Earlier this week law enforcement officials in Queens, New York arrested thirty people accused of operating a credit card identity theft fraud ring in which they are accused of using the fraudulent credit cards to purchase more than 3.5 million dollars of costly electronics and fashion merchandise that would then be sold and turned into cash. The indictments name Muhammad Rana and Inderjeet Singh as the kingpins of the scam.
The primary manner by which they are accused of accomplishing the fraud was through identity theft of personal information of their victims that was then used to set up new credit card accounts. Particularly in the last year since the implementation of EMV chip credit cards, new account fraud, as indicated by research company Javelin in its 2016 Identity Fraud study, has increased 113% over the previous year.
In this case, the Queens District Attorney is alleging that the criminals obtained the personal information of their victims necessary to establish new accounts such as their names, dates of birth, current and past addresses, Social Security numbers, bank account information and credit information from one of their co-conspirators who worked at a car dealership where he had access to this information provided by potential car buyers.
You are only as secure as the places that have your personal information with the weakest security. Whenever you provide personal information to any entity, you should inquire as to who has access to this information, how it is stored, how it is protected and the policy for deleting such information when it is no longer needed.
In addition, you should regularly monitor your credit reports to identify incidents of identity theft as early as possible.