Identity Theft (more)
(CNN) -- E-mail users are being warned about a new identity theft scam that tries to snare victims by accusing them of violating the government's anti-terrorism Patriot Act.
The fraudulent message appears to be from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) and asks people to verify their identity by clicking on a bogus Web link.
"In cooperation with the Department of Homeland Security, Federal, State and Local Governments [sic] your account has been denied insurance from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation due to suspected violations of the Patriot Act," the fraudulent e-mail states.
[E-mail scam uses anti-terrorism hook]
contains more about email scams designed to collect personal
Meet Michael Berry - political activist, cancer survivor, creditor's dream. Meet Michael
Berry - scam artist, killer, the real Michael Berry's worst nightmare
(The Washington Post Magazine: Cover Story, August 10, 2003; Page W14)
Some government officials estimate that as many as 750,000 people a year are victimized. Others think that number is way too low. Last month Gartner Inc., a business research group, estimated that 7 million Americans have fallen prey to identity thieves in the past year alone, an extraordinary figure mirrored by a new survey from Privacy & American Business, an industry-funded think tank. Another study, by Star Systems, a company that facilitates the majority of U.S. ATM transactions, suggests that almost 12 million Americans in all, or about one in 19 adults, have been hit by such fraud.
David Medine, a former Federal Trade Commission and White House official, and now a leading information law specialist at the law firm Wilmer, Cutler & Pickering, has an unscientific test he uses to judge the extent of the problem. He asks friends at Washington parties if they've been a victim or know a victim. These days, Medine says, almost everyone has a horror story to contribute to the conversation. "You have this seemingly low-level crime that, cumulatively, is a national crisis," Medine says.
The financial costs are staggering, though no one can put a precise dollar figure on them. Star Systems estimates the losses at $24 billion, the vast majority in the past decade, a burden shouldered largely by the nation's financial institutions as a cost of doing business.
Bills to Change Fetus's Status Gain Support:
Measures Expanding Crime Victim Designation Called Backdoor Curbs on Abortion Rights. Momentum is building behind legislation that would make it a federal crime to harm the fetus of a pregnant woman, spurred in part by outrage over the slaying of Californian Laci Peterson and her unborn son, Conner.
The measure, dubbed the "Laci and Conner's Law," seeks to treat fetuses in such cases as victims separate from their mothers, with all the rights of individuals. It would apply to federal crimes, which take place in areas such as national parks, military installations and Indian reservations, and would carry a sentence of up to life imprisonment.
Washington Post, July 19, 2003; Page A02