Thursday, August 31, 2006


A police department has reported this new scam uncovered this week.

A law office notifies you that a long lost relative has died and that you have inherited a large sum of money. For confidentiality reasons they cannot tell you the name of the deceased and they cannot release the check until taxes and fees in the amount of $1,248.00 are paid. They require that the payment be made by check. A copy of the benefits check is provided to prove that they are real. The deal is sweetened with the promise of a property transfer from the deceased with a value in excess of $450,000.

Needless to say this is a scam. Paying the “taxes and fees” will result in two potential crimes. They will take the cash, and they will use your bank information (conveniently provided on your check) to commit identity theft and check forgery. These scams often use wire transfers for draining bank accounts and critical information to perform a wire transfer can be obtained from the check and a few other common sources.

KnightsBridge Castle's eye-spy(TM) systems reveal that the address provided in the letter is an addressing or letter service, a photo copy station, a communications service, and a shipping agent. The phone company records do not provide an identification for the phone number provided. Clearly this letter is not your good fortune.


This month Eric Drew received his first check from convicted criminal Richard Gibson for “restitution” of the damages caused to Eric by Gibson in committing identity theft while Eric was hospitalized fighting leukemia.

The amount of the check – about $67. When Gibson was sentenced in Federal Court to serve time in prison for his misdeeds, he was also required to pay restitution for his crimes.

“The amount of money is really insignificant and cannot ever repay for the damages caused by Gibson,” said Eric. “However, I am glad that Gibson will have to write a check to the US District Court every month for 10 years. This is not a criminal conviction he will easily be able to forget and put behind himself” continued Eric.


Case Solved After Five Years of Continuing Attack
Client had been the victim of ongoing credit and bank forgery theft for over five years. The client had filed police reports and notified the local police of the ongoing theft on many occasions. Three police reports had been filed. Due to a heavy workload and questions of jurisdiction the police were unable to help the client. The client was extremely frustrated and anxious. About every six months a fraudulent credit card would be issued or forged checks would be charged against her bank accounts.

Upon contacting KnightsBridge Castle our case specialists began extensive research into the crime using the eye-spy system. KBC case specialists identified the probable suspect of the fraud by carefully examining records provided by the client and the eye-spy reports. After assuring the client that we could help, case specialist began constructing a detailed report for the police. The report was given to the police for investigation. The report carefully laid out the crime information, and the eye-spy information.

Armed with the report the local police renewed their investigation. The result was the arrest and prosecution of the criminal in a distant state.


Identity thieves and fraudsters are always developing new methods of committing fraud and this week we noted two new developments of interest.

Criminals often use victim’s credit to purchase goods, such as computers, which they then resell on the street at a significant discount. This week it was reported that a credit thief had purchased tickets to a Barbara Streisand concert and then offered the tickets for resale on Ebay. We are not certain of the price offered, but it is possible that the tickets were offered at scalpers prices. Rather than sell at a discount, the tickets may have been offered at a premium.

In another twist, a fraudster took over the brokerage account of a victim and speculated in stocks prior to transferring the money from the account. We don’t know the criminals stock speculation strategy nor his success, however the fraud was soon detected and the account returned to its proper status.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006


It’s a common misconception by consumers that identity theft is a distinct crime and that its focus is credit cards. The amusing and clever CitiCorp TV advertisements have promoted this idea. However identity theft is tool used by criminals in committing a wide variety of crimes. A quick look at our Identity Theft Most Wanted website reveals those wanted for violent crimes often use identity theft as a method of committing their crimes or as a way of running from the law. In addition identity theft is rapidly becoming a preferred tool of organized crime groups. The following story illustrates both of these points.

From Yahoo News:
August 22 -- Local and federal authorities made a sweep of arrests Tuesday in a large identity theft and fraud ring, officials said.
Investigators said the case started with identity theft, but it spread into mortgage fraud, money laundering and possibly drug trafficking all over the country.
"There's large numbers of individuals that were victimized here in the Kansas City area and across the nation," Special Agent Chuck Green said.
An indictment that was unsealed on Tuesday showed 16 people were charged in the case. Almost all of the 16 were taken into custody.
In all, officials said there are about 50 suspects in the case.
The man who allegedly orchestrated the ring is Carlton P. Strother, 38. He was arrested without incident at his home at 36th Street and Chestnut Avenue in Kansas City.
Officials said the suspects would take personal credit information and turn it into forged documents and driver's licenses.
Investigators said Strother had help from people inside at least two local businesses. The indictment claims customer credit information was taken from Jeremy Franklin Suzuki automobile dealership and Hearthside Lending, a real estate loan brokerage. The information was then sold to Strother, according to the indictment.
The indictment claimed the suspects had access to a personal computer that could create a counterfeit Kansas driver's license. It would have name of an identity theft victim, but the picture of one of the conspirators.
The suspects would then use the fraudulent documents to buy items on other people's credit, including real estate transactions, all of which drained millions of dollars from the community, officials said.
"They would go and buy high quality electronics, big screen televisions, computers, different things like that, and then they would bring them back and then they would either have them sold off, take them in payment for making the false ID or other things. We've actually seen them transferred from car to car," Green said. "We approximate about $5 million worth of losses just in this particular area and this group."
Investigators are trying to find out where all the money went.
"We're not sure just exactly where it's all at now, and we've been making some inroads in trying to find out. That's part of what we're doing with the financial investigation -- to trace that money back and see where it all went to," Green said.
Strother was charged with conspiracy, aggravated identity theft and access device fraud. He faces 209 years in prison and $3.25 million in fines.
More arrests are expected in the case.
Car Dealership Employee
One of the people arrested Tuesday, Arlester E. Scott, Jr., worked at the Suzuki dealership in question, KMBC's Peggy Breit reported.
"Les Scott worked for us for a few years and was a trusted employee," said Jeremy Franklin of Franklin Suzuki.
Franklin said he was shocked to learn that Scott was accused of stealing four or five customers' financial information several years ago. Franklin said that couldn't happen any more since new procedures were installed in 2003.
"We have a process called electronic document management now that scans customers' information in and then is shredded, therefore files are not kept anymore," Franklin said.
Investigators have been working on the case for more than four years. The Kansas City Financial Crimes Task Force led the probe, which is headed by the Secret Service.


KnightsBridge Castle has been calling for tougher legislation on identity theft. The penalties for ID theft criminals are virtually non-existent in California with parole for first time offenders and six months in jail for repeat offenders.

On August 10, 2006 the legislature passed into law new regulations requiring the California Department of Justice to keep annual statistics for identity theft arrests.

We anticipate that this important legislation will have no effect on the growing crime of identity theft.

We quote from SB 1390 as signed into law by our Governor: “SECTION 1. Section 13012.6 is added to the Penal Code, to read: 13012.6. The annual report published by the department under Section 13010 shall include information concerning arrests for violations of Section 530.5


Many merchants use caller ID as one of several verification techniques when consumers order goods on the telephone. Typical verification protocols call for two of three tests to be valid before a purchase is approved. These often include caller-ID.

Experienced fraud investigators have known for several years that relying on caller ID is of no real value in authentication. Numerous tools and techniques are available to professional identity thieves for the spoofing of caller ID. Voice over IP systems, as well as “black boxes” allow those willing to buy $100 for hardware or software to present to a caller any caller-ID telephone number they desire.

Now with a service from a new internet site your can buy a “spoof card” for as little as $10. The features of this service include:

Caller ID Spoofing
Voice Changer
Call Recording

The service is offered via an 800 number and the website provides a special bonus service – “In addition, we also offer the ability to change your voice to sound like a man, a women or yourself for FREE.”

Monday, August 28, 2006


The first critical step in stopping the unauthorized or fraudulent use of your Social Security Number (SSN) will seem very strange. Yet it is critical and the consequences of not completing this step can be disastrous.

At KnightsBridge Castle we find that over 35% of the clients that come to us find what the credit bureaus call a “duplicated” use of the SSN. While this can be harmless it can also indicate ongoing fraud. Not resolving an unexplained use can lead to disastrous consequences including IRS tax liens, medical benefits fraud, fraudulent employment, drivers license fraud, arrest warrants, and a wide variety of identity theft crimes. SSN fraud is the most common form of identity theft. More common than credit fraud, and the consequences are far worse than fraud involving credit cards.

The first step is obtaining confirmation from the Social Security Administration (SSA) that the number you believe is your SSN is actually the number assigned to you by the SSA. Your SSN card, your annual statement, and letters addressed to you by the SSA are not enough. You must be absolutely certain that the SSN is yours and that you have a confirmation document from the SSA that will protect you from liability.

Why? Well to start with the SSA has by its own admission duplicated millions and millions of numbers since its inception. Errors within the SSA are appallingly common. Further while the SSA often receives payments into the system from multiple persons using the same SSN it does nothing to investigate or confirm who is the actual account holder. The amount of these false payments indicates the dimension of the problem of SSN fraud - $520,000,000,000 to date! At KnightsBridge Castle we occasionally find people who are absolutely certain that they have memorized their number only to discover that they are off by one digit. Since you cannot afford to be wrong about your number you must be certain – certain to a degree that will stand up in court.

You will need to file a “Numi-dent” with the SSA to obtain a copy of your original application and your SSN assignment. Armed with this document you have the “proof” necessary to proceed against fraudsters. The “Numi-dent” takes about three to six months to process so patience is needed. While waiting for the "Numi-dent" you need to take additional steps to protect yourself. We will cover these steps in a later blog entry.

If you visit your local SSA office you may well encounter the following responses when requesting a “Numi-dent”: (1) What’s a Numi-dent – never hear of it! (2) You don’t need that, your number is ok, I checked. (3) Here is a print our showing your name and number. All of these responses are wrong and may well cause you real harm as you set out to prevent fraud and help catch a fraudster.

Next in Part Three – Determining how your SSN is being used – an error or a fraud?

Part 1 of this series was posted on August 23, 2006.
Additional information on this problem was posted on August 9, 2006

Thursday, August 24, 2006


If you phone Aunt Martha or call your doctor you assume that your phone records are secure to all but perhaps homeland security. However, the privacy of your phone records has always been at risk.

Private investigators, litigants in lawsuits, the curious, and others often obtain these records through fraudulent means. These phone records can then be used to further investigations into a person’s life-style, finances, relationships, employment, and other matters.

The techniques for obtaining phone records by fraudulent means usually take the form of one type of identity theft – impersonation crimes. Those seeking your phone records, present themselves to the phone company by impersonating you and requesting information that they claim has been misplaced or lost – such as a phone bill or other information.

Until recently identity thieves have found this method of accessing phone information frightfully easy. A simple search of the internet will reveal a number of companies who offer these services to consumers.

Be for-warned that the only way these companies can obtain this information for sale is through fraud. However, this week AT&T filed suit against 25 “data brokers” who it claims fraudulently obtained calling records of over 2500 customers. These “data brokers” posed as customers to get records which they then resold to those involved in legal or domestic disputes or just bent on mischief.

AT&T set up a sting operation to identify these internet fraudsters and although this impersonation crime is very widespread, we can hope that this first step by AT&T will give pause to those engaging in these criminal acts. However, given the ease of this impersonation crime, and the lack of real consequences, AT&T's valiant effort will likely have little impact.


One of KnightsBridge Castle's neighbors here in Woodside California is the CEO of Oracle, a leading database company and number 208 on the Fortune 500. In the CEO’s pay package at Oracle is a provision for $1,820,000 for personal security protection. Success in businesses presents new challenges, including the cost of personal information security and protection.

Corporate executives are often the target of identity thieves and occasionally very disturbed persons. Personal security, including identity information security, is of great concern to corporate executives. Executives are what financial planners call “high net worth individuals” and as such they are clear targets for all types of identity theft attacks, scams, and frauds.

Protective services for executives include risk reduction strategies. Some of these strategies are obvious – security cameras, fences at home, and occasionally body guards. Also included in protective services are strategies for increasing personal information security by minimizing or eliminating database entries for these executives. An active program of identifying information entries which pose a risk to security, and the removal of that information is a key part of the strategy. Home address, telephone number, email address, schedule, vacation home, credit records, property ownership records, mailing address, etc., are all eliminated or obscured from public view and in many cases even from private view by other businesses and even government.

A leader in providing executive protection services is Kroll. Kroll’s services are extensive and outstanding – however their comprehensive services are restricted to key employees of the major corporations. We at KnightsBridge Castle like the Kroll executive level services and consider their work excellent and their staff highly ethical.

KnightsBridge Castle offers many of these same personal information risk reduction services directly to consumers including both “high net worth individuals” and consumers struggling to make ends meet.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006


At KnightsBridge Castle our identity theft clients often speculate about how their credit card information was stolen. In most cases they have a very specific incident in mind. In almost every case they are wrong.

A common method of loosing your credit card number and security codes is by “skimming”. Skimming is the theft of credit card information, often by an employee of a legitimate merchant, using a magnetic stripe reader. These devices are commonly available on internet sites and cost about $100 or less. Each skimmer can store hundreds of accounts.

After 9/11 responsibility for credit card crimes was transferred from the FBI to the Secret Service (yes that’s the folks that protect the President and chase counterfeiters). The Secret Service has a limit of $2,000 before investigating each crime. All active credit card criminals know this and keep purchases from any one business below $2,000. The classic fraudulent purchase is a $1900 computer system from someone like Dell. The new computer, fresh from the factory, with warranty and a nice clean box, can be sold on the street (of course no questions asked) for about $800. These credit card crimes invariably cross police department jurisdictions and criminals often are never prosecuted because the dollar amounts are too low and jurisdictional issues abound. For example the card information was skimmed in BigCity, and the card used in LittleTown, (four miles away but with a separate police department). In this case the criminals will rarely be pursued by the police. At KBC we have seen cases where the criminal could be identified, but because the crime was committed in an adjacent town with a different police jurisdiction, the local police would not act.

Our "Identity Theft Most Wanted" blog contains the description of an alleged car thief who may have used skimming to facilitate their crime. The link is on the right of this page.


At KnightsBridge Castle we run an exhaustive check against over 85,000 databases for every client who subscribes to our services. More than 30% of these searches reveal that our clients Social Security Number (SSN) has been compromised – that is: someone other than the client has used the SSN either in error or to commit crimes.

Use of a SSN by another person is all too common. This unauthorized use falls into a spectrum of usage patters. The simplest unauthorized use is what our case specialists call the “one hit wonder”. In the most complex cases we find that a professional identity thief or professional criminal has used the SSN for a long period to commit a wide variety of crimes. Another all too common unauthorized use of the SSN is false employment.

In the simplest unauthorized use, we find that the SSN appeared in our database search at a single point in the past. Often this “one hit wonder” occurred years ago, perhaps on a utility application, and has not appeared again. In many of these “one hit wonder” cases the original applicant for the utility services probably wrote his SSN in error although fraud may still have been their intent. A second example of the “one hit wonder” is the transposition error. Transposition errors are fairly simple to detect. In both of these simple cases, some investigation is required, however continued monitoring of the use of the SSN is often all that is recommended to the client.

At the other end of the spectrum the unauthorized use of the SSN is the result of a professional criminal activity. In situations where professional identity theft is detected, our case specialists (using a variety of database tools) will seek to identify the person using the unauthorized SSN. With the power of our eye-spy™ system we are very successful at identifying many of these offenders.

In these criminal cases a specific set of activities must be taken to stop the criminal activity. We will discuss this specific activity in a part two.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006


  1. The Bank of America has recently released its 2006 Online Fraud Report. Here is a summary of the findings:

    --Eight in ten Americans use the internet to conduct financial transactions.
    --66% of consumers are very worried about giving out personal information to a fake website or having hackers steal financial information from their computer.
    --87% feel confident in their ability to recognize fake email – but 61% of them failed to correctly identity real or legitimate email.
    --58% of the survey was vulnerable to using phishing websites because they relayed on logos and symbols as cues for the legitimacy of the website. Padlock symbols were frequently cited as indicators of a safe site.
    --Over 80% of consumers know not to open unsolicited emails without the proper security software and caution. However 80% of consumers do not practice most key security measures.

    The full report may be found at:


I thought I would share with our readers our first email of the morning. How many gramatical errors or inconstancies can you find?

Mr. Hans DouglasSupport Centre ACN House ACWGLII 3098AA NLTel: +31 (02)620 282 459Fax: +31 (02)847 305 161Email:
We happily announce to you the draw (#548) of the ACN e-Lottery Syndicate Multi-Win System,online program held on 18th August 2006.
Your e-mailaddress attached to ticket number: 67371600545 188 with Serial number 5008/06 drew the lucky numbers: 13 14 09 22 121315 (bonus no.24)which subsequently won you the lottery in the 2nd category i.e match 5 plus bonus.
You have therefore been approved to claim a total sum of £540,000,000.00 (Five hundred and forty one thousand,and Euro)in cash credited to file KTU/9023118308/06. Access support from your sponsor and head officer Via Email: Mr. Hans Douglas ACN e-Lottery Syndicate©
Multi-Win System

Tuesday, August 15, 2006


Eric Drew, founder of KnightsBridge Castle, will be speaking to the Sierra Nevada chapter of InfraGard on October 19, 2006. Eric will address Identity Theft prevention, detection, and recovery. In addition he will be sharing his insights on exposure to identity theft within the medical community.
InfraGard is a Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) program for establishing cooperation between the private sector and law enforcement. InfraGard is an information sharing and analysis effort and combines the knowledge base of a wide range of members. InfraGard is a partnership between the FBI and the private sector. InfraGard is an association of businesses, academic institutions, state and local law enforcement agencies, and other participants dedicated to sharing information and intelligence to prevent hostile acts against the United States. InfraGard Chapters are geographically linked with FBI Field Office territories. Each InfraGard Chapter has an FBI Special Agent Coordinator assigned to it, and the FBI Coordinator works closely with Supervisory Special Agent Program Managers in the Cyber Division at FBI Headquarters in Washington, D.C

Monday, August 14, 2006


The greatest number of identity theft attacks occurs against young adults and particularly college students. While the financial impact of these attacks is relatively small, the impact in time can be very large. Identity thieves steal not only money - they steal name, reputation, and time. They also can steal a student's future. Identity thieves literally steals who you are, and it can seriously jeopardize your future including your employment prospects.
Of the eighty crimes of identity theft young adults find themselves victimized by not only credit crimes, but also by impersonation crimes. Credit crimes can be easily repaired (although often at a great cost of time and worry), however unaddressed impersonation crimes, such as social security number hijacking, benefits fraud, graduate records hijacking, and DMV fraud, may last a lifetime.
In fact a student may be more vulnerable to identity theft than others because of the availability of personal data and the way many students handle this data. Almost half of all college students receive credit card applications on a daily or weekly basis. Many of these students throw out card applications without destroying them.
At KnightsBridge Castle our case specialists have these observations about college students.

Nearly a third of students rarely, if ever, reconcile their credit card and checking account balances.

Almost 50 percent of students have had grades posted by Social Security number.

Students are often away from their incoming mail for weeks at a time, providing identity thieves with critical time to commit crimes undetected.

Students leave personal information such as driver’s licenses and other data lying about in unsecured areas.

Students tend to be trusting.

Students do not believe that it will happen to them.

The idea that someone might steal the student's college credentials or CV for false employment or professional license qualificaiton does not occur to them


Shiva Brent Sharma is an 18 year old identity thief who has stolen over $150,000 in cash and merchandise in his short history as an identity thief. He started stealing identities the old fashioned way was but quickly moved to technology based theft. His story and his techniques for identity theft are valuable in preventing and detecting this crime.

Sharma is the subject of a very interesting article in the New York Times and a video feed is available. To access the feed please go this link: (you will need to register with the NYT for the full story and video access - its free!)

Posted by Tim Logan

Friday, August 11, 2006


New "phishing" scams have been detected against the following businesses during this week:

--Hawaiian Federal Credit Union
--First National Bank of Greencastle
--Penn State Federal Credit Unioon
--Austin Federal Credit Union

Posted by Tim Logan


Eric Drew’s recent interview on the CNBC show “The Big Idea” is now available on the internet at the location posted below. “The program really outlined my experiences in fighting both identity theft and a deadly disease,” said Eric who is a founder of KnightsBridge Castle. “The interview provides a good picture of why I am dedicated to fighting this awful crime. Now, in a new chapter of my life, I am committed to helping others fight identity theft in all its forms” concluded Eric Drew.

Posted by Tim Logan


InfraGard is a Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) program for the protection of the people of the United States. InfraGard is an information sharing and analysis effort serving the public interest and combining the knowledge base of a wide range of members. InfraGard is a cooperative partnership between the FBI and the private sector. InfraGard is an association of businesses, academic institutions, state and local law enforcement agencies, and other participants dedicated to sharing information and intelligence to prevent crime and hostile acts against the people of the United States. InfraGard Chapters are geographically linked with FBI Field Office territories. Each InfraGard Chapter has an FBI Special Agent Coordinator assigned to it, and the FBI Coordinator works closely with Supervisory Special Agent Program Managers in the Cyber Division at FBI Headquarters in Washington, D.C. InrfaGard members are certified and accredited by the FBI.

"At KnightsBridge Castle we are proud to participate in InfraGard and to have the opportunity to work with all levels of law enforcement in the prevention, detection, and recovery from the many crimes of identity theft", said KnightsBridge Castle executive Tim Logan. "Only through cooperation and coordinated action can we put a dent in this malicious crime", he concluded.

Posted by Eric Drew

Thursday, August 10, 2006


Tim Logan, CEO and Co-Founder of KnightsBridge Castle has been admitted to membership in the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE). The ACFE is the leading professional organization for the prevention, detection, deterrence and investigation of fraud. ACFE membership provides Tim and KnightsBridge Castle with a new set of tools and resources for fighting the 80 crimes of identity theft. The resources of the ACFE include professional certification, access to the ACFE Fraud Resources Center, seminars in new and emerging fraud techniques, and access to other ACFE members who are committed to fighting crime.

Posted by Eric Drew

Wednesday, August 09, 2006


Anyone with a "legitimate business need" can retrieve to your credit history from the three credit bureaus. Those who regularly access your credit reports are:

  • --Companies or individuals considering granting you credit – with or without a application for credit signed by you!
    --Any Government agency
    --Insurance Companies
    --Employers or potential employers (your consent is required)
    --Companies with which your have a credit relationship.

Those without "legitimate business needs" also want your credit reports. In recent months identity thieves have been accessing credit bureau reports, either by purchasing the data or using the free annual credit report provision of the law.

Checking your credit report is an important step in protecting yourself against the 20% to 25% of identity thefts that occurs as “credit card" and "loan finance fraud".

To get your free annual credit report use ONLY this website --

Other websites, often operated by the three credit bureaus under a variety of guises, will try to sell you a credit report for which you have free access. In fact, one of the credit bureaus was recently fined over $1,000,000 for defrauding over 10,000,000 consumers by asking for credit card information as a verification process and then charging consumers $10 a month for their credit reports.


July 13, 2006 -- Seattle -- Following a four-year investigation police identified an identity theft ring across several States. The scheme consisted of two parts: first, the suspects obtained genuine government identification cards using fraudulent documents such as a Social Security Card and number; then used the fictitious identities to defraud numerous financial institutions and merchants. The investigation identified that the scheme’s ringleader and his daughter provided false supporting documentation to several State licensing agencies, which issued identification documents to co-conspirators in aliases using other individuals’ SSNs. Agents recovered approximately 200 false supporting documents, including birth certificates, military discharge documentation, rental agreements and marriage licenses. Using the victims’ SSNs and false identification, these individuals were able to open bank accounts, write bad checks to merchants, and withdraw cash from victims’ banks. The estimated fraud loss from this scheme is $2,000,000 in bank fraud and merchant fraud.

Posted by Mark Otto


In Congressional testimony on 7/26/06 covered by CSPAN Congressman Xavier Becerra revealed that the total amount of payments to the Social Security Administration by illegally employed persons fraudulently using another persons Social Security Number exceeded $520 billion. Since these over-contributions are the result of fraudulent employment (often by undocumented workers or illegal aliens) the funds are unlikely to ever be paid in benefits.

KnightsBridge Castle finds that over 30% of all the identity thefts reported to us for recovery are as a result of false employment by identity theft using our client’s social security number. The consequences of continued fraudulent use of your SSN can be catastrophic if left unresolved. Often the IRS will detect that your SSN (used as your taxpayer ID) is used for several jobs and that your income tax payments were for only one job. Tax liens often follow. Other crimes are also facilitated by the use of a SSN in fraudulent employment such as medical insurance fraud, driver’s license fraud, loan fraud, and fraudulent property transactions.


Most websites and identity theft recovery programs advise you to report the fraudulent use of your Social Security Number if used to seek fraudulent employment to the Social Security Administration.

Unfortunately, the SSA will not investigate false employment using your SSN. With respect to the most common form of identity theft, false employment using another’s SSN, the SSA is unwilling to investigate or prosecute. Only if the fraudulent use of your SSN involves “benefits” fraud will the SSA investigate. Benefits fraud is defined as payments from the federal treasury to a beneficiary who is not entitled to those payments. Fraudulent payments into the treasury by those employed using your SSN is not considered benefits fraud.

Here is what the SSA Office of Inspector General says it will investigate if fraud is reported.

“There are a variety of situations that may be considered fraud in our SSA programs. Some examples are:

  • Receives Social Security Benefits for a Child Not under their care.
  • Continues to Receive and Use Benefits Belonging to a Deceased Person.
  • Conceals their Marriage or Assets from SSA While Receiving Disability
  • Benefits. Resides Overseas and is Receiving Disability Benefits”

    You will note that false employment using your SSN is not mentioned by the SSA Office of Inspector General!

At KnightsBridge Castle we have a very effective solution to shutting down identity theives who are using your SSN. We will discuss this technique in a future posting.

Posted by Tim Logan

Tuesday, August 08, 2006


The Case of the Purloined Phone Number
Client contacted KnightsBridge Castle after receiving a new credit card he did not request. Upon notification of a fraud to the credit issuing bank, the fraud department of the bank admitted that the charges were fraudulent.

The client activated a “fraud alert” on his credit. Computer equipment, and other items of immediate resale value, had been purchased and shipped to another address using the fraudulent credit card.

Using KnightsBridge Castle's RapidResponder system we learned that seven fraudulent new credit cards had been issued over a two week period. In addition identity thieves had been ordering credit reports from the credit bureaus to facilitate their theft. Upon examining our proprietary eye-spy database, KBC case specialists noted that the phone number placed in the credit bureau file had been changed from the client’s home number to a new telephone number. The new number was traced to two separate pre-paid cell phone numbers. The identity thieves had detected the fraud alert and then changed the alert telephone number with the credit bureau. With this ploy, credit issuers were phoning the credit thieves to verify the application for new credit as valid.

Following our customized action plans, and with the assistance of the local police department, the client was able to shut the criminals down cold. His credit records are now locked and inaccessible to the thieves. Eye-spy is constantly monitoring financial databases, personal information databases, and other sources of information for any identity theft activity.

Posted by Tim Logan


Summary of Investigation:

(Photos: left - ring leader, right - one of four accomplices)

(Names Withheld Pending Conviction)

Five individuals believed to have been flown to Chicago by an identity theft ring leader opened multiple checking accounts using assumed business names along with stolen identities from California residents. Virtual office suites were opened in January 2006 in the Chicago area. At the same time these individuals began opening business checking accounts all within days of each other at different branches. Each account was opened with $100 cash. The suspects waited over 30 days then began depositing counterfeit checks into these accounts and withdrawing cash.

To date approximately $160,000.00 of losses can be attributed to this group in the Chicago area. In February of this year the group leader and part of this group flew to Nashville, TN and began opening accounts to perpetrate the same scheme in the Nashville area before local Police intervened. Investigators have advised this crew has also been very active in the Los Angeles area perpetrating similar types of fraud.

On 06/11/2006 Detectives from the Naperville Police Department flew to Los Angeles California with arrests warrants for four of the suspects.. All four subjects were taken into custody and interviewed on June 12th and 13th. All four subjects implicated the (Name Withheld) as the leader of this group. On the evening of June 13th the leader of the group was taken into custody with the assistance of the U.S. Marshals Service in Anaheim California. Earlier in the day the DuPage County State's Attorney's Office had approved felony charges against the leader for his involvement in this scheme.

ALERT -- YOU WIN , YOU LOOSE - $280,000

The above fraudulent check is being passed around the US as part of two schemes, the "Canadian Lottery" scheme, and a non-profit donation scheme:

Scam Details:

On 7/27/06, iQ Credit Union's Phone Branch received a phone call from Baltimore, MD. verifying funds on a cashier's check for $3,450 that a person was presenting. The person had received a letter and this check in the mail. The letter informed her that she had won $2 million dollars but that she would need to share the amount with 40 other winners. The enclosed check was an advance of her winnings that she that use to pay taxes and fees on her winnings. The letter said that she needed to obtain a money order for $3,450 for the taxes and fees and mail it to a Canadian address listed in the letter.

On 7/28/06, iQ Credit Union's Phone Branch received three additional phone calls from difference non-profit organizations in the US all of which have received one of these counterfeit cashier's checks for $280,000.00. All three letters from SBSC International to the non-profits are the same with the only difference being the name and address of the non-profit it was sent to. When called the phone number listed on letter for SBSC a recording picks up and asks you to leave a message.iQ does not use Integrated Payment Systems for their checks. When iQ's Internal Auditor called this number, a man with an accent answered the phone by saying iQ Credit Union. He said that he worked for iQ at their branch #7 in Battle Ground, WA (but he could not tell us what state WA was – he actually said "W" "A" for the state. Investigators gave him the check number and he verified that it was for $3,450. He said it was a good check. The man said his name was Sam Thomas. When asked whose signature was on the check he replied Thomas W. Wang. A reverse phone lookup on the internet for the phone number – it is a landline based in Drummondville, Quebec, Canada.

iQ Credit Union has not experienced a loss from this scam to date. However, we believe that there are many more checks in circulation with this same scam.


The Immigration and Customs Enforcement SAC Dallas Office of Investigations is currently conducting a criminal investigation into aggravated identity theft in which the above individual (SEE PHOTO) assumed the identity of A.J. (Name Witheld)

The imposter has obtained the above-mentioned documents by assuming the name and identity of AJ (Name Witheld). Subject has assumed the identity of AJ DOB 12/08/1976, as well as victim's Social Security Number XXX-XX-XXX . Subject is a citizen and national of Pakistan and appears to have obtained various lines of credit under the victim's assumed identity. Subject has lived in the following areas.

Subject obtained a State of Maryland Driver License, (witheld), by fraud in 1999. Subject provided the address of (Witheld) Pikesville, Maryland 21208. Subject obtained a State of Ohio Driver License, (Witheld), by fraud in 2005. Subject provided the address of (witheld) Columbus, Ohio 43207. Information is being requested from financial institutions and other law enforcement agencies, which may have information about current accounts or fraud reports in which the above subject opened bank accounts or reports of fraudulent checks being passed by the above subject.


The Federal Trade Commission has all of 14 people working on Identity Theft issues and they spend a good deal of time proclaiming the government’s efforts on fighting identity theft crimes.

Their most significant claim is that their database of identity theft crimes, called “Consumer Sentinel” has helped law enforcement put criminals in jail. This database consists of the information captured by consumers who have filled out the FTC’s Identity Theft Affidavit. While, we at KnightsBridge Castle advise victims to fill out the FTC Affidavit in preparation for filing a police report and contacting creditors, we find the value of the affidavit in catching criminals is questionable.

The FTC makes the following claim for Sentinel –“Consumer Sentinel has a restricted-access site that allows law enforcement agencies access to hundreds of thousands of complaints from consumers about identity theft and Internet cons, telemarketing scams and other frauds. In just the last two years, law enforcers using Consumer Sentinel have brought hundreds of cases and returned millions of dollars to consumers.”

We have spoken with the fraud investigators of the major police departments in the Bay Area of California. KnightsBridge Castle regularly meets with both the federal crimes task forces and with police department fraud coordination teams. These fraud investigators, who are few in number and cover identity crimes affecting more than 6,500,000 people, have never heard of the Sentinel database. Police fraud investigators in the Bay Area tell us they have never accessed the database, they have not been trained in its use, and when informed of the database and its contents, they find no real value in consulting the resource. Raw data from victims without review by police and criminologists is of no real value in fighting crime. The presence of the Sentinel database may make victims feel better, and help the FTC’s public image; however the utility of the actual database is very low.

On the other hand, if the FTC claim is true -- that is that they have helped hundreds of cases in two years -- lets say 999 cases, then the hit rate against 17,000,000 crimes reported in two years is about 0.000058

Monday, August 07, 2006


August 4, 2006 -- A man with a criminal record was arrested today for impersonating an attorney in Pennsylvania after stealing the identify of a lawyer with the same name.
Jeffrey P. Riddell, 40, of Hershey, has never held a law license in Pennsylvania, but claimed to be another attorney with the same first and last names, authorities said. At the time, the real attorney was living in another country.

Riddle was arrested and has been charged with identity theft and license fraud.

Posted by Dr. Richard Blum


Spyware thieves recently inserted spyware into MySpace which seriously compromised the identity information of over a million MySpace users. The spyware was maliciously placed in ads and when displayed on a PC moved to infect the PC with spyware. MySpace did not detect the problem until over one million downloads had occurred. MySpace management called the attack a “criminal act.”

Spyware is a type of malicious program that watches what users do with their computer and then send this information over the internet to those who planted the spyware. Spyware can collect many different types of information about a user including password information used on the computer for banking and other transactions, key logging for recreating PC user sessions, and the capture of any other information stored on a PC.

Posted by Dr. Richard Blum


Identity thieves not only hit consumers, but also often assume the identity of professionals in order to hijack their professional credentials and licenses. An example recently occurred in New York when Attorney General Eliot Spitzer announced the indictment of a Bronx man who sold insurance policies using another man’s name. The 34-count indictment charges the defendant with identity theft, scheme to defraud, grand larceny, forgery, offering a false instrument for filing, falsifying business records, and unlawful duplication of computer related material.

The scheme began in 1993 when the thief first took the state insurance licensing exams on separate dates under his own name and under another man’s name. The defendant then placed thousands of policy applications with over 20 insurance companies in the name of the second individual. For more than ten years, the defendant took continuing education courses while pretending to be the other person, periodically renewed the broker’s license that he held in that second person’s name, appeared at Insurance Department disciplinary proceedings as that individual, and appropriated at least $300,000 in commissions that the insurance companies sent to the defendants business address in the name of the other individual.

This case is described in some detail in the 2006 New York State 5 Year Auto Insurance Fraud Report. The report may be found at:

Posted by Tim Logan

Friday, August 04, 2006


The General Services Administration, Office of Citizens Services & Communications is warning the public to avoid falling victim to a recent e-mail scheme that targets users by sending unsolicited e-mails allegedly from FirstGov, the citizen portal operated by GSA.

These scam e-mails tell recipients that because of recent fraudulent activities on Money Access Online they need to confirm their account has not been stolen or hacked. The e-mails then direct recipients to click on a link and enter information related to personal credit card accounts. The e-mail then sends your personal information to identity thieves, not to the US Government.

Posted by Dr. Richard Blum


Eric Drew, founder of KnightsBridge Castle and national advocate for identity theft prevention and recovery, will present his recommendations for improved cooperation between consumer advocacy groups, business, and government in reducing identity theft crimes to the Santa Clara County Consumer Advisory Commission.

“Only by working more closely together, and coordinating our efforts, can government, business, consumer advocates and victims of this dreadful crime begin to turn the tide on this growing menace,” said Eric. “We have been working closely with local police departments in Santa Clara County and with victims, and have noticed that government’s reluctance to engage businesses in defeating identity theft is actually hurting victim recovery and police enforcement. We are all in this together, and we must work more closely together to stop this crime wave”. Eric concluded.

About the Santa Clara County Consumer Advisory Commission -- The Commission is composed of 11 members, appointed by the Board of Supervisors, with a term of three years. The duties of the Commission are to assist and advise the Director of Consumer Affairs related to the interests of consumers; to consult and cooperate with various agencies to prevent duplication of efforts in the field of consumer protection; and to receive complaints and inquiries from consumers regarding deceptive or unfair trade practices in the County. Meetings are held on the fourth Monday of each month at 7:00 PM at the County Government Center.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006


Many of you have written to find out how to view Eric Drew’s story as seen on NBC’s Dateline program. The video feed is no longer available on the web. However you can learn more about Eric and his remarkable victory over identity theft at the MSNBC website.


Consumers have a new tool to fight against credit fraud – the credit bureau Security Freeze.

The Security Freeze provided by law in over 24 states, and allows consumers to lock down their credit records and prevent the three credit bureaus from selling the credit information to credit grantors. Many credit grantors will not approve new credit applications if they cannot obtain a credit bureau record of the consumer’s credit history.

Security Freezes, often called Credit Freezes, are opposed by the credit bureaus, because they cannot sell the information to others wanting to offer pre-approved credit, magazine subscriptions or new car deals. Security freezes prevent the credit bureaus from making profits by selling your personal information. They have in recent months been working hard throught their lobbying organizations in Washington to eliminate these state laws.

KnightsBridge Castle advises all consumers, who do not need instant credit, to obtain a security freeze. While not perfect, a security freeze makes it difficult for identity thieves to have false credit granted.

The flaw in credit security freezes is that many companies will issue credit first and seek a credit bureau credit check later. Merchants, offering “Instant Store” credit often grant new cards and accounts to consumers ready to purchase products at a store location. Unfortunately many of these consumers are really identity thieves.

At KnightsBridge Castle we have worked with consumers who had more than 27 in store “instant credit” applications filed with merchants in a short period. The work of professional identity theft rings using multiple thieves to attack store credit was successful in eleven of these attempts. After shutting down the fraudulent credit accounts KnightsBridge Castle case specialists discovered that credit checks were performed on the “instant credit” accounts from three to seven days after the accounts were activated and “maxed out.”


Credit monitoring services offered by the credit bureaus are increasingly popular with consumers seeking to protect themselves from identity theft. Unfortunately credit monitoring services do not prevent identity theft. The limitations of this expensive service should be well understood by consumers before purchasing a service providing little or no real protection.

Credit monitoring is designed to inform you of changes to your credit bureau records as they occur. However these systems contain significant lag times – often weeks or months, before changes are detected by these systems. Credit grantors do not immediately report new credit cards to the bureaus. New card issues are batched and processed often 30 to 60 days after granting.

In KnightsBridge Castle’s experience, and in the experiences of leading consumer advocates, the probability of notification of a new credit account before the consumer is contacted by a collection agency is low. In other words, the delay in notifying the credit bureau of a new credit card, creates a situation where a credit card collection agency is likely to be the first indication you have of a credit fraud.

Credit monitoring does nothing to prevent over 80 identity crimes, such as false employment fraud using your Social Security Number, tax fraud, medical benefits fraud, property frauds, drivers license fraud, and many other identity crimes. Strangely ATM fraud and bank fraud (such as forged checks) are not covered by credit monitoring services!

The Fatal Flaw – Credit monitoring is like a fire alarm that goes off after the house had burned to the ground. Its too little, for too much money, and its way too late.


Fraud alerts are placed by consumers in their credit bureau files and are intended to warn new credit grantors, such as credit card providers, of the potential of fraudulent activity in the consumers account.

Fraud alerts have several serious flaws about which consumers are unaware. In addition fraud alerts have one fatal flaw.

Fraud alerts “advise” credit grantors to phone you before granting credit. The purpose of the phone call is to validate your application for credit. Unfortunately, phoning consumers to validate this information is not a legal requirement to granting credit. The phone call is advisory only – there is no legal requirement for the credit grantor to actually call. In our experience at KnightsBridge Castle, fewer than 50% of new credit applications result in a call. Credit grantors simply find a short telephone call too burdensome in granting immediate credit to consumers.

A second flaw of fraud alerts is that unless you claim to be a victim of identity theft, your fraud alert duration is limited to three to six months.

The Fatal Flaw of Fraud Alerts – In recent months KnightsBridge Castle has assisted clients with fraud alerts that do not seem to be working. The flaw – criminals are phoning the credit bureaus and changing the telephone numbers. Of the few credit grantors who actually call, the credit card companies find themselves asking for credit application verification from the thieves who have stolen the consumer’s identity!

(NOTE: KnightsBridge Castle does not reveal details of criminal activity not already known by identity thieves – we provide information only to assist our readers in understanding the full risk of identity crimes and the inadequate protections currently available from our institutions)


Welcome to our Identity Theft expert resources blog site – a service of KnightsBridge Castle.

We are available to assist you in the prevention, detection, and recovery from over 80 crimes of identity theft.

Identity theft encompasses many crimes and few resources are available to deal with the many faces of this crime. If you need help with employment fraud, medical benefits fraud, credit fraud, check forgery, drivers license fraud, or many other crimes of identity theft please ask our panel of experts.

Eric Drew – Nationally recognized spokesman for Identity Theft Victims. Featured on CNBC, NBC Dateline, MSNBC, and in extensive press coverage. Learn from Eric’s hard won techniques of identity theft recovery.

Tim Logan – identity fraud specialist with a wealth of knowledge about cyber crime and cyber abuse. Published author of the “Identity Theft Resource Guide” and articles for West Publishing (a leading legal publisher) on electronic document discovery.

Dr. Richard Blum – Stanford and Cambridge University Professor of Law and Medicine and expert on financial crimes. Author of over 80 books and articles on criminology.

Mark Otto – Case specialist at KbightsBridge Castle – an expert on everyday crime fighting from the trenches. Mark is an expert on detection and recovery and a leader in detecting new trends in identity theft.

Posted by Tim Logan

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