseys, to hand bags, to shoes to perfume have been copied.  So the odds are that cheap Louis Vuitton bag is nothing more than a cheap imitation.  Many companies sell admittedly fake imitations of the real things and they are marked as imitations or reproductions.

The only way you can be sure that you are actually ordering the real thing is to order it from and authorized retailer or the designer’s own website if they have one.  For example you can go to Louis Vuitton’s website look up the authorized retailer’s.  If that website is not an authorized retailer, they are not selling the real thing.

Be aware, use your common sense and research before you buy.  Protect your identity and avoid scams this holiday season.

 

Official fake ID’s? No it’s called counterfeiting


I got a message from a friend of mine this morning Dave Gilbert.  Dave is one of the founders of Kooiii Business Resources and very aware of scams since they do not allow them to be promoted on Kooii.  And when they say they don’t allow them they mean it, all identified scams are immediately removed and the scammers accounts are terminated.  This one popped up on the radar of the KBR Stay Safe Program which is their scam identification program.

Knowing that I am a Certified Identity Theft Risk Management Specialist, he knew that I would love seeing this one and skyped me a message right away!

[5:19:57 AM] Dave Gilbert: We offer only original high-quality fake passports, driver’s licenses, identity cards, visas, birth certificates and other products for a number of countries like:

USA, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Finland, France, Germany, Israel, Mexico, Netherlands, South Africa, Spain, United Kingdom, etc.

To get the additional information and place the order just visit our website: (url removed)

If in some technical reasons you are unable to visit our website we are always happy to answer your questions on email addresses mentioned below.  (e-mail addresses removed)

So I did take a peek at the site and it is not only a scam but quite illegal in what it is providing.

This is so obvious that I hope no one would fall for it.  The entire site is one huge red flag.  The site is designed to first steal your money and second steal your identity.  You can in the US ‘purchase fake documents, Passport, Driver’s license and ID card for $1,500 and they will have all of the security features of the documents you would get from the official government sources.  Well that happens to be a little crime called counterfeiting, so any document that you purchased from them would be illegal.

Oh and the only way to make a payment is by some form of wire transfer.  That is another crime.  By the sites own admission they cannot accept credit cards or paypal because it is ‘difficult’ to secure these services.

And if Point A and Point B weren’t reason enough to open your eyes, they intend to disappear on January 1, 2012 when they will take down their website.

This is obviously criminals harvesting information and whatever funds they can collect before disappearing into the Twilight Zone.  Don’t fall for this.  Never give out your information to anyone.  But more importantly understand that all anyone needs here personal information and a photo and it doesn’t have to be their own personal information.  Just send off a $1,500 Moneygram  with their photo and your information and they not only have your information but they have  ‘documentation’ to back up their fake claim.

This is why it is so important to have something to address identity theft.  Who might be sending your personal information to this company right now?  LegalShield is a good way to protect yourself now before it it happens.

Silly Phishers!


Take a good look at the following email.  It’s pretty clear that this is a phishing scheme.  It was emailed from a numerology website.  The first thing that jumps out as a red flag is that they are using the ‘credit score’ bait.  A numerology site alerting me that there may be changes to my Transunion credit score?  Ms Cleo must be working for them since the only way they could know what is on my credit score is if they are psychic.

 

But hang on a minute!  Hidden text in the email!  That little box of text didn’t show in the email but when I copied it to a document to edit out the sensitive information, guess what showed up?  This is just a tiny bit of the text which looks like someone is writing a bad novel or ripped off a bad novel, not sure which applies.

 

So I am being warned about my credit score, offered unknown links back to a numerology site and Has a good awful example of putrid prose on top of everything else.  I can’t figure it out.  Are they phishing for personal information or fishing for a publisher?  No matter, either way it gets deleted.  However for those who click on links like this, there is LegalShield.

—–Original Message—–
From: email address removed
Sent: Tue, 22 Nov 2011 10:21:15 -0500
To: e-mail address removed
Subject: Notice: There has been a change to your Transunion score

ALERT: THERE MAY HAVE BEEN CHANGES TO YOUR CREDIT SCORE

View all 3 reports at no cost to you, and also receive score monitoring at all three major bureaus and avoid credit fraud. To retrieve your score Click Here
To unsubscribe please Click Here

Since there was little he could do about his situation, he seemed determined to strike as picturesque and dramatic a pose as possible. The back of one hand rested despairingly across his forehead, while his other arm was thrown wide in a flamboyant attitude. The only part of his face visible, therefore, was his mouth, which was pursed and plump, as if the world were too hot and coarse for his palate

Will you become a victim?


Thanksgiving is practically here and that means the busiest in store shopping day is here, Black Friday.  Most of us will be hitting the malls, shopping centers and department stores around the country.  We will not be alone, identity thieves and thieves in general will also be out there hitting the the same places that we hit.  Black Friday is a perfect time for low-tech gathering of personal  information.

Don’t become complacent thinking that Identity thieves need some complex convoluted scheme to steal your identity.  Low tech methods work quite well, and on Black Friday you need to be on alert for these low tech methods.

Pickpockets and purse snatchers

These are very old school methods of gaining your information (and whatever cash you have in your wallet), but it still works.  Especially in a large crowd.  A thief can snatch your wallet or purse and disappear into a crowd in a matter of seconds.  Ladies, we all have a very personal safe that goes with us where ever we go.   It’s called a bra and it’s perfect for stashing cash, credit cards and your ID.  Gentlemen, forget the back pocket.  A thief with a razor can slice your back pocket off and be gone with your wallet in the blink of an eye.  Put your wallet in your front pocket.

Shoulder Surfers

Shoulder surfers can have a field day in a crowd.  With people all jammed together in a limited space; it’s normal that people will be close, bump into you etc.  A shoulder surfer can memorize all they need to steal your identity in a matter of seconds.  If you are filling out a paper check or using a debit card with a PIN be aware of anyone who seems to be overly interested in you.

ATM Awareness

ATMs can be tampered with.  Before using any ATM give it a quick once over if anything at all looks out of place-use another ATM.   Identity thieves have several methods of tampering with ATMs from Attaching skimming machines that record the information on your card, to using X-ray film to steal your actual card.  Look for items around the ATM that do not belong.  These items may be concealed cameras placed there to record your PIN when you use your card.  With the information on the skimming machine and the information from the camera a thief can clone your card.  If you put your card in a machine and it does not work or respond, feel around the card slot, you might just find that a thin strip of X-ray film has been attached to the card slot.  Whatever you do, don’t accept the help of the ‘good’ Samaritan.  That person’s goal is to get your PIN number and once you leave thinking that the machine has ‘eaten’ your card, the helpful stranger will remove your card and use it.

General tips

Think safety and crime prevention.  Use common sense crime prevention tips.

  • Before you head off to the store, empty your purse or wallet of anything that you do not need.  Don’t carry all of your credit cards with you and definitely leave the Social Security card at home.
  • Make sure that you have nothing of interest visible inside your car, including those gifts you just purchased.  Lock them in the trunk if possible.
  • If you feel something is suspicious, report it to the store manager.
  • If you are the victim of a crime, report it to the police.

Understand that identity theft spikes during the holidays just like burglaries and other crimes.  Be aware that everyone is at high risk and have your response plan in place before it happens.  LegalShield can help.

Why you will NEVER be safe from identity theft!


Unfortunately many people still believe that they can eliminate the risk of becoming a victim of identity theft.  They think that they can totally erase the risk.  They believe it when some company says that they can prevent you becoming a victim.  If you hear that from anyone, don’t you believe it!

None of us can totally eliminate our risk.  That is because our personal information (very detailed and intrusive information) is readily available to anyone.  It’s called public records and you might be surprised exactly what information someone can get their hands on through public records searches.  You have much less privacy than you think.

Many companies have popped up that gather information on individuals and offer that information for sale to anyone with a credit card.  just type background checks online into Google.  I just did this as I am posting and got back 11 million hits.  11 million places you can go online to buy a back ground check on someone.

What information is available on you?

Personal Records:

Alias/Maiden Name Check
Address History
Phone Number(s)
Social Web Search
Date of Birth
*List of Relatives
Email Addresses
*Spouse/Roommates Locator

Criminal History:

State Criminal Records Check
Nationwide Criminal Records Check
Arrests and Warrants
Misdemeanors and Felonies
Convictions and Incarcerations
DUIs and Criminal Driving Violations

Court Records:

Civil Filings
Civil Actions
Bankruptcies
Liens and Judgments

Property Records:

Primary owner on title
Property Information
Phone Numbers and Details
Mortgage Records
House Purchase and Current Value
*Possible Neighbors

 

With all of this information available to anyone online with a credit card, how can any one of us possibly be safe?  And it is not just you that is at risk.  Someone pulling up a background check on you can easily find what he or she needs to pull the records of your family, friends and neighbors.  Just notice the items with an asterisk.

This is why we all need to have something in place to help us fix it when it happens.  No one can stop it, but LegalShield can help fix it.

 

On the road again


Most of us have traveled at some point in our lives.  No matter where we go or how we get there, traveling is an opportunity for identity thieves to get your information.  With the holidays many people will hit the road, so I’m sharing some common sense tips to help you keep your personally identifying information safe.

 

Planes Trains and Automobiles

How do people get from place to place?  You use some form of transportation.  From hopping a plane to driving yourself, you need to take steps to keep your personal information safe

Leave it at home-Don’t take any personal information that you don’t need.  Don’t take your social security card or too many credit cards.  Lock these items up safely at home.

Keep your information on your person-Don’t pack personal documents in luggage you will check through.   Put it in your purse or carry on bag.

Never ever leave your carry on luggage unattended-Take it with you even if you are only going to ask a question at the ticket counter 10 feet away.  Airports, Bus terminals and train depots are high-traffic busy places and it only takes a second for someone to steal it.

Remember out of your sight or even out of reach is out of your control.  And you may have had a great conversation with that person your were sitting next to on the first leg of your journey but you don’t know them.  Don’t ask them to ‘Watch your bag for a second.”

If you are driving yourself, you still need to take precautions.  Lock your car whenever you are out of it and arm the alarm even if you just stop for gas.  If possible lock all luggage in the trunk.  Don’t leave anything in view inside your vehicle.

What a nice room

Some of us travel and stay with relatives or friends, if you are staying with family or friends remember that they may not be as security conscious as your are.  Keep your information safe!

If you are staying in a hotel, be very aware of the fact that strangers will be coming and going in and out of your room.  Hotel staff that you don’t know and  never see, will be coming in to clean and service the room.   Most hotel chains now offer in room safes-use it.  Keep all of your valuables and personal papers like your passport locked up!

Also be aware of your information when checking in or out.  If you must wait for your room to be prepared, the hotel will often hold your luggage until your room is ready.  Invest in a good luggage lock and keep your luggage locked.  If you must allow the hotel to store luggage, remove your sensitive documents before storing.

While you are away

Don’t forget about the security of your information at home while you are away.  Take common sense steps to safeguard your home while your are gone.

Stop delivery of newspapers, mail and anything you may have regularly shipped to your home.

Secure all personal information in your home before you leave.  Do not leave  sensitive mail or personal information laying around.  Put it in a safe or strongbox before you leave.

Use timers to turn lights, televisions and radios on and off while you are gone.

Let a trusted neighbor know that you will be gone.  Have them keep an eye on the place for you.  While you are stopping regularly scheduled deliveries, unexpected deliveries could still arrive.  This way packages do not sit at your door for days letting people know that you are not home.

Contact your local police department or sheriff’s office and see if they have a ‘House Watch’ program.  A house watch program is when officers regularly check your home.  In most cases the officer will get out of his vehicle and walk around your property to check that it is secured and there is no evidence of break ins.  If you sign up for a house watch program make sure that you have a local emergency contact that the police can contact if something is wrong.  Make sure that your emergency contact knows how to contact you.

Most of these tips are simply common sense crime prevention tips.  Remember that your information is the easiest thing in the world to steal and you may not even know it was stolen.  The only tools a thief needs is pen and paper to record your information, then they simply can walk away leaving your information right where you left it.

One more small tip that can be of major importance.  Make photocopies of everything in your wallet or purse.  This will help if your wallet or purse gets stolen.  You will know exactly what was in it and can give this information to the police when you file a report.

Remember that there is not way to completely eliminate your risk of identity theft, but you can do your part by lowering your risk and being prepared if you ever fall victim.  LegalShield can help you be prepared.

Ladies and gentlemen we have a SNAFU!


If you are active duty military or a veteran you should recognize the acronym SNAFU.  For those who don’t it stands for Situation Normal, All F*cked Up. You learn to live with a lot of that in the military, it is just as common as ‘hurry up and wait’.  Unfortunately SNAFU carries over into our life as Veteran’s too.

All Veterans fall under the US Veteran’s Adminstration.  They have all of our information.  Many of us veterans are receiving some form of benefit from the VA.  I happen to receive medical benefits as a service connected disabled veteran.  Others maybe receiving educational benefits through their GI Bill.  Or even housing benefits through VHA loans.  No matter what benefits you receive (or not) the VA has your information.

The VA also has a less than golden track record on protecting our information.  Until the Heartland Payment System dataloss a couple of years ago, the VA held the record for the largest ever security breach with over 25 million veterans’ personal information exposed.  Unfortunately the VA continues to experience datalosses so often that it doesn’t even shock us anymore.

 

If you are a veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces; taking the threat of identity theft seriously is not an option, it is a requirement.  Your information has already been lost.  LegalShield can help by providing you with the assistance you will need when you become a victim of identity theft.

The following information comes from the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse.  This information is just the security breaches for 2011 involving VA or Military agencies.  Keep in mind this is only for 2011:

September 16, 2011 Veterans Administration Medical Center (Biloxi)
Biloxi, Mississippi
GOV PHYS

1,814

The VA believes an employee’s office at the Veterans Administration Medical Center in Biloxi was inappropriately accessed without proper authorization on July 21.  A number of medical files with veteran names, Social Security numbers, dates of birth and other personal information like medical diagnoses were found spread on the office floor.  The breach could affect veterans, deceased veterans and VA employees in seven counties in southern Mississippi, four counties in southern Alabama, and seven counties in the Florida Panhandle.

Information Source:
PHIPrivacy.netrecords from this breach used in our total: 1,814


 

September 15, 2011 United States Army
Alexandria, Virginia
GOV PORT

25,000

A CD with sensitive Non-Appropriated Fund retiree information was lost in the mail between Alexandria, Virginia and San Antonio, Texas.  The CD never officially arrived after being sent during the last week of August.  It contained retiree records with names, Social Security numbers, retirement date, type of retirement, amount of life insurance carried, term data, dates of service, and other retirement data.

Information Source:
Databreaches.netrecords from this breach used in our total: 25,000


 

August 8, 2011 Department of Veterans Affairs
Fayetteville, North Carolina
GOV INSD

Unknown

A dishonest VA worker used his tax return preparation business to submit fraudulent tax returns.  VA patient personal information such as names, Social Security numbers and birth dates were used to create fake dependents on people’s tax returns.  The VA worker then collected fees from customers in exchange for fraudulently increasing the dollar amount of their tax returns. He was convicted in February and sentenced to 11 years in federal prison. The employee handled information from VA patients in North Carolina and Virginia.

Information Source:
PHIPrivacy.netrecords from this breach used in our total: 0


 

August 3, 2011 Department of Veterans Affairs
Washington, District Of Columbia
GOV INSD

Unknown

The inspector general at the VA found that IT contractors had accessed the VA’s electronic health record system without appropriate security clearances.  An tipster had left a message about the situation on a departmental hotline in the summer of 2010.  Contractor personnel were found to be improperly sharing user accounts when accessing VA networks and the Veterans Health Information System and Technology Architecture systems. Employees of the contracting company were unaware of proper IT security protocol.

Information Source:
PHIPrivacy.netrecords from this breach used in our total: 0


 

April 8, 2011 V.A. Medical Center
Aiken, South Carolina
GOV PHYS

2,600

Please call (706) 729-5893 for more information.

A V.A. employee may have thrown the personal information of over 2,600 veterans into the trash. The breach was originally discovered over a month before the official notification and reported by a news channel. The V.A. admitted that appointment records with Social Security numbers, dates of birth and other information were accidentally thrown into the trash instead of being shredded. The records were from January 2010 through January 2011.  All veterans from that period were contacted, but not all were affected.

Information Source:
Databreaches.netrecords from this breach used in our total: 2,600


 

March 21, 2011 Portland Veterans Affairs Medical Center
Portland, Oregon
GOV PHYS

50 (Between 50 and 75)

Between 50 and 75 patient ID cards were lost in January. Social Security numbers, dates of birth and other personal information were on the cards. The cards had previously been mailed to the wrong addresses and were being stored in the hospital’s enrollment office.

Information Source:
PHIPrivacy.netrecords from this breach used in our total: 50


 

January 29, 2011 Veteran’s Affairs Medical Center
White River Junction, Vermont
GOV DISC

114 (No full SSNs or financial information reported)

A client device owned by Dartmouth allowed an unknown amount of people to anonymously log on to a computer network. A document that contained Veteran and Dartmouth patient information could be viewed once people had logged on using the client device. The document contained a list of Dartmouth and Veteran patients. Last names, last four digits of Social Security number, clinical diagnosis and comments were exposed. At least one patient had their full name and date of birth exposed. The problem had existed for an unknown amount of time.

Information Source:
PHIPrivacy.netrecords from this breach used in our total: 0


 

January 13, 2011 New Mexico National Guard
Sante Fe, New Mexico
GOV STAT

650

A computer with the deployment records and Social Security information of soldiers throughout the state was stolen from the National Guard Headquarters in Sante Fe.  The theft occurred sometime between December 23 and 28.

Information Source:
Databreaches.netrecords from this breach used in our total: 650


 

 

Sorry Bill doesn’t live here


Usually when a client calls me to ask the question “What do I do?” it’s because they need to use their membership and are not sure how to go about it or even if they should call.  My advice is always to use the membership and let the attorneys handle legal issues and the Investigators for Identity Theft Shield answer their identity theft questions but this morning I was stunned by a client asking me a different question.

It seems my client is the recipient of email meant for someone else.  Not a single email but several.  These email are being sent to her from a phone service provider.  When she received the first one, she tried to contact the person that it was meant for and called the phone number that had been provided for the intended recipient.  Guess what? she got another email letting her know that the intended recipient now had a message to pick up.

You would think this is a minor thing but…The email contains everything a thief would need to steal the intended recipient’s identity, all of their personal information.  Name, address, phone number, account number etc.  Not good.

She told me that she although she understood identity theft, she never understood exactly how easy it was to steal someone’s identity.  This company handed someone elses’ information to her on a silver platter.   This triggering a bit of thinking on her part.  Who else is getting all this information sent to them?  Are they honest?  What companies has sent out her information to the wrong person.

She is very thankful right now to have her LegalShield and Identity Theft Shield memberships.  She now realizes just how easy it is for her identity to be stolen and is relieved to know that she is covered when the wrong person gets their hands on her information.

Easier said than done


The arrest statistics for Identity theft are extremely low, somewhere around 5%. that means that 95% of identity thieves get away with it.  It’s a very low risk crime for the criminal.  Many people think the police should just arrest the thieves.  It’s a nice thought but much easier said than done.  After 12 year with a police department let me outline why these thieves can get away with theft.

Police departments do not have the resources to investigate every identity theft report they get.

In large metro areas the police force is already stretched thin responding to calls, patrolling their assigned areas, investigating crimes that occurred locally and doing traffic control.  They just don’t have the manpower to investigate each identity theft case that falls into their laps.

 Jurisdictional issues

You may live in Florida while the thefts can originate from anywhere.  The thief may be doing the stealing from California, but they are ordering from a company in Texas.  That creates a problem for law enforce since there is at least three different agencies involved and all limited to their own jurisdiction.  The Florida agency cannot do anything in California where the thief has an address and is committing the crime, the California agency can’t do anything about the fraud which occurred in Texas.  All they can try to do is coordinate thier investigations, but again we come down to the manpower issue.  The florida agency may know the address the thief is using, but that does not mean that the California Agency has anyone available to investigate it.  Now imaging this on a global scale. You are in the US and and your information is being used in Indonesia.

 The person using your information is not the one who stole it and there may be multiple people using your information.

People are being bought and traded in underground chat rooms like the newest hottest commodity.  It’s a black market version of Wall Street or E-bay.  Identity theft rings buy the information from the local thieves(who stole it from you or someone who has access to it).  The Identity theft rings “broker” the information to the “suppliers” and “consumers”.

Suppliers are usually criminal cartels providing false documentation to illegal immigrants that the cartels buy in bulk from identity theft rings.  US Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) are contantly busting up these rings.  You can visit their site at www.ice.gov Check out the news releases on Document Fraud and Workplace Enforcement.

Consumers are the individuals who purchase your information. They may wish to steal your credit, cover their own criminal past, hide their illegal immigrant status, get medical benefits or to use it for any of the same things you would use your information for like get a job.

Often when you get this deep into it, the information is crosing international borders.  The information that a waitress at Red Lobster stole from you while she was off somewhere processing your credit card was sold by her to a local ring.  That local ring then sold it to a clearing house in say Siberia. It now flows through that clearing house to chat rooms where it is auctioned off to the highest bidder who may be using it themselves or creating fraudulent driver’s licenses and social security cards..

When you do realize that you are a victim, the information may have travelled around the world and back; and it could be months or even years after the information was first stolen.  Identity theft is a complex and complicated crime the only thing we can do is to be aware, informed and prepared.  I am dedicated to making you aware and informed, Identity Theft Shield is a good way to be prepared

There are no borders with identity theft


Identity theft is a crime without borders.  If you see me mention that it is a ‘global phenomenon, I’m not talking about the fact that there are victims in practically every country on Earth, I’m talking about the fact that the victim can be in one country, the thief in another and the information used in yet another.

Simon Bunce is a good example.  Simon is a citizen of the United Kingdom, but His information surfaced as a purchaser of Child Pornography during a US Investigation.   Then the nightmare began for Simon.

Deep in the heart of Texas

It all started in the state of Texas.  US investigators were hard at work cracking down on Child Pornography on the internet.  During the investigation thousands of British credit card numbers were discovered, all used to purchase child pornography on the internet.

Now we all know that Great Britain and the US had a little spat a few years ago called the Revolutionary war.  No hard feelings neither side is holding a grude.  We get along famously.  So famously in fact that our American investigators took the helpful step of forwarding this information to British authorities.

Enter Simon Bunce et al

Across the pond, Authorities are just as determined to wipe out child pornography.  They immediately identified and went after those on the list, some 7000 people including Mr. Bunce.  This is when the nightmare began.  Police arrested Mr Bunce on ‘suspicion of possessing child pornography’ and seized his computer.  If only it had stopped there.

Mr Bunce was now suspected of being a pedophile.  Goodbye cushy high paying job, goodbye family; hello to a nightmare.  Mr Bunce’s wife did stand by him.  Mr Bunce took it upon himself to investigate just how his credit card number ended up on a list of suspected pedophiles.

Indonesia? But I was having Dinner in London

Mr Bunce followed the trail to Jakarta Indonesia.  Someone in Indonesia had used his credit card to make the infamous purchase while he had been busy enjoying a nice dinner (which he paid for using the card in question).  A very neat trick.  David Copperfield and Cris Angel could take lessons from Mr Bunce in the magic department, I mean being in two places that distant at the same time is a neat trick.

Eventually the Police agreed and cleared him of the charges but at a high cost for Simon Bunce.  He was arrested, lost his job and his family and probably had to deal with suspicion and scorn from his neighbors and friends.  How would you treat a pedophile?

Mr Bunce had done nothing to deserve the nightmare he had to live through.  Identity thieves ruin lives.  It is not a victimless crime.  Perhaps credit monitoring could have helped in this situation.  One of the benefits of Identity Theft Shield is continuous credit monitoring and immediate notification of suspicious activity.