Showing posts with label identity thefts. Show all posts
Showing posts with label identity thefts. Show all posts

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Accomack Property Owners At Risk For Identity Theft

An Accomack County employee returned from apersonal holiday to Las Vegas without a computer that belongs to the county. Files in that laptop contain vital information, including the Social Security numbers of local personal-property owners.

No, Josh Taylor, who works in the Information Technology (IT) Department, didn’t gamble away the equipment. Sources close to the situation say it was stolen from either his hotel room or the vehicle he rode to the airport. Taylor was not available for comment. The taxpayers could become the victims of identity theft.

Local officials said Wednesday they aren’t sure how many files were stored in the computer. They aren’t saying if it was acceptable for Taylor to have taken the laptop on the trip. But they don’t suspect foul play by any of their workers.

Finance Director Mike Mason said the computer was stolen on Oct. 7 and was reported as such to the county on Oct. 8. Another source said Mason sent Taylor home from the job on Tuesday to await further action. Central Accounting told a caller that Taylor was expected back at work Monday. Part of his duties reportedly will be fielding calls from property owners concerned about this issue.

Now officials are trying to figure out how they are going to keep the thief from accessing the programs, how they will deal with Taylor (who is still on the clock), what policies they will enact to keep this mishap from being repeated and what will happen when property owners start complaining. Sources said hiring a company to help with the problems could cost $300,000 to $500,000.
After more than an hour in a closed session. Wednesday evening, Accomack supervisors voted to release a brief statement. Supervisors Ron Wolff and Steve Mallette were absent. Supervisor Phil McCaleb voted against going into the private meeting where personnel issues were discussed and advice from County Attorney Mark Taylor (no relation to Josh Taylor) was obtained. I voted no because I did not believe that all of what we were to discuss was covered by the ‘Closed Meeting’ criteria,” McCaleb said on Thursday in an e-mail. “Our deliberations on what to do and how to handle the employee should be closed.
The stolen computer was the result of ‘brain vacuum’ idiocy and in all likelihood the result of either a lack of a clear written policy regarding laptop computers or a failure to consistently enforce same.

I made the comment in the meeting that I do not believe this is a ‘fireable’ offense unless there is a written policy requiring it.”

According to the statement released by the supervisors, “The
theft is under a separate criminal investigation. There is no allegation
of criminal wrongdoing by the employee or anyone else affiliated with Accomack County.

Accomack County believes that the stolen computer contained a file or files
from which taxpayer identity might be extracted.

Any citizen who is concerned about the security of their identity may request a fraud alert on their credit report by calling 888-766-0008, 888-397-3742 or 800-680-7289.

Citizens who may be affected will receive a more specific written notice from AccomackCounty. This is Accomack County’s entire comment on this matter pending advance of the ongoing criminal investigation and the internal personnel issue involved.” Board Chairwoman Laura Belle Gordy called for Wednesday’s meeting Eastern Shore Post that afternoon.

The announcement stated that the meeting would be closed and would only be used to discuss personnel. The session started at 5 p.m. and began with the usual prayer and
Pledge of Allegiance. Before a motion was made, Gordy said, “I know we can go into closed session for personnel, but that’s not the real reason.” The attorney suggested
that they also meet under another section of law that allows the group to speak privately with him.

County Administrator Steve Miner defined taxpayer identity as name, Social Security number, perhaps address and the personal property owned. He said real-estate holdings are not in question.

Josh Taylor did not attend the session. Miner, Mason, County Treasurer Dana Bundick, Commissioner of the Revenue Leslie Savage and another IT worker attended the private session.

Asked about the IT Department, Miner said there is only one person “who reports back to me” and others who work in IT are under other departments. He said he is unsure if the
employee in question regularly takes the laptop home. “I’m not sure but suspect the answer is no,” Miner said.

"I don’t provide anyone with Social Security numbers,” Savage explained Thursday. “Josh Taylor has been part of the project team” working on software that provides the county with the capability of twice-a-year billing.

Las Vegas Police Officer Marcus Martin said Josh Taylor reported the incident on Oct. 8. Taylor was staying at the Mandalay Bay, an upscale hotel and casino. Upon awakening that morning
he found that clothing was thrown on the floor and the laptop and a red backpack were gone, Martin said.

An investigation of the electronic entry to the room showed that between 10:53 a.m. and 12:35 p.m. on Oct 7 and from 8:14 p.m. Oct 7 and 9:21 a.m. Oct 8, the door to Room 16122, where he
was staying was “not properly latched.” Martin said it is unclear why. Taylor was out of the room between 8 p.m. Oct 7 and 2 a.m. Oct 8 and hadn’t noticed anything missing or in disarray
upon return. Martin added that the case just landed on a detective’s desk and he had not had time to check a video of the hallways.

“It appears the suspect also drank (the contents of) two mini liquor bottles” while in the room, the officer said.

Wow! That's quite a story! But which is it? Was it taken from the rental car or was it taken from the room? From 8 p.m. on Oct. 7 until 2 a.m. on Oct. 8. Taylor was out of his room yet the door was not "properly" latched until 9:21 on the 8th. And whomever stole the laptop from the room was thirsty enough to sit and have a drink. I don't know about anyone else but I don't think so. Not much of this makes alot of sense.

So, because Mr. Taylor was whooping it up in Las Vegas Accomack taxpayers have endure the risk that private information has been obtained by those other than Accomack County workers. Shame on you, Mr. Taylor, for being so inconsiderate! Keeping hours like those it"s quite apparent that you did not intend on doing any "work" while vacationing.

And shame on Accomack County for not knowing if employees ARE allowed to take laptops home. Well, Mr. Taylor and Accomack County officials this isn't the "brain vacuum idiocy" you claim it is. This is lack of consideration for ALL of the people that now may be jeopardized with fraud and identity theft. And YOU expect US to straighten it up by calling the telephone numbers listed.

The county is in bad enough shape without having this happen. Besides, when hard working Accomack County taxpayers pay their taxes we assume our private information is just that. PRIVATE!! Lock those computers to the desks!

Most computer users today go to great extremes making sure that their personal computers do not become privy to hackers. We are very concious about everything we do on our computers.
Identity theft is a horrible thing to happen. And NOW because of ONE person one must be concerned about the practices of the employes hired by the county.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Nearly 3,000 SSNs Posted Online By State Employee

A Maryland Department of Human Resources employee was placed on administrative leave after posting the Social Security numbers and other personal information of nearly 3,000 clients of a state agency on a third-party website, a spokeswoman for the agency said.

There's no evidence that the information was used for identity theft, said DHR spokeswoman Nancy Lineman, but DHR, which provides benefits such as food stamps and other aid, will offer affected clients a year of credit monitoring. They will receive a letter that was mailed Monday with further details about the data breach.

Under state law, businesses that expose the data of Maryland residents must inform them in writing, but governments are not required to do so, Lineman said. The employee is on administrative leave during the investigation of this incident and could face disciplinary action, she said.
The breach was discovered by staff of the Liberty Coalition, a nonprofit that promotes individual freedoms, including privacy. The group's privacy director, Aaron Titus, said the information was posted from April 27 to July 14. They tried to notify DHR officials July 9, he said, but were not successful until July 12. The data was taken down Wednesday, Lineman said.

"We take the privacy of the data that's entrusted to us very seriously," she said.

Titus said he was pleased that the government was offering credit monitoring, but he recommended that all affected clients contact credit reporting agencies to place a security freeze on their credit to prevent misuse of their data. Identity theft victims may do this for free, but state law prohibits residents from being charged more than $5.

DHR clients can enter their names at, a Liberty Coalition website, to see if they were among those affected.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Balltimore Man Charged With Identiy Theft of the Dead

A British citizen is being held on charges that he obtained a U.S. passort and a Maryland driver’s license in the name of dead man from Washington and tried to use the documents to fly out of BWI Airport, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

John Skelton, 41, was arrested Monday night at Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport and charged in U.S. District Court with identity theft and using a fraudulently obtained social security number.

Authorties said Skelton, of Yorkshire, assumed the identity of Washington resident Kurt Branham, who died in 1994. Court documents stated that Skelton told investigators that he was barred from traveling to the U.S. because of medical issues, and obtained the Washington’s man name from a friend.

U.S. officials had been monitoring the use of Branham’s name and social security number, saying it had been used twice before by people applying for passports. How Sekton allegedly obtained his passport was not divulged, but court documents say the name and number were on a watchlist since 2005.

Customs officials notified the U.S. State Department after Skelton few out of BWI on July 2 for a trip to London, according to court documents. An investigation ensued and Skelton was arrested when authorities say he used the fradulent passport to return to Baltimore on Monday.

Authorities said Skelton told them he lived on Wheeling Street in Federal Hill.

“Stealing another person’s identity is a very serious crime, but stealing the identity of a deceased citizen is despicable,” Stephen Dearborn, the acting director of the Port of Baltimore said in a statement. “We are very pleased to end Mr. Skelton’s charade.”

Here is a news release from the U.S. Customs and Border Protection:

Death Match Snares Brit Impostor at BWI
Feds Arrest Baltimore Resident For Allegedly Stealing Dead American’s Identity

BALTIMORE – Federal authorities arrested British citizen John Skelton at Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport on Monday night on charges of identity fraud, false statements, and being an impostor to a U.S. citizen.

U.S. Department of State’s Diplomatic Security Service (DSS) officials discovered that Skelton41, of Yorkshire, England, allegedly stole the identity of U.S. citizen Kurt Branham, who died in 1994.
DSS teamed with Customs and Border Protection officers to apprehend Skelton after the Brit presented a fraudulently obtained U.S. passport to re-enter the country after a trip to the United Kingdom.

Skelton, who resides in Baltimore, will be prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Maryland. The specific charges Skelton faces are for violations of 18 USC 1028, 18 USC 1542 and 18 USC 911.

“Stealing another person’s identity is a very serious crime, but stealing the identity of a deceased citizen is despicable,” said Stephen Dearborn, CBP Acting Port Director for the Port of Baltimore. “CBP and Diplomatic Security Service officials work vigorously to bring impostors to justice and to protect American citizens’ identities. We are very pleased to end Mr. Skelton’s charade.”

DSS detected the potential fraud using investigative techniques employed during Operation “Death Match.” A passport had been issued in 2005 in the name of Kurt Branham, who died more than 10 years before, a cross match of records indicated.

More than 150 individuals have been charged with federal passport fraud and related offenses as a result of Death Match investigations.

Todd Brown, Special Agent in Charge of the DSS Washington Field office said, “The U.S. passport is one of the most coveted travel documents in the world, and those who have acquired passports fraudulently could perpetrate further illegal acts. I am pleased that the collaboration between our agents, the Customs and Border Protection professionals, and the U.S. Attorney’s office in Maryland has been so successful in this case.”

CBP, DSS and Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials were at BWI when Skelton disembarked his flight from London at 7:45 p.m. Monday. During questioning, Skelton allegedly admitted he was a United Kingdom citizen and that he obtained Branham’s identity.

CBP officers paroled Skelton into the United States for prosecution and turned him over to DSS agents. The U.S. Attorney’s Office will prosecute Skelton. CBP issued a detainer on Skelton to be returned to CBP at the adjudication of his charges.

Baltimore Crime Beat/Peter Hermann

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Licensed Private Investigator On Eastern Shore

An Accomack County resident with almost three decades of federal, state and local law enforcement experience has been granted private investigations agency license number 11-6282 by the Virginia Department of Criminal Justice Services.

Atlantic Coast Services, LLC is the newly founded private investigator enterprise on the Eastern Shore. According to a press release, the agency is able to handle a variety of investigations for individuals, businesses and law firms.

Atlantic Coast Services, LLC will also specialize in relocating and reuniting family members and friends as well as financial and property thefts, accidents and injuries. In an interview with Atlantic Coast Services, they say one of their specialties is identity theft investigation.

For more information call (757)287-8442 for visit the website