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I'm Emmitt Smith

The FBI, finally doing something useful, arrested several people involved in a huge identity theft scheme.

An identity-theft ring that relied on a low-level employee of a Long Island software company stole the credit histories of more than 30,000 people and used them to empty bank accounts, take out false loans and run up charges on credit cards, among other crimes, federal authorities in Manhattan said yesterday.

This is believed to be the largest-ever identity-theft case in the nation, federal officials said yesterday, in terms of the number of victims, the type of detailed personal information about them that was stolen and the losses at least $2.7 million and likely to climb much higher. The authorities were still trying to determine how many of the 30,000 victims suffered financial losses.

Note that with all the hype over internet security, with credit card companies devoting commercial after commercial to assuring us that we can shop online safely without having to worry about hackers, this was a simple old-fashioned approach. These criminals simply used an inside source to acquire credit histories, and then either opened new accounts or accessed existing ones. It's just another sign that worries about new technology are generally overstated. The worst case scenarios rarely happen; why bother hacking into Amazon.com to steal someone's credit card number when there are so many common, everyday, low-tech ways to get one? And yet people get hysterical over possible new dangers, while accepting existing ones matter-of-factly.

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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on November 26, 2002 4:45 AM.

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