Customers who become victims of fraud or identity theft as a result of the hacking could see their credit scores damaged, jeopardizing mortgage applications and home sales.

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Source: Al Jazeera 23 Jan 2014

No one paid the two men much attention as they approached the bank. It was around three in the afternoon in a small French town and customers had been coming and going to the cash machine all day. If anyone spared the two a thought, they would probably have assumed they were – just like anyone else – about to withdraw some money.

But then, as the men huddled together around the ATM – incidentally making it difficult for passers-by to see what they were doing – one of them opened his jacket and pulled out a rectangular steel panel. He swiftly pressed it into place over the cash machine’s keyboard (that it fitted perfectly was no accident), and then they walked away.

A few moments later another customer approached the machine, slid his bank card into the slot as usual, entered his account details via the keyboard and withdrew some cash; as did several other people over the next few hours. What none of them realised, of course, was that the keypad they were using was actually a fake, which while it allowed them to take money from their accounts as normal, also recorded their PIN numbers.

It was not until later that evening that a customer noticed something was wrong. One of the two men, who had been watching from a safe distance, came up quickly and offered to help. But the customer left to phone the police. As soon as his back was turned, the two men moved in to dismantle the fake keyboard as rapidly as they had installed it and then left once more.

As it turned out, the two men involved in this particular episode had not been as unobserved as they thought, because a hidden CCTV surveillance camera was recording their every move.

When examined by the police later on, the footage would be added to a pile of evidence they were accumulating to prosecute a group of people involved in the systematic and industrial scale theft of PIN numbers and bank account details – details that were being used to clone fake bank cards and strip accounts of millions of Euros.

What came as no surprise to the police was that the two men were from Eastern Europe. These days many of their suspects are. Though this was just one small incident, it was actually part of a much wider trend of organised crime emanating from gangs in Romania, Georgia, Ukraine, Russia and elsewhere, which over the last decade has been giving law enforcement an increasingly serious headache.

These new mafias have their fingerprints on all sorts of criminal activity – from bank card fraud, robberies and extortion to prostitution, arms dealing and money laundering – with most of the proceeds destined for the crime bosses back east. The problem for police in countries such as France, Germany and the UK is that while they might be able to catch and put away some of the gangs’ small -time foot soldiers, it is much more difficult to go after the powerful godfathers in Moscow or Kiev or Tbilisi.

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The basic motivation behind most crime is to make money. If criminals want to use that money it needs to appear to have come from legitimate sources. This means they need to ‘clean’ or ‘launder’ it. There is no single method of laundering money.

Money launderers have shown themselves to be imaginative, and utilise a variety of methods to get around counter-measures designed to identify and stop this activity.

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Australian Crime Commission Thu, 23/01/2014

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The Australian Crime Commission has today unveiled a year-long covert money laundering investigation codenamed Eligo following a record $5.7 million cash seizure in Sydney at the weekend (Saturday, 18 January 2014).

The Eligo National Task Force, established in 2012 as an Australian Crime Commission-led special investigation into the use of alternative remittance and informal value transfer systems by serious and organised crime, has seized more than $580 million worth of drugs and assets, including $26 million in cash.

The task force has also disrupted 18 serious and organised crime groups and identified 128 criminal targets previously unknown to law enforcement. These criminal targets have been placed on the Australian Crime Commission’s National Criminal Target List, and include targets operating in more than 20 countries. See full story by following this link. Money Laundering

Australian Crime Commission Thu, 23/01/2014




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As we know identity theft happens when someone steals your personal information and uses it without your permission. It’s a serious crime that can damage your finances, credit history, and reputation — and can take time, money, and patience to resolve.

The consumer information contained on the Federal Trade Commission site has many helpful suggestions which can be used if you find yourself in this predicament.

What to Do Right Away

Immediate Steps to Repair Identity Theft

Here’s how to begin to limit the harm from identity theft.

What to Do Next

Extended Fraud Alerts and Credit Freezes

Placing both extended fraud alerts and credit freezes on your credit reports can make it more difficult for an identity thief to open new accounts in your name.

Repairing Your Credit After Identity Theft

Here are step-by-step instructions for disputing fraudulent charges and accounts related to identity theft.

Lost or Stolen Credit, ATM and Debit Cards

Federal law limits your liability if your credit, ATM, or debit card is lost or stolen, but your liability may depend on how quickly you report the loss or theft.

Specific Types of Identity Theft

Tax-Related Identity Theft

Do you know the warning signs that an identity thief is using your Social Security number?

Child Identity Theft

Here’s how to protect your child’s personal information against theft.

Medical Identity Theft

An identity thief can use your personal information to get medical care or services. Find out how to respond.

LINK    Consumer Information 

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Target offers free credit monitoring and identity theft protection with Experian’s ProtectMyID.

Resources related to Target’s data breach

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11 January 2014 extract from  ABC Report

Retailer releases new information that shows more consumer data was stolen than originally thought. Target first announced a hacking incident involving 40 million customers more bad news from the retail giant.

The company now saying up to 70 million more customers who shopped in stores and online were targeted. Their names, address, phone numbers and e-mail addresses stolen.

And breaking overnight, Neiman-Marcus says it too discovered a credit card breach at its stores last month. A spokesperson says the size and scope is not known.

The name, address and phone number, they can’t do a whole lot with that as far as turning that data immediately into cash. The goal really is to get credit cards which they can immediately turn into cash. Security experts say customers can protect themselves by checking their credit card statement every day.

extracted from ABC report 11 Jan 2014

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UK Government help

If you think you are a victim identity theft or fraud, act quickly to ensure you are not liable for any financial losses.

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AUSTRALIAN Government help

Protecting your identity. Get your free information ebook.

The booklet ‘Protecting Your Identity’ contains information on how to prevent becoming a victim of identity theft and what to do if your identity has been stolen.

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US Government help

Knowing how to protect your information and your identity is a must in the 21st century. Here are some tips to doing it effectively.

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