Scam of the day – December 14, 2015 – Hospital identity theft arrests

Although we often think that identity theft is a high tech crime, in fact identity theft is a high tech, low tech and no tech crime.  The Manhattan District Attorney recently arrested a married couple Kyle Steed and his wife Krystle Steed charging them in a 193 count indictment involving identity theft in which fraudulent charges were made in the names of their victims totaling more than $300,000.  The basis for the identity theft was definitely no tech.  The District Attorney is alleging that Kyle Steed who worked at the Lenox Hill Hospital stole personal information of more than 80 emergency room patients.  Among the information stolen were names, birth dates and Social Security numbers of the victims.   However, rather than hack into the hospital’s computers, Kyle Steed is alleged to have done his data theft the old fashioned way by stealing the information from paper records of the hospital.  Krystle Steed used the stolen information to access their victims’ credit card accounts charging more than $300,000 worth of expensive purchases including designer bags.

TIPS

Lenox Hospital is notifying patients who were affected by the data breach which occurred between January of 2014 and February of 2015.  This crime again illustrates the importance of companies that retain personal information doing a better job of protecting their data in whatever form it is stored.  It also illustrates the importance of limiting the amount of data that you provide companies with which we all deal as much as possible.  Although hospitals commonly require people to provide their Social Security numbers, they generally do not have a need for doing so and often do so merely to make it simpler to collect overdue bills.

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