Scam of the day – August 9, 2012 – Largest Identity theft ring in American history

Recently, Amar Singh and his wife Neha Punjani-Singh were sentenced to prison for their role in a thirteen million dollar identity theft ring that operated in the United States with help from abroad between July and November of 2011.  The Singhs were only two of a group of 111 people who were arrested by federal authorities in regard to the scam.  Amar Singh was one of four top operators of the identity theft ring which received stolen personal information on American victims from sources in Russia and China as well as from American based identity thieves who obtained the personal information of their victims primarily through skimming devices, which as I have explained previously in this website/blog are small electronic devices that are used by identity thieves to illegally swipe a credit card used in a restaurant or retail establishment at the same time the victim presents his or her card for a legitimate purchase.  The skimmer steals the information stored on the card.  The information gathered both home and abroad was used to create counterfeit credit cards that were used by the criminals to the detriment of the identity theft victims.

TIPS

As much as possible, when you pay with a credit card, keep the card in sight to help insure that your card is not being swiped through a skimmer.  Skimmers can also be installed on gas pumps and ATM machines so look for signs of tampered machines.  Also, limit your use of your debit card to ATM machines because the risk of losing money through a debit card is greater than through a credit card due to different federal laws that govern each type of card.  Protect your personal financial information as much as possible and keep it private because data breaches in any place that holds your information puts you at risk.  Finally, read your monthly credit card bill carefully each month to make sure that there are no fraudulent charges and if you do find them, report them immediately.