Spoofing Fraud

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A spoof can be described as a good-humored deception. However, AL.com, describes how one man’s crime spoofed 110 victims and their financial institutions by pretending to be someone he wasn’t. He stole their personal information and activated or reactivated credit cards in the names of the unsuspecting victims, ultimately costing their financial institutions more than $656,000. (I doubt any of the victims or financial institutions found much humor in the situation.)

The story states that over a five-year period, a Montgomery man directed co-conspirators to steal mail that contained credit cards and other personal information from the U.S. Postal Service. These ”runners” would deliver the stolen mail to the ringleader’s home where he then used an online service to retrieve basic information about the addressees.

After obtaining general information about his victims, the 39-year-old would then contact some other criminally-minded friends nearby in Georgia who would access credit reports from an information services company, gleaning victim information such as birth dates, addresses and Social Security numbers. The personal information was then sent back to the ringleader, who activated or reactivated credit cards in the names of the victims by using a ”spoof” service that masked his phone number and voice. (That’s pretty scary that a service like that even exists.) The fraudster also made fake IDs for himself and co-conspirators in case they had to provide proof of identification while using the victims’ credit cards to purchase items or obtain cash advances for themselves.

Following a five-day trial, the criminal was found guilty of bank fraud and wire fraud, plus aggravated identity theft. He is facing a maximum sentence of 20 to 30 years in prison for the fraud charges, plus another 12 years for identity theft. (I guess the Federal Government ended up calling the ”Spoof Man’s” bluff. Let’s hope he’s good natured about his very long prison term.)

Source: Today’s ”Fraud of the Day” is based on an article titled, ”Alabama Man, Leader of Criminal Conspiracy Found Guilty of Fraud, Identity Theft Charges,” written by Erin Edgemon and published by AL.com on January 22, 2014.

MONTGOMERY A Montgomery man was found guilty on Tuesday of conspiracy to commit bank fraud and wire fraud, and six counts of aggravated identity theft after a five-day trial.

Edmund Lee McCall, 39, was the leader of a criminal conspiracy that ran from approximately 2004 to 2009 in Montgomery and elsewhere in the United States, the U.S. Department of Justice released.

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Larry Benson, Senior Director of Strategic Alliances, LexisNexis Risk Solutions - Government

Larry Benson is responsible for developing strategic partnerships and solutions for the government vertical. His expertise focuses on how government programs are defrauded by criminal groups, and the approaches necessary to prevent them from succeeding.

Mr. Benson has 30 years of experience in sales and business development. Before joining LexisNexis® Risk Solutions, he spent 12 years founding and managing two software technology startups. During the 1990s he spent 10 years as a Regional Director helping to grow a New England-based technology company from 300 employees to 7,000. He started his career with Martin Marietta Aerospace working on laser guided weapons and day/night vision systems.

A sought-after speaker and accomplished writer, Mr. Benson is the principal author of “Fraud of the Day,” a website dedicated to educating government officials about how criminals are defrauding government programs. He has co-authored WTF? Where’s the Fraud? How to Unmask and Stop Identity Fraud’s Drain on Our Government, and Data Personified, How Fraud is Changing the Meaning of Identity.

Benson holds a Bachelor of Science in Physics from Albright College, and earned two graduate degrees – a Master of Business Administration from Florida Institute of Technology, and a Master of Science in Engineering from Lehigh University.