Sunday, November 9, 2008

Police Break Up Identity Theft Ring - - 01 Nov 08

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Metro police are in the middle of breaking up an identity theft ring.

The scam could cost you and your bank thousands of dollars.

Two people are in jail, but police hope the public can help them find three other suspects.

The scam runs from Florida all the way to Kentucky.

In photos were taken by a bank security camera at a bank drive-thru window, police said, the suspects are seen cashing a stolen check.

"When they come to Nashville they're hitting about 14 to 15 times a day at various banks," said Mike Park, a detective who works in the Metro Police fraud unit.

Each time the check was worth about $2,000 and it added up to about $30,000 a day.

It's a fraud case Park has been working on since July.

Fabio Fonseca and Camille Sanzeri are under arrest. Police said Fonseca and Sanzeri are part of a five-person identity theft ring operating out of south Florida.

Three other suspects who are not in custody are accused of handling the identity theft.

"Their job was to break into vehicles in parking lots and steal IDs and checkbooks," Park said. "Once they got the checkbook they'd pass it to the male and female suspects who would cash checks at area banks."

One bank has lost close to $48,000.

Police said the group has been stealing IDs and cashing stolen checks in several states. Most of the identity theft victims will be reimbursed by their banks.

"Where the check was cashed that's who's going to take the hit because it wasn't the person cashing it, so of course that's handed down to the customer, of course," Park said.

A bank official said most banks are insured against fraud, but losses affect insurance premiums and in the end consumers all end up paying the price.

Park said the scam depends on two victims: The person whose checkbook was stolen and the other person whose ID was stolen.

Park said the woman involved in the ring wears a wig to try to resemble the victim whose identification she is assuming.

When someone other than you cashes a check on your account, the bank does not always have to take the loss. Federal law says an account holder has 30 days after receiving a bank statement to report a discrepancy. If they don't, the bank is not obligated to pay them. That's why it's important to balance your checkbook each month.

1 comment:

ron said...

Nice article.

You know, there's as many ways to steal as there are creative thieves! They are now able to simply walk into a crowd and walk out with all the accounts they need!

Check it out. Google these terms and see what I mean:
1) "The Johnny Carson Attack"
2) "RFID Hacking"
Then, learn why you don't hear about it on the majors:
3) "Adam Savage @ HOPE"

How about an article on this threat to inform your readers?

Ron Hatton
Co-Founder and Developer
The Armadillo Dollar