st stephens cathedral ViennnaSt Stephens Cathedral in the center of historic Vienna.

Sean Fraser agrees with Mercer’s report.

Vienna is the city with the world’s best quality of living, according to the Mercer 2014 Quality of Living rankings, in which European cities dominate. Zurich and Auckland follow in second and third place, respectively. Munich is in fourth place, followed by Vancouver, which is also the highest-ranking city in North America.

Ranking 25 globally, Singapore is the highest-ranking Asian city, whereas Dubai (73) ranks first across Middle East and Africa. The city of Pointe-à-Pitre (69), Guadeloupe, takes the top spot for Central and South America.

Mercer conducts its Quality of Living survey annually to help multinational companies and other employers compensate employees fairly when placing them on international assignments. Two common incentives include a quality-of-living allowance and a mobility premium.

A quality-of-living or “hardship” allowance compensates for a decrease in the quality of living between home and host locations, whereas a mobility premium simply compensates for the inconvenience of being uprooted and having to work in another country. Mercer’s Quality of Living reports provide valuable information and hardship premium recommendations for over 460 cities throughout the world, the ranking covers 223 of these cities.


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If your identity has been accessed it is easy for criminals to quickly open multiple lines of credit and perpetrate “bust-out schemes.”

The fraudster creates new credit cards and then immediately uses the credit cards to buy gift cards at various department stores which are then sold on various online websites where they can get up to 80-90% of face value.

The criminals who commit identity theft walk away with the profits and are unable to be traced.

If you believe you are the victim of identity theft, the first person you should contact is the credit bureaus and they will put an alert on your accounts.

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In 2013, identity theft retained its No. 1 spot on the Federal Trade Commission’s national ranking of consumer complaints. That same year, American consumers reported losing more than $1.6 billion to fraud, according to the FTC’s annual report on consumer complaints.

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Original story by Tim Ring February 04, 2014
For Full Story click here

Respected security researcher Nart Villeneuve has controversially declared that Eastern European cyber criminal gangs – responsible for the recent attacks on Target and other major retailers – are relatively safe from arrest and prosecution.

His view has been backed by former Met Police Computer Crime Unit detective Adrian Culley, now a global security consultant with Damballa, who says the industry is rife with rumours that Russian organised crime groups have been offered immunity from prosecution by the Russian authorities, as long as they do not attack Russian citizens.

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By Mai Camille

People all over the world have been affected by the horrors of cyber crime. It’s a term that covers a broad scope of criminal activity using a computer. It includes identity theft, financial fraud, identity defacement and cyber-bullying. It can also involve the hacking of someone’s account and money scams.

Unfortunately, I encountered all of these crimes at one go by an unidentified criminal or ‘an organised gang’ as it liked to call itself. Click here to read this interesting and informative story.

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There is a massive world-wide trade in forged and stolen passports and identity theft. The recent disappearance of the Malaysian airliner highlights this situation.

Malaysia’s police chief said on Tuesday that one of the two men holding false passports who boarded the Malaysian airliner that vanished last week was an Iranian national.

The identity of the other man was being investigated, Inspector General Khalid Abu Bakar told a news conference.

The tickets of the two men traveling with fake passports on Malaysia Airlines flight MH 370 were purchased by an Iranian man in Tehran, according to a report by The Financial Times on Monday.

The tickets for the flight, which disappeared off the coast of Vietnam on Saturday, were booked by a Mr. Ali through the Thai travel agency Horizon Travel. The agency has stated that Mr. Ali was a businessman who has worked with them for the past three years.

Originally Mr. Ali asked to book both tickets for “friends” on the cheapest flights – two separate flights at the time. However, he did not confirm the purchase and was forced to re-order.

The travel agency said that the second time both tickets were booked on Malaysia Airlines because they were the cheapest flights at the time. The end destination for both passengers was Europe.

According to Malasyian Minister of Defense Hishamuddin Hussein, photographs of both of the men traveling under false identities were been revealed to US officials in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Speculation has been raised as to the possibility of a terror-motivated hijacking, although no supporting evidence has been discovered. The fact that some of the electronic signal evidence shows the plane may have attempted to turn back towards Kuala Lumpur points to a technical problem rather than terrorism.

A senior Malaysian police official stated that in the past, “We have stopped men with false or stolen passports and carrying explosives, who have tried to get past KLIA (airport) security and get on to a plane.” He added, “There have been two or three incidents, but I will not divulge the details.”

Interpol confirmed on Sunday that at least two passengers used stolen passports and said it was checking whether others on board had used false identity documents.

Authorities have stated that stolen passports and immigration fraud are common in Asia, where illegal activities such as drug smuggling often involve the use of stolen passports.

Airport authorities in Malaysia have confirmed that both passengers underwent full security examinations including X-Ray, along with all the passengers aboard the missing plane.

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Original Story on Wink News 6th March 2014

If you were one of the millions of victims of the recent raid of payment card and personal information at Target stores, there is now an additional reason for concern. Target says it is offering “peace of mind” against the threat of identity theft with free credit monitoring from Experian. But Consumer Reports says that’s not enough.

The problem is each of the three major credit bureaus — Equifax, TransUnion and Experian — can collect different information. So unless you’re checking all of them, you can miss someone trying to steal your identity and open new credit.

Consumer Reports says data breaches are an ongoing threat. To better protect yourself against ID theft and fraud not only get credit reports from all three credit bureaus, but consider having them place a security freeze on your credit file. A security freeze is one of the best protections. It blocks access to your credit information and makes it more difficult for a crook to open a new account under your name.

Experts encourage you to routinely monitor your legitimate accounts for fraudulent activity. Consumer Reports says to be especially vigilant about your debit card. If it is compromised, thieves can raid your bank accounts. That can create a cascade of issues including bounced checks, extra fees and cash flow problems.

Consumer Reports says most of the security protections you can put in place yourself are free or low cost, so there is no need to get expensive data monitoring services. For more advice on how to protect yourself against identity theft go to the Federal Trade Commission’s website at and search “identity theft.”

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Original Post: Mar 07, 2014 11:36 AM
By Laura Evans, @lauraevansfox5

There has been an increase in the number of Americans who fell victim to identity theft in 2013. A new report released by the Consumer Federation of America shows more than 13 million Americans were impacted by identity theft-related crimes last year. That is an increase of more than 500,000 over 2012.

The most common case involved people’s accounts being completely taken over. Identity theft — simply put — is when someone steals your personal information and pretends to be you. Once they have your information, they can do many things such as emptying your bank account, getting medical attention or even obtaining your tax refunds under your name.

Susan Grant, Director of Consumer Protection at the Consumer Federation of America, said with several targets for thieves, including computers and tablets, people need to be more careful than ever with their information.
“There are lots of different ways that ID theft happens,” said Grant. “If it’s because of data breaches, there’s not much consumers can do about that. But I think that people are not being as careful as they should be when they’re using their smartphones, laptops, tablets or other devices, especially when they’re doing very personal activities like shopping or banking.”

So what are some things you can do to prevent identity theft? You can start by not posting your personal information online, using strong passwords to lock your accounts and devices, and by downloading apps and programs only from trusted sources.

The Consumer Federation of America released several new videos that will show you what can happen if your identity is stolen. To view them, go to here

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Source of story  FBI

Twenty-four defendants with ties to powerful Italian organized crime syndicate known as the ‘Ndrangheta arrested in coordinated U.S.-Italian Takedown.

‘Ndrangheta member, Gambino, an associate Bonanno, and four others were charged in United States with drug trafficking, money laundering, and firearms offenses.Investigation reveals ties to Mexican drug cartels and corrupt Italian Port Officials.

The FBI and Italian police have arrested dozens in connection with a transnational heroin- and cocaine-trafficking conspiracy linking Italy’s ‘ndrangheta syndicate with the notorious Gambino and Bonanno crime families in the United States.

Nighttime raids carried out in southern Italy, the United States and Canada early Tuesday netted 24 people — including seven in New York: ‘ndrangheta member Raffaele Valente, also known as “Lello”; Gambino associate Franco Lupoi; Bonanno associate Charles Centaro, also known as “Charlie Pepsi”; Dominic Ali; Alexander Chan; Christos Fasarakis; and Jose Alfredo Garcia, also known as “Freddy.”

“The ‘Ndrangheta is an exceptionally dangerous, sophisticated, and insidious criminal organization with tentacles stretching from Italy to countries around the world,” U.S. Attorney Loretta Lynch said “The defendant Lupoi sought to use his connections with both ‘Ndrangheta and the Gambino crime family to extend his own criminal reach literally around the globe. Today, thanks to the vigilance and sustained cooperation of the Department of Justice and its law enforcement partners in Italy, the ‘Ndrangheta’s efforts to gain a foothold in New York have been dealt a lasting blow.”

Using wiretaps and an undercover agent named “Jimmy,” the FBI said it was able to infiltrate the Brooklyn-based mob and stop “a plot to transport 500 kilograms of cocaine, concealed in frozen food, in shipping containers from Guyana to Calabria.”

Investigators estimated the street value of the cocaine after cutting would have been about 750 million euros, or $1 billion.

In Italy, 17 others were arrested in connection with the alleged drug ring. The massive joint operation targeted the breakup of a new trafficking route into the southern Italian port of Gioia Tauro. More than 150 anti-mafia police participated in the predawn Italian raids. The operation, was known as “New Bridge.”

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The FTC said identity fraud is the top complaint it has dealt with in the past 13 years. It received 369,132 such complaints in 2012, or 18 percent of its total complaints. Identity fraud dwarfed complaints about debt collectors, which was in second place with 199,721, according to information the FTC provided.

continue to read

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