Identity Theft Scheme Funneled Millions Using PII Taken from an Armed Forces Database
The US Department of Justice sentenced a San Diego man yesterday for his role in an identity theft scheme. Trorice Crawford pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to launder monetary instruments last December. He was sentenced to almost four years in federal prison.
Crawford and his accomplices stole millions of dollars from thousands of U.S. service members’ bank accounts after harvesting personally identity information (PII) from an Armed Forces Database. The DOJ said the defendants took between $8,000 to $13,000 from each victim.
Crawford’s role was to recruit and mange the over 30 money mules who helped funnel stolen money to overseas accounts.
One of Crawford’s co-conspirators, Frederick Brown, was a civilian contractor from Las Vegas. Brown worked as a civilian medical records administrator at a U.S. Army installation in South Korea. Brown collected sensitive information about US service personnel and passed it along to his co-conspirators.
PII Stolen from Service Personnel Includes:
- Social Security numbers
- DOD ID numbers
- Contact information
How Identity Theft Happens
Identity theft happens when cybercriminals, scanners, or other unauthorized persons are able to obtain Sensitive information About an individual or business. this includes PII like birthdates and government identification. This information is then used to open New lines of credit including credit cards, bank accounts, or loans. It may also be used to obtain forms of identification Including driver’s licenses or passports. It may also be used to receive medical treatment for government benefits.
Some forms of identity theft may result in a person Losing money from their bank accounts or being responsible for credit card charges. While other forms of identity theft may leave the victim in debt from high medical bills or lines of credit, they didn’t realize were opened using their credentials.
Types of Identity Theft
There are numerous types of identity theft, which is why credit monitoring and identity theft monitoring are so important. Each form of identity theft generally results in financial losses for the victim.
- Financial Theft – Financial identity theft is when criminals steal money from bank accounts. They use your personal information to reset passwords and log into your online accounts. Money is transferred to a bank account the fraudster controls – usually overseas.
- Driver’s License Identity Theft – Driver’s license identity theft is when a criminal uses your identity to obtain a driver’s license in one or more jurisdictions.
- Medical Theft – Medical identity theft is when a scammer uses your identity to receive medical treatment. They may have the treatment billed to your name and address or charge it to your medical insurance, leaving you to pay the deductible portion of the bill.
- Debit Card Fraud or Credit Card Fraud – Debit card or credit card fraud is when a criminal steals your identity and uses it to open up new credit cards or bank accounts. They may also request credit line increases on your existing loans or credit cards and charge purchases before you realize what has happened. If you wait until your next billing statement, the criminal may have already racked up thousands of dollars in purchases
- Account Takeover Identity Theft – Account identity theft is when the criminal gains access to your existing online accounts and takes over the accounts by resetting passwords and contact information.
How to Prevent Identity Theft
Using credit monitoring and identity monitoring services can help you identify fraudulent activity as soon as it happens. That way you will know that your personal information is compromised and that your money is at risk. Learn more about identity theft. Check out our posts on identity theft education center to learn more about what you can do to protect your identity and safeguard your money.
Crawford will serve a 46 month prison sentence followed by three years of supervised release. Brown will be sentenced in September after pleading guilty. Three other defendants are in custody in the Philippines. They are awaiting extradition to the United States on charges of conspiracy, wire fraud and aggravated identity theft.
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