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Portrait of an Identity Thief

ScuttleMonkey posted about 8 years ago | from the getting-off-easy dept.

335

Ant writes to tell us that the New York Times has a closer look and an interview with an identity theft addict. From the article: "As far back as 2002, Mr. Sharma began picking the locks on consumer credit lines using a computer, the Internet and a deep understanding of online commerce, Internet security and simple human nature, obtained through years of trading insights with like-minded thieves in online forums. And he deployed the now-common rods and reels of data theft -- e-mail solicitations and phony Web sites -- that fleece the unwitting."

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335 comments

GNAA RULEZ! (0, Offtopic)

bombadier_beetle (871107) | about 8 years ago | (#15658041)

STOP FRIST!

TFA (3, Informative)

smvp6459 (896580) | about 8 years ago | (#15658351)

TFA in case anyone else is having trouble with access:

July 4, 2006
Stolen Lives
Identity Thief Finds Easy Money Hard to Resist
By TOM ZELLER Jr.

By the time of Shiva Brent Sharma's third arrest for identity theft, at the age of 20, he had taken in well over $150,000 in cash and merchandise in his brief career. After a certain point, investigators stopped counting.

The biggest money was coming in at the end, postal inspectors said, after Mr. Sharma had figured out how to buy access to stolen credit card accounts online, change the cardholder information and reliably wire money to himself -- sometimes using false identities for which he had created pristine driver's licenses.

But Mr. Sharma, now 22, says he never really kept track of his earnings.

"I don't know how much I made altogether, but the most I ever made in a quick period was like $20,000 in a day and a half or something," he said, sitting in the empty meeting hall at the Mohawk Correctional Facility in Rome, N.Y., where he is serving a two- to four-year term. "Working like three hours today, three hours tomorrow -- $20,000."

And once he knew what he was doing, it was all too easy.

"It's an addiction, no doubt about that," said Mr. Sharma, who inflected his words with the sort of street cadence adopted by smart kids trying to be cool. "I get scared that when I get out, I might have a problem and relapse because it would be so easy to take $300 and turn it into several thousand."

That ease accounts for the sizable ranks of identity-fraud victims, whose acquaintance with the crime often begins with unexplained credit card charges, a drained bank account or worse. The victims' tales have become alarmingly familiar, but usually lack a protagonist -- the perpetrator. Mr. Sharma's account of his own exploits provides the missing piece: an insight into both the tools and the motivation of a persistent thief.

Identity theft can, of course, have its origins in a pilfered wallet or an emptied mailbox. But for computer-savvy thieves like Mr. Sharma, the Internet has forged new conduits for the crime, both as a means of stealing identity and account information and as the place to use it.

The Secret Service and the Federal Bureau of Investigation have invested millions of dollars in monitoring Internet sites where thousands of users from around the world congregate to swap tips about identity theft and to buy and sell personal data. Mr. Sharma frequented such sites from their earliest days, and the techniques he learned there have become textbook-variety scams.

"Shiva Sharma was probably one of the first, and he was certainly one of the first to get caught," said Diane M. Peress, a former Queens County prosecutor who handled all three of Mr. Sharma's cases and who is now the chief of economic crimes with the Nassau County district attorney's office. "But the kinds of methods that he used are being used all the time."

As far back as 2002, Mr. Sharma began picking the locks on consumer credit lines using a computer, the Internet and a deep understanding of online commerce, Internet security and simple human nature, obtained through years of trading insights with like-minded thieves in online forums. And he deployed the now-common rods and reels of data theft -- e-mail solicitations and phony Web sites -- that fleece the unwitting.

Much of this unfolded from the basement of a middle-class family home in Richmond Hill, Queens, at the hands of a high school student with a knack for problem solving and an inability, even after multiple arrests, to resist the challenge of making a scheme pay off.

That is what worries Mr. Sharma's wife, Damaris, 21, who has no time for the Internet as she raises the couple's 1-year-old daughter, Bellamarie.

"I hate computers," she said. "I think they're the devil."

A Thief's Tool Kit

Mr. Sharma is soft-spoken, but he does not shrink from the spotlight. He gained fleeting attention after his first arrest, as the first person charged under a New York State identity-theft statute -- and later, at his high school graduation at the Rikers Island jail, where he was the class valedictorian.

For a prison interview, he has applied gel to his mane of black hair. He is Hollywood handsome, with deceptively sleepy eyes and smiles that come as tics in reaction to nearly every stimulus -- a question, a noise. Prosecutors interpreted those smiles as evidence of smug indifference.

A tattoo of Shiva, the Hindu god of destruction and his namesake, is just visible on Mr. Sharma's right arm, under the short sleeve of his green prison jumpsuit.

Recalling his youth, Mr. Sharma said he was not unlike many other young people growing up with the mating calls of modems and unprecedented access to people, sounds, software and other thrills streaming into the family's home over the Internet.

As the youngest of three children in a family of immigrants from Trinidad -- his parents brought the family to Queens when he was 6 -- Mr. Sharma said sibling battles for access to the computer were common. He studied programming at Brooklyn Tech, one of New York's most selective public high schools, where he met Damaris.

He enjoyed chatting on AOL and was drawn, along with millions of his peers in the early days of file sharing, to downloading MP3's.

As he got older, he began hanging out on Internet-based chat channels that dealt with bigger game, like bootleg software. And amid the chatter were whispers of other something-for-nothing sites -- ones where thieves had set up bazaars involving credit cards, banks and account numbers.

"So I ended up registering and then I started just looking, really," Mr. Sharma said. "Not really taking anything in, just looking and seeing what's going on there."

Mr. Sharma said he chiefly visited two such sites, Carderplanet.com and Shadowcrew.com, where he was known by the screen name sniper5984 (the number denoted his birthdate). The sites were shut down in 2004, but many others have sprung up to replace them.

"For the aspiring little computer hacker in the United States, they're an excellent opportunity to learn," said Greg Crabb, the assistant director for economic crimes at the United States Postal Inspection Service's international group in Washington. On Carderplanet, for example, "a person could learn how to set up a drop, receive packages, develop other relationships and generally get started in the business."

Mr. Sharma got started with phishing -- sending e-mail meant to dupe recipients into revealing their personal or financial data, which can then be exploited. He told investigators that he paid $60 to someone he had met on Carderplanet to buy a program designed to harvest AOL e-mail addresses.

"I pretty much stuck with AOL because I knew AOL is most likely people new to the Internet," Mr. Sharma explained, "people who don't use the Internet for much but chat rooms."

He managed to gather about 100,000 addresses, and crafted an e-mail message that told recipients, "We regret to inform you, but due to a recent system flush, the billing information for your account was deleted." Recipients were instructed to follow a link to a Web page to remedy the situation.

The Web page, which mimicked AOL's look and feel, including a bogus AOL Web address, had form fields requesting everything from name and address to mother's maiden name, Social Security number, date of birth, credit card number, expiration date and bank.

The "submit" button sent the data to Mr. Sharma's e-mail account. He then went shopping.

From the 100,000 phishing e-mails Mr. Sharma sent, investigators say, about 100 recipients were duped into clicking through to the phony AOL Web page he created and filling out the form. Mr. Sharma said he did even better, with about 250 to 300 responses.

And Mr. Sharma went on to more elaborate and lucrative schemes. By the end, he said, he had become well known at Carderplanet and Shadowcrew for being able to "cash out" victims' credit accounts by making large wire transfers from their accounts to himself.

"I cash them out all the time," sniper5984 wrote at Carderplanet on July 5, 2004. "Here's two examples of Citi Cards I have used last month just to show."

Sniper5984 then provided links to two images of the account statement of the victim, a California resident, showing, amid various legitimate charges, nearly $10,000 in Western Union wire transfers made over three days in June 2004.

There were also two charges for Domino's pizza in Ozone Park, Queens.

"There was always a challenge," Mr. Sharma said. "You know, like it's always something like, wow, can I take it to the next step, you know?"

Ms. Sharma recalled that on trips to a Six Flags amusement park, her husband rarely took to the rides, preferring instead the games of chance. "The ones where you win a giant stuffed animal if you can throw some ball into a bucket or something like that, but there's obviously some trick to it," she said. "Well, he would always know the trick."

She also recalled one evening in the summer of 2004, when Mr. Sharma came to her apartment with $27,000 in cash and asked her to hold onto it overnight. The next morning he picked up the money and returned later with a new Acura RSX.

"He liked to race cars," Ms. Sharma said.

Back at the correctional facility, Mr. Sharma struggled to find a clear explanation for his crimes. At times he suggested he was taking aim at a usurious banking industry. At other moments he offered that it was simply a game, that he was young, that he was not thinking clearly.

"Well, you know -- I mean there's no, there's no justification behind it at all," he said. "You know it was wrong, and I did it -- it was wrong."

He also suggested it all became too easy too fast.

"The challenge was really stopping, you know?" he said. "That was the hardest challenge of them all."

'It's Sharma Again'

The tools that allowed Mr. Sharma to profit from his thievery were also his undoing, more than once.

On Sept. 19, 2002, William Robertson, a 73-year-old retired physical education teacher in Ormond Beach, Fla., received one of the 100,000 e-mail lures that Mr. Sharma's had sent out from Queens, and he fell for the scam.

"I don't know what made me fill out that whole form," Mr. Robertson said. "At that time I was a fairly new user of the computer. And after I did it, I just didn't feel right. But it wasn't until after the credit card company called me that I knew I'd done anything wrong."

A $3,000 Eltron photo ID printer had been bought on his Chase credit card from an online store in Buffalo. He canceled the card and made a report to the Flagler County police. The police determined that the printer had been shipped to a Brent Sharma in Queens.

Just over a month later, on Nov. 8, Peter Ruh, a United States postal inspector, arrived at Mr. Sharma's parents' home wearing a postal delivery uniform and carrying a box of high-end racing car parts that Mr. Sharma had ordered using another credit card account he had hijacked. When Mr. Sharma identified himself and signed for the package, Mr. Ruh, wearing a wire, gave a pre-arranged signal and his fellow inspectors, along with New York City police officers, moved in.

Among the items seized from his parents' basement were a computer, two digital cameras, a scanner, nearly 500 blank plastic identity cards with magnetic strips, two Marine Corps ID's -- with Mr. Sharma's name and photo -- and a newer model Eltron photo ID printer. A search of his computer revealed personal identifying information on hundreds of people from across the country.

"We were surprised at how forthcoming he was," Mr. Ruh said. "He was very proud of his accomplishments."

It was the first of many encounters that Queens postal investigators would have with Mr. Sharma over the next two years. "I'd get a call from someone over at Postal and they'd say, 'You're not going to believe this,' " Ms. Peress said. "And then they'd say, 'It's Sharma again.' "

Even with charges of identity theft pending in the AOL case, Mr. Sharma was arrested and charged again, in May 2003, for schemes involving the hijacking of Amazon.com accounts, moving fraudulently bought merchandise through auctions at eBay and Yahoo, and enlisting the father of a friend to receive shipments at his home in exchange for a digital camera.

Four months later, as part of a combined plea agreement, Mr. Sharma was permitted to plead guilty in the first case as a youthful offender, avoiding a felony designation. He pleaded guilty in the second case to two felony counts of identity theft and unlawful possession of personal identification information. In November 2003 he was sentenced to five years' probation and 350 hours of community service and was ordered to pay $5,000 in restitution.

But within a month, on Jan. 21, 2004, sniper5984 was active again at Carderplanet. "I am looking for partners," he wrote.

Logging Off

By the summer of 2004, investigators had begun piecing together a string of complaints from out-of-state consumers whose credit card accounts had been hijacked for tens of thousands of dollars in bogus charges, and they quickly recognized the modus operandi.

Mr. Sharma was arrested again in October while accepting a package under the watch of postal inspectors. A search of his apartment in Ozone Park on Oct. 16, 2004, the day after his final arrest, turned up consumers' credit bureau reports, assorted hand-written notations of credit card accounts and Social Security numbers and printed chats showing him negotiating online for the purchase of FirstUSA and MBNA credit cards.

Mr. Sharma remembers making heavy use, just before his last arrest, of the credit card of a commercial airline pilot from Florida.

Receipts show that a Jean Pascal Francis, presenting a Michigan state identification card, signed in Queens for nearly $5,500 in Western Union cash transfers charged to the pilot's account on a single Friday afternoon in July 2004. A Michigan state identification card with that name and Mr. Sharma's photograph was among the documents later found in Mr. Sharma's apartment.

"I thought it was horrible," recalled the airline pilot, who did not want to be named because he feared it would invite other thieves to take a crack at him. "You just feel violated in terms of your privacy."

Meanwhile, Mr. Sharma, whose family had moved to Florida, was largely on his own in New York and was burning through cash like rocket fuel.

"I tried every five-star hotel in Manhattan," he said. "That's why they say, 'Oh, he stayed at the Parker Meridien, the Regency, the Waldorf-Astoria.' You know, I went to all those and just stayed. The Mandarin Oriental is by my wife's house, and that's supposed to be the nicest one and the newest one, so I went there and it's like $3,500 a night."

"The more you make," he added, "it's like, it becomes a different kind of lifestyle."

The question now is whether Mr. Sharma, who has a parole hearing in August, can adapt to a less lucrative lifestyle when he gets out.

He says he is determined to stay clean long enough for his knowledge of fraud techniques to become obsolete. "I've just got to stay with my daughter and just try and stick it through another year or two," Mr. Sharma said, "because by then things have changed so much that it will be kind of hard for me to just go back in there and do everything."

His wife understands the temptations that will lurk in the meantime.

"I do worry a whole lot because -- I don't want to say I agree, but I understand his mentality," Ms. Sharma said. "People work really hard for eight hours a day and make minimum wage. And he knows he can get out and make the same thing with the computer in half an hour."

Kassie Bracken contributed reporting for this article.

Its remarkably easy to scam people (5, Insightful)

CrazyJim1 (809850) | about 8 years ago | (#15658050)

The reason most people don't do it is because they're honest and want to help out the human race instead of being a drain on society.

Re:Its remarkably easy to scam people (5, Insightful)

uvajed_ekil (914487) | about 8 years ago | (#15658086)

The reason most people don't do it is because they're honest and want to help out the human race instead of being a drain on society.

I think of myself as an honest person, but a desire to retain my freedom has also kept me from straying into a life of crime. And whether or not a need to be honest is universal I don't know, but I suspect the deterrent of prison is enough to keep most people straight. Lots of us have the skills and opportunities to commit some fairly lucrative crimes, though we choose not to, for whichever reason.

Re:Its remarkably easy to scam people (5, Insightful)

Korin43 (881732) | about 8 years ago | (#15658117)

Considering how much money could be made through illegal means and how easily, morals are a much more important deterrent than the police. The police are the back up plan ;)

Re:Its remarkably easy to scam people (1)

bsartist (550317) | about 8 years ago | (#15658140)

Considering how much money could be made through illegal means and how easily, morals are a much more important deterrent than the police.
Except that history clearly demonstrates, time and time again, what invariably happens when ordinary citizens are left with only their own morals to keep them honest - and it ain't pretty.

Re:Its remarkably easy to scam people (1)

pete-classic (75983) | about 8 years ago | (#15658177)

Could you name a few examples?

-Peter

Re:Its remarkably easy to scam people (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15658296)

Enron, Global Crossing, Tyco Electronics, Martha Stewart ... the list would be very long.

Unravelling or being unwoven? (4, Interesting)

draxbear (735156) | about 8 years ago | (#15658190)

On the whole, we seem to be slowly moving from a "govern thyself" to a "If no-ones watching, why not?" frame of mind.

I wonder if this is almost being encouraged by the powers that be as it fosters a feeling that it's ok for them to be watching because I no longer expect the others around me to be governing their own behavior...

Re:Its remarkably easy to scam people (4, Insightful)

ozmanjusri (601766) | about 8 years ago | (#15658225)

what invariably happens when ordinary citizens are left with only their own morals to keep them honest - and it ain't pretty.

True. They tend to form governments to get themselves organised, and it all goes downhill from there.

Re:Its remarkably easy to scam people (2, Insightful)

flyingfsck (986395) | about 8 years ago | (#15658317)

It is interesting how religious groups always claim the moral high ground, even though the whole operation is a scam, that plays on simple people's feelings of insecurity and then rip them off for the benefit of the church masters.

Re:Its remarkably easy to scam people (5, Insightful)

Achromatic1978 (916097) | about 8 years ago | (#15658141)

I know... what a joke... an 'identify theft addict'. What, is stealing someone's identity this year's new black/bipolar? It's not a fucking mental illness.

Re:Its remarkably easy to scam people (1, Troll)

chmod a+x mojo (965286) | about 8 years ago | (#15658171)

What, is stealing someone's identity this year's new black/bipolar? It's not a fucking mental illness.
Are you saying bi-polar isn't a mentel illness? strange, since my psychiatrist seems to beleive it is. and the prescriptions i take for my bi-polar help ALOT.
But since you don't have it it's not real huh? ....jackass.

Re:Its remarkably easy to scam people (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15658315)

Your psychiatrist's livelyhood depends upon you visiting him for pep talks and prescriptions.
Of course you're bi-polar or whatever they call it. Of course you need some 'medicine' from him.

I am glad to know that you do have a method that works for you for dealing with the public and adult responsibilities.

Re:Its remarkably easy to scam people (1)

caseih (160668) | about 8 years ago | (#15658212)

It very well could be mental illness of sorts. There are compulsive shop-lifters, for example, who are influenced by something that can only be described as mental illness. Also, think about serial killers. One certainly can argue that they are very mentally ill. Of course that doesn't absolve them or this young man of personal responsibility. But there are devient behaviors that we say are not normal. Behaviors can also be addictive without meaning a person is mentally ill or insane, though. Gambling, for example, can be very addictive and in many respects his situation isn't much different (except the illegal stuff!). I think one could argue that the same things that make gambling addictive (thought of easy money, personal gratification) could make this crime addictive for this man.

Re:Its remarkably easy to scam people (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15658264)

"Of course that doesn't absolve them or this young man of personal responsibility."

Depends...how was the manifestation of his mental illness?

The legal definition of guilt / responsibility generally goes to the point of the individuals ability to understand what he was doing was wrong. Actually, this is the case for almost any law -- you have to understand what you are doing to be guilty of breaking the law...theoretically.

But does he know he's doing wrong? Does he feel he has any control over this behavior, i.e., may know its wrong but no mechanism to stop it. Does he feel that an external force is controlling this action and he is not associated with it?

I haven't read this, but I always find the personal responsibility aspect to be bullshit when it comes to dealing with mental illnesses. I've met quite a few folks in my line of work that have no clue as to their responsibility...at the same time, I also believe that some folks are so defective that it doesn't really matter if they understand what they are doing or not, they need to be pulled out of society for OUR good, regardless. This only goes to meaning that instead of punishing them, we remove them and never let them back for any reason.

Re:Its remarkably easy to scam people (2, Interesting)

TubeSteak (669689) | about 8 years ago | (#15658291)

I know... what a joke... an 'alcohol addict'.
I know... what a joke... a 'heroin addict'.
I know... what a joke... a 'self mutilation addict'.

He obviosly gets the same kind of rush from identity theft that people get from shoplifting, gambling, drug use, etc.

Just about anything can be addictive.

Examples: Rich people shoplifting & depressed people cutting themselves. Obviously neither group is doing it for their health.

Re:Its remarkably easy to scam people (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15658297)

New black/bipolar? What does that even mean?

Re:Its remarkably easy to scam people (5, Insightful)

MBCook (132727) | about 8 years ago | (#15658321)

Everything is a mental illness.

If it is a mental illness, that means two things. It's not your fault (hint: it is), and it's a condition (hint: thus insurance must pay). No one in America has problems. Those would be their fault and they would have to pay a shrink to talk about them. But if you make it an illness...

What was that one that was "discovered" last month? Intermittent Explosive Disorder, aka "a really short temper."

Re:Its remarkably easy to scam people (1)

krell (896769) | about 8 years ago | (#15658170)

You are not a politician, I can be sure of that.

Re:Its remarkably easy to scam people (1)

kilodelta (843627) | about 8 years ago | (#15658228)

So true. I'm technically capable of it, have access to all the tools etc. but I don't do it. Why, because I've been the victim of it. Had my bank account wiped clean and fought the bank and finally won.

What most people don't want to hear is how insecure our banking system REALLY is.

Re:Its remarkably easy to scam people (1)

userlame (885195) | about 8 years ago | (#15658259)

want to help out the human race instead of being a drain on society.

The two are not mutually exclusive. You, like most, are very confused in mangling these two things together.

P.S. -1, Off-topic.

Fuck AntDude - Begin HATE (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15658051)

Before you listen to any more drivel by 'AntDude [slashdot.org] ', take a look at who you're dealing with: http://pbx.mine.nu/antdude.jpg [pbx.mine.nu] . The abortion in the center is 'AntDude'. I won't even get into discussion about him listing his 'sex' as 'female' on his SHITTY 'blog' (aqfl.net [aqfl.net] ). This faggot has nothing better to do than sit on the internet and spew worthless garbage. He's the new LostCluster [slashdot.org] when it comes to posting utterly worthless tripe. Not to mention his submitted stories! Every single one of his last 10 or so submissions have been tagged as 'lame' or 'slownewsday'. Why does taco even bother posting his shit. Maybe he gets some tiny deformed chinese cock up his taco ass in exchange for some linkspam with google ads? Do the world a favor and never reply to comments from ANTDUDE and mark him as a FOE [slashdot.org] .

Yeah... (5, Funny)

GammaKitsune (826576) | about 8 years ago | (#15658052)

That is what worries Mr. Sharma's wife, Damaris, 21, who has no time for the Internet as she raises the couple's 1-year-old daughter, Bellamarie.
"I hate computers," she said. "I think they're the devil."


Sorry. I just thought that was funny, and had to post it.

Re:Yeah... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15658080)

Sorry hon, but I think it's actually your husband.

Think twice about marrying a "Shiva".

Re:Yeah... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15658082)

Why do I get the feeling she was using a microsoft product?

Re:Yeah... (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15658088)

Holy sweet, merciful fuck, you are an unbelievable loser.

Re:Yeah... (5, Insightful)

bsartist (550317) | about 8 years ago | (#15658087)

Yeah, I got a laugh out of it. But it's kind of depressing to think about, and all too common - too many people would rather blame the tool (in this case a computer) than admit that their spouse/child/dog/whatever has done something wrong. It's sad to think that this woman might truly believe that a machine somehow corrupted her poor innocent husband and turned him to a live of evil.

Re:Yeah... (1)

GammaKitsune (826576) | about 8 years ago | (#15658108)

Sort of like those daemonic videogames that turn ordinary teens into one-man WMDs.

Re:Yeah... (1)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | about 8 years ago | (#15658159)

"It's sad to think that this woman might truly believe that a machine somehow corrupted her poor innocent husband and turned him to a live of evil."

Some say temptation is a form of evil. Computer offers temptation, person becomes evil. Though I agree that this rationale is flawed, we're all a little guilty of it at one time or another. The logic usually runs along the lines of "If this hadn't happened, I'd be happy now." Easy to understand, really.

Re:Yeah... (4, Informative)

CastrTroy (595695) | about 8 years ago | (#15658211)

Yes, but everything offers temptation. Even church offers temptation for some people. Church is the ultimate temptation. Do what we say, and you'll go to heaven when you die, and live in happiness for eternity. If someone goes to church everyday, do we say they are addicted, and send them to rehab? All things have the power to do evil. Doing something that hurts others is wrong. Doing something that detracts from your own well being is bad. But saying that a tool is "the devil" because it can be used for evil is just stupid. The computer has helped tons more people then it has caused harm to. Are we supposed to outlaw cameras because they can be use for spying, or child porn?

Re:Yeah... (1)

Alaria Phrozen (975601) | about 8 years ago | (#15658281)

live = verb life = noun Get it right please.

Re:Yeah... (1)

TubeSteak (669689) | about 8 years ago | (#15658331)

It's sad to think that this woman might truly believe that a machine somehow corrupted her poor innocent husband and turned him to a live of evil.
It's a common response by the spouses of addicts.

The spouse blames [whatever] because it enabled or allowed the behavoir.

Addiction support groups are setup to deal with both addicts and their spouses.

If the guy had allowed his life to be devoured by Everquest, would you still blame her for thinking computers were the devil?

Re:Yeah... (1)

Zxsw85 (697643) | about 8 years ago | (#15658151)

"I hate computers," she said. "I think they're the devil." Sorry. I just thought that was funny, and had to post it.
Having spent some volunteer time at an old folk home, I can readily attribute that this sentiment is not exclusive to this one woman.

The only problem is, the kind of people that are being discussed don't really get counted, because, well, their not fond posting on forums on which people collectively discuss their frustration with computers.

Re:Yeah... (4, Funny)

0racle (667029) | about 8 years ago | (#15658156)

I hate it when people over react. Computers are the TOOLS of the Devil, not the Devil himself.

ANTDUDE MORE LIEK PWNTDUDE (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15658054)

Before you listen to any more drivel by 'AntDude [slashdot.org] ', take a look at who you're dealing with: http://pbx.mine.nu/antdude.jpg [pbx.mine.nu] . The abortion in the center is 'AntDude'. I won't even get into discussion about him listing his 'sex' as 'female' on his SHITTY 'blog' (aqfl.net [aqfl.net] ). This faggot has nothing better to do than sit on the internet and spew worthless garbage. He's the new LostCluster [slashdot.org] when it comes to posting utterly worthless tripe. Not to mention his submitted stories! Every single one of his last 10 or so submissions have been tagged as 'lame' or 'slownewsday'. Why does taco even bother posting his shit. Maybe he gets some tiny deformed chinese cock up his taco ass in exchange for some linkspam with google ads? Do the world a favor and never reply to comments from ANTDUDE and mark him as a FOE [slashdot.org] .

THIS STORY SUCKS, GET OFF THE INTERNET ANTDUDE (1)

(TK2)Dessimat0r (669581) | about 8 years ago | (#15658062)

It was revealed today that three minutes before his 'Drowned Alive' was due to end, David Blaine was forced out of his water-filled glass bubble early with an unknown cause.

The Gay Nigger Assocation of America is proud to announce that this was due to the heroic actions of GNAA member 'trogg', a recent recruit to the proud legion of Internet niggers. During the last few minutes of his stunt, the GNAA can reveal that images of famous internet celebrities 'goatse' and 'tubgirl' were taped to the outside of his bubble, where Blaine could see them in all their glory.

As Blaine turned to look at this explicit imagery, he began to have convulsions of the anus as his poop began to flow out of his rectum. This caused the water to turn a muddy-brown colour. Blaine then attempted to take off his oxygen mask, possibly hoping to ingest the diseased water in order to get a real taste of rectal prolapse.

The organisers of the stunt then feared for his safety as Blaine reached for his erect penis, as the palms of his hands were suffering from mysosis. With this, two divers jumped into the water to save Blaine before he had a chance to touch his throbbing rod, and succeeded in pulling him out in time. He was out of breath as he was rushed to hospital, suffering from the effects of the stunt upon his body.

When Blaine was interviewed in hospital by the Gay Nigger Association of the America, he had this to say: "JEWS DID WTC".

Antdude I fucking hate you. Antdude I fucking hate you. Antdude I fucking hate you. Antdude I fucking hate you. Antdude I fucking hate you. Antdude I fucking hate you. Antdude I fucking hate you. Antdude I fucking hate you. Antdude I fucking hate you. Antdude I fucking hate you.

Re:THIS STORY SUCKS, GET OFF THE INTERNET ANTDUDE (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15658179)

Did your daddy fondle you when mom was shopping?? Christ..Relax troll//

so what proof do we have of this guys actual name (4, Funny)

RobertLTux (260313) | about 8 years ago | (#15658063)

n/t

None. (1)

krell (896769) | about 8 years ago | (#15658071)

The name and profile probably fit some unknowing retired auto worker in Cleveland. The master identity thief has pulled yet another one.

Re:so what proof do we have of this guys actual na (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15658334)

Call him Sharma. It will stick.

People with name 'Sharma' are known to be most corrupt people in India.

Stupid Criminal? (5, Insightful)

locokamil (850008) | about 8 years ago | (#15658068)

Can anyone say... script kiddie?

The guy is clearly dumb as a rock. Who the hell takes a stolen credit card, buys stuff with it, and then has the stuff delivered to his doorstep???!!? I don't know jack about stealing identities, but this guy's MO is just plain stoopid.

Trust the mainstream media to make him sound like some kind of twisted, tortured genius.

Re:Stupid Criminal? (4, Insightful)

Freaky Spook (811861) | about 8 years ago | (#15658122)

Most criminals are dumb, thats why.

He may not be robbing liquor stores but what he is doing is till fairly petty crime, it doesn't take much intelligence to do what he does.

Thats probably the reason why you see so many people getting caught for this stuff, any geek knows the dangers of using a stolen credit card and ways to avoid getting caught, but I'm sure most of them are too busy posting on slashdot to bother.

Re:Stupid Criminal? (5, Insightful)

Pink Tinkletini (978889) | about 8 years ago | (#15658252)

No, most criminals who get caught are dumb. You don't hear about the smart ones--they don't get caught.

Re:Stupid Criminal? (1)

this great guy (922511) | about 8 years ago | (#15658148)

This is why he got caught, because he did not care about the safeness of his delivery procedure (whatever the reason was, laziness, etc). For every man like him in jail, there are hundreds of others who are more careful, who use safe drop mailboxes, who are currently enjoying their scaming activities. And a lot of those people will probably never get caught.

Re:Stupid Criminal? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15658162)

Dude, did you RTFA? He was class valedictorian at Rikers Island jail. He MUST be a genius!

Re:Stupid Criminal? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15658335)

I used to work for a major online retailer and people consistently purchased items from us using stolen credit cards. Sometimes we would even be warned by UPS that the address was a known fraud address. At first we would try and report them so that they would get caught. Unfortunately, the police will do nothing unless the owner of the credit card decides to press charges. The owners of the credit cards however just issue a chargeback and don't lose anything so there is little incentive to do so. They would also have to file a complaint with the police department where the guy lived. At this point it is a Federal crime because it involves interstate theft. The Feds are also not much help. They will laugh at you unless the crime is worth several thousand dollars. In our case it was always a couple hundred. Eventually, we stopped even trying to do anything on the end of prosecution and turned to strict prevention and detection. I am guessing that someday the law will change but for now the police are too busy writing traffic tickets to deal with hard to prosecute internet crime.

Addict, My Foot (5, Insightful)

PavementPizza (907876) | about 8 years ago | (#15658073)

What's this "identity theft addict" balonium? Do you call bank robbers "bank robbing addicts"? All bad behavior is not addiction. The guy is a lowlife crook who found an easy way to make money and kept coming back to it, plain and simple.

Re:Addict, My Foot (1)

bsartist (550317) | about 8 years ago | (#15658099)

What's this "identity theft addict" balonium?
Your honor, my client pleads not guilty by reason of insanity. He's addicted to this type of behavior and cannot control his actions.

Re:Addict, My Foot (1)

whoop (194) | about 8 years ago | (#15658119)

Ala the recent South Park, just call it a disease and then there's nothing you can do about it, so might as well keep right on doing it. You get sympathy and can keep doing it, what more is there?

Re:Addict, My Foot (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15658147)

They were going to call it "money addict", but they realized that would put him in the same category as politicians, so they changed it. A cold is not the same thing as the ebola virus, y'know? :)

Re:Addict, My Foot (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15658158)

The addiction was the ease, not the act. Don't fly off the handle.

Re:Addict, My Foot (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15658165)

"What's this "identity theft addict" balonium? Do you call bank robbers "bank robbing addicts"? All bad behavior is not addiction. The guy is a lowlife crook who found an easy way to make money and kept coming back to it, plain and simple."

It's really sad that you don't believe in angels. I feel sorry for you.

Rumsfeld.

Re:Addict, My Foot (1)

Zxsw85 (697643) | about 8 years ago | (#15658166)

People get addicted to different things.

Some people get addicted to making money, so they choose to work more than they need for survival, for the possibility of having greater economic freedom.

From personal experience, people may get addicted to stealing for the thrill, even when there is no financial basis. To use a heavily scrutinized event, look at Wynona Ryder (sp?).

Now assuming the above is true, is it that hard to believe that poor people may get addicted to identity theft because of the ease and benefits?

Re:Addict, My Foot (1)

TheVoice900 (467327) | about 8 years ago | (#15658201)

I'm a self professed j-walking addict. Sometimes even when the crosswalk is near, I'll *still* run across the road :p

Re:Addict, My Foot (2, Insightful)

Mad_Rain (674268) | about 8 years ago | (#15658199)

What's this "identity theft addict" balonium? Do you call bank robbers "bank robbing addicts"? All bad behavior is not addiction. The guy is a lowlife crook who found an easy way to make money and kept coming back to it, plain and simple.

According to one of the investigators, ""We were surprised at how forthcoming he was," Mr. Ruh said. "He was very proud of his accomplishments."

Looking back at some of Mr. Sharma's other comments in the article, I began to check off a number of traits that may or may not be evident: Glib and superficial charm; Grandiose sense of self-worth; Need for stimulation; Pathological lying; Conning and manipulativeness; Lack of remorse or guilt; Shallow affect; Callousness and lack of empathy; Parasitic lifestyle; Poor behavioral controls; Promiscuous sexual behavior; Early behavior problems; Lack of realistic, long-term goals; Impulsivity; Irresponsibility; Failure to accept responsibility for own actions; Many short-term marital relationships; Juvenile delinquency; Revocation of conditional release; Criminal versatility.

Those traits make up a common psychopath [psychopath-research.com] .

Addiction is a description, not an excuse (4, Insightful)

fm6 (162816) | about 8 years ago | (#15658254)

There probably are bank robbers who are addicted to what they do. The concept of "addiction" is just a model for understanding destructive behavior. It's not an attempt to excuse it. In fact, the opposite is true: people who are fighting addiction, and the people who help them (often addicts themselves) will tell you that the worst thing you can do for an addict is overlook his or her misdeeds.

Re:Addict, My Foot (1)

darkmeridian (119044) | about 8 years ago | (#15658326)

You're not the first person to feel this way. An insanity defense in a criminal case cannot be based on a disease whose symptom is criminality.

Just looking for that sacrafice (1, Redundant)

penix1 (722987) | about 8 years ago | (#15658076)

The banking industry as well as Congress and just about every commerce site out there is just drooling to get their hands on a REAL identity thief. The "example" they make of them should be grand! I can just see it....Nothing left but a smoking boot!

B.

Re:Just looking for that sacrafice (1)

SirTalon42 (751509) | about 8 years ago | (#15658102)

You are too kind, sir.

Congress ... maybe. Banks ... they don't care. (2, Interesting)

khasim (1285) | about 8 years ago | (#15658173)

The banking industry as well as Congress and just about every commerce site out there is just drooling to get their hands on a REAL identity thief. The "example" they make of them should be grand! I can just see it....Nothing left but a smoking boot!
The banks don't care. Really, they don't.

They get paid no matter what.

The only people who suffer are the retailers who sold the stuff and who now get hit with a chargeback so they're out the money AND the product ...

And the guy who got his number stolen.

If the banks had to pay even 10% of the annual loss due to fraud, they'd be clamping down on EVERYTHING you did with your credit cards.

Congress will like it because it gives them something that they can claim they are doing something about. But, in the end, they'll do nothing.

It all comes down to WHO has to pay for these crimes. And the banks have made sure that it won't be them.

Re:Congress ... maybe. Banks ... they don't care. (2, Insightful)

penix1 (722987) | about 8 years ago | (#15658189)

Sure, on the credit card side you are right. On the online banking side you are wrong. The attention identity theft has received and will continue to receive when it gets worse will only cause people to not do anything involving money online. The more it happens, the less likely people will be to trust ANY site....

B.

No Remorse??? (5, Insightful)

innocence18 (897646) | about 8 years ago | (#15658103)

Did anyone else find this guys total lack of remorse in his actions a little...well...wrong!

Not to mention this quote

Mr. Sharma said, "because by then things have changed so much that it will be kind of hard for me to just go back in there and do everything."

which implies that if it wasn't hard to get back in to he might consider it.

What an ass!

Re:No Remorse??? (2, Insightful)

TubeSteak (669689) | about 8 years ago | (#15658345)

The man is trying to set goals for himself. "If I can just make it a year or two without doing it" kinda stuff.

It's like a druggie rationalizing "If I don't score for a year or two, by then things will have changed so much that it will be kind of hard for me to just go back out there and buy drugs again."

What that statement really reveals is that he hasn't quite accepted that, if it really is an addictive behavior for him, he'll never be able to use a computer again and go near a chatroom or web forum without someone sitting at his shoulder monitoring what he does & where he goes.

Shiva Sharma? (5, Funny)

bsartist (550317) | about 8 years ago | (#15658123)

Are we offshoring identity theft to India too?

Re:Shiva Sharma? (2, Funny)

pen (7191) | about 8 years ago | (#15658191)

We must take action quickly and protect our economy against this offshoring threat. I propose introducing legislation that creates incentive to conducting identity theft within our borders instead of off-shoring it.

Are you kidding? (1)

MarkusQ (450076) | about 8 years ago | (#15658305)


Shiva Sharma? by bsartist (550317) on 20:08 04 July 2006 (#15658123)

Are we offshoring identity theft to India too?

Oh come on! Do you seriously think that that's his real name?

--MarkusQ

My only question is... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15658124)

My only question is, why isn't he dead yet?

Nothing a bullet to the forehead wouldn't fix (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15658138)

Seriously, have this happen to you and see if you're not at least a little bit tempted to think that. I despise these people and they'd leave the world no poorer by leaving it.

  I'm thinking mass grave, small caliber bullet to the forehead, and a scoop of lye on top before starting the next layer.

Re:Nothing a bullet to the forehead wouldn't fix (0, Redundant)

penix1 (722987) | about 8 years ago | (#15658167)

Not trying to defend these thieves but:

All it takes is common sense to know that clicking a link in an email is a no-no. Also, any site that asks for all the information these sites are asking for IN ONE PLACE is a big red flag. No site, not even a banking site, is going to ask you for your DOB, SSN, mother's maiden name, credit card PINs, etc all on the same page. People really should listen to their gut instinct when the red flags go up....

B.

Re:Nothing a bullet to the forehead wouldn't fix (1)

Compholio (770966) | about 8 years ago | (#15658194)

People really should listen to their gut instinct when the red flags go up....

Look it up in your gut [comedycentral.com]

Pretty funny! (1)

penix1 (722987) | about 8 years ago | (#15658221)

I forgot he did that skit...lol...

"Colbert Report: Truthiness Anyone can read the news to you. Stephen promises to feel the news at you."

B.

Re:Nothing a bullet to the forehead wouldn't fix (1)

Belgarion89 (969077) | about 8 years ago | (#15658205)

Unfortunatly, most people's gut instinct is "OOO! Money!!" Greed and selfishness are the basest of all human vices, especially in a capitalist society. As long as people want a quick buck, people will be getting ripped off.

Re:Nothing a bullet to the forehead wouldn't fix (3, Interesting)

Wilf_Brim (919371) | about 8 years ago | (#15658214)

True, but check TFA. The email scam referred to was only one of his early efforts. His later (and more lucrative) scams involved buying numbers and doing direct financial transfers from those accounts. One of my accounts had something similar happen to it. It was only due to the fact that the individual responsible had used two smaller charges the previous day, and it happend to be the day that I was paying bills and saw the two fradulent charges during an online reconciliation that I discovered it and was able to cancel the transfer. I'm starting to think that the entire credit card system is broken. It is just far too easy to obtain stolen numbers, and far to easy to negotiate into goods or (as above) cash. That cards can still be used for wire transfers absolutely boggles my mind. Unfortunately, I don't know of any better system. Right now I use "disposable" numbers as often as I can when doing ecommerce. They minimize (but do not elminate) the risk, but they can't be used for recurring charges, and relatively few card issuers. I'm thinking that the penalities here are too light. This guy was involved in grand larceny, easily more than $200k. Why only a couple of years? Small time drug dealers (an offense with far less of a victim) get many times that penality. When the takings are so lucrative, the chances of being caught low, and the penalities light, its no wonder this is such a fast growing crime. Why perform an armed bank robccbery (average take, about $4,000 per the FBI) and get 20 years if you get caught when credit card fraud ($10k per theft) only will get you 2? And did you notice that some of his biggest takes were when he was under indictment and out on bail? WTF?

The solution is simple. (3, Interesting)

khasim (1285) | about 8 years ago | (#15658239)

Even for wire-transfers with a credit card. Simply have the bank call the phone numbers they have on record for you and have you press a button sequence to authorize the purchase or wire-transfer.

The banks already have the systems to do automated calling.

The banks already have your phone numbers. And your mailing address.

Now the thief has to steal your credit card numbers ... and re-route the phone system.

Or steal the numbers and fake your ID and go to a bank branch and change the phone numbers.

All of that is possible for a thief to do ... but the more steps that it takes, the more likely it is that the thief will fail to complete it. And the easier it will be to track him. Although it can't get much easier than tracking this punk. He gave them his address to deliver his stolen purchases to.

But doing that would move the risk and costs to the banks. They prefer it the way it currently is because the banks aren't losing money on these fraud cases.

Re:Nothing a bullet to the forehead wouldn't fix (1)

CastrTroy (595695) | about 8 years ago | (#15658262)

Why only a couple of years? Small time drug dealers (an offense with far less of a victim) get many times that penality. When the takings are so lucrative, the chances of being caught low, and the penalities light, its no wonder this is such a fast growing crime. Why perform an armed bank robccbery (average take, about $4,000 per the FBI) and get 20 years if you get caught when credit card fraud ($10k per theft) only will get you 2.

First of all, they haven't started a war on identity theft yet, so until they do, drugs is the trump card. There is nothing worse than drugs, because there is a war against it. Well, there's terrorism, but there's a war against that too. Really, depending on the level of you drug dealing, it can be just as bad as terrorism in terms of repercussions. And second of all, being armed is also a trump card. You have the right to bear arms, but you'd better not use those arms to commit a crime. Anything armed automatically quadruples your sentence. If you can manage to rob a bank unarmed, then you'll probably only get 2 years.

Re:Nothing a bullet to the forehead wouldn't fix (1)

Lord Kano (13027) | about 8 years ago | (#15658300)

You have the right to bear arms, but you'd better not use those arms to commit a crime. Anything armed automatically quadruples your sentence. If you can manage to rob a bank unarmed, then you'll probably only get 2 years.

If the people you are robbing believe that you're armed, you have just committed armed robbery. Even if you have no weapon.

People who use plastic guns or a banana in the pocket are armed robbers.

LK

Re:Nothing a bullet to the forehead wouldn't fix (1)

CastrTroy (595695) | about 8 years ago | (#15658231)

The problem is, is that many people don't have a gut instinct about this kind of situation. There's 2 kinds of gut instincts that people can get. 1 is built in by evolution. After millions of years, the human body is wired to react certain ways to certain stimuli. This is stuff like being scared when you are approached by a tiger. The second kind is that built from prior experiences in your lifetime. If you grow up with no exposure to computers, a web site that asks for all this information may very well seem like a valid site. Why not, you get letters in the mail offering you credit cards, where they ask your DOB, SSN, Mother's Maiden Name, Other Credit Card Numbers, and all in the same application. Why wouldn't a web site be able to ask for the same information.

Re:Nothing a bullet to the forehead wouldn't fix (1)

penix1 (722987) | about 8 years ago | (#15658290)

Do you mean to imply that people are blind and deaf about identity theft with as much press as it has been getting? I know the American attention span is about that of a retarded gnat, but I didn't think it was so short as to be non-existant. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out when you are being scammed INCLUDING those credit card offers....

B.

Re:Nothing a bullet to the forehead wouldn't fix (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15658368)

When Gmail sees an email it does not like, it will flag it and strip out all links in the message.

Identity theft ISN'T! (3, Insightful)

SonicSpike (242293) | about 8 years ago | (#15658145)

Fraud |= theft. In plain English, fraud does not equal theft.

It's the same as the copyright argument. You cannot steal someone's identity. You can use it frauduantly. You can pose as someone you are not. You can give false witness. But identity fraud ISN'T!

Re:Identity theft ISN'T! (2, Insightful)

Chabil Ha' (875116) | about 8 years ago | (#15658263)

Well, let us consider what an identity is, then. Say someone came to your home, took your face, robbed you of your fingerprints, and any other identifying marks on your person. Then they take some clothes typically worn by you. Then, they take your cards and do things in your name. Even the people who see your 'face' at the store see that your perpatrator is you. They do viscious things in your name.

Now, we all know that is pretty far fetched. But taking identifying *information* about you and doing things with that is not that much different. My SS#, my CC#, my PINs, etc. identify who I am in the absence of me being able to be there in person, so yes, it is identity theft.

Re:Identity theft ISN'T! (1)

CastrTroy (595695) | about 8 years ago | (#15658276)

Well, it may not be identity theft, but more like identity vandalism. Or an identity joy-ride. They borrow your identity for a while, and once they are sufficiently done destroying it, they stop using it. You still have your identity, but it is royally screwed. You have months of phone calls with banks ahead of you, trying to get your identity back to its original state.

Wrong - NOT THEFT! (2, Insightful)

SonicSpike (242293) | about 8 years ago | (#15658303)

Merriam Websters defines theft as: "the act of stealing; specifically : the felonious taking and removing of personal property with intent to deprive the rightful owner of it"

When you use someone else's identity in a fraudulent manner, the original person STILL HAS THEIR IDENTITY!!! It is NOT THEFT, because you have not taken anything from them, they are deprived of nothing (except maybe some abstract type of sovereign individualism). But you are using their identity, and so are they!

I think the fundamental issue here is that information, once in the open, logically belongs to no one nor can it really be 'possessed'.

Re:Identity theft ISN'T! (1)

Psychotria (953670) | about 8 years ago | (#15658349)

What drugs are you on?

Deception carried out for the purpose of achieving personal gain while causing injury to another party.

Yes, fraud is not completely synonymous with theft, but fraud is always criminal. Fraud is usually used as a tool for theft. I'm not sure why your post is modded as insightful because, really, it's quite stupid. Fraud in 9 times out of 10 will == theft.

Re:Identity theft ISN'T! (2, Insightful)

SonicSpike (242293) | about 8 years ago | (#15658370)

No drugs...

I was talking about "theft of identity" not "using an identity in a fraudulent manner to commit theft". And you are right, fraud usually does lead to theft. But stealing someone's identity is near impossible.

And both theft and fraud are criminal and should be treated as such.

Piece of Crap (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15658149)

Thieves make me sick. I'm sure that most people don't have much love for them either, but this piece of crap wants someone to believe that it's an addiction that he might 'relapse' back into after prison. It's not an addiction, it's a crime with no excuse to justify it. You have no right to something that is not yours or that you did not earn and to try and pass your stealing off as an addiction is simply not taking responsibility. Sharma and his kind are worthless parasites on society.

The essential psychological basis of a criminal (3, Insightful)

jjohnson (62583) | about 8 years ago | (#15658153)

...is with the absence of any sense of responsibility for the consequences.

"It's an addiction, no doubt about that," said Mr. Sharma

Re:The essential psychological basis of a criminal (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15658198)

"...is with the absence of any sense of responsibility for the consequences."

Does that make all women criminals? :)

Not the Sharpest Tool... (4, Interesting)

monoqlith (610041) | about 8 years ago | (#15658178)

[...] sitting in the empty meeting hall at the Mohawk Correctional Facility in Rome, N.Y., where he is serving a two- to four-year term."
Two to four years? Gosh, if he goes in front of the parole board after the two are up, what is he going to say to convince them he's reformed? Maybe this will work:
"I get scared that when I get out, I might have a problem and relapse because it would be so easy to take $300 and turn it into several thousand."
I hope those folks at Mohawk in N.Y. missed today's issue of the most *widely read newspaper in the world.* Seriously, he must have some sort of brain disorder.

I'm not sure I get it... (2, Funny)

crossmr (957846) | about 8 years ago | (#15658219)

could you put another metaphor or two in the summary so that its really spelled out...

save money (-1, Troll)

brennz (715237) | about 8 years ago | (#15658250)

Instead of prison, execute a few of those identity thieves.

Public castrations also sounds just.

My girlfriend favors hard labor, e.g. chain gang breaking rocks.

This guy is an idiot (4, Insightful)

humankind (704050) | about 8 years ago | (#15658261)

Stories like this really irk me, and show how the industry wants to make the notion of identity theft much scarier than it really is. This is an example of an "identity thief?" This moron used stolen credit cards and shipped the crap to his parents' house where he lived. He's an idiot. Other people with common sense wouldn't do stupid shit like what he was doing. There's no skill involved in what he did. Any waiter or someone who handles credit cards on a daily basis could do the same thing, but they don't because they're not idiots like this guy.

In the end, anybody he ripped off probably didn't have to pay, so it was the merchants that got screwed if anybody, and this is becoming harder and harder to pull off.

If there's one thing this article does point out, it's that if the feds really want to stop identity theft damages, they'd shut down Western Union. That money transfer service pretty much solely exists now to play a party to scams of this nature.

Sarcastic Comment Imminent (0)

Ruins (981807) | about 8 years ago | (#15658268)

/begin sarcasm

1) This guy is clearly a scum bag, and worst, he is probably in the lower 5% in terms of intelligence amongst his theiving peers as he got caught. But, he has "Hollywood good looks", an "Addiction" and couldn't help himself according to TF interview. Instead of being demonized, he is portrayed as just your average guy who made some wrong decisions. He is just a moron that CHOSE to cheat his way into money, and failed. How is this even news worthy?

2) Everyone has an addiction. I am addicted to browsing the web at night and probably caffeine. That is not an excuse to do something that is morally and ethically wrong. Nor does it excuse the self-righteous way he presents himself. If you do something wrong, just take responsibility and say "Sorry. I made a mistake. I won't do it again". Blowing a one-line apology to a four-page article is crappy sensationalist journalism.

3) "He enjoyed chatting on AOL". This pisses me off.

Now excuse me while I go make a wrong decision and drive my car into some pedestrians. See, I am addicted to hitting people, ever since I played all those violent video games, like Grand Theft Auto. I can be contacted at "Ruins.Is@Moron.org" by the media if they wish to interview me. /end sarcasm

What to do if.... (5, Informative)

BobSutan (467781) | about 8 years ago | (#15658273)

As I posted in another related story, if you ever suspect (or know) you've been the victim of Identity Theft, here's what to do:

Contact the credit agency of your choice to put a fraud watch on your file. The agency you contact will notify the other two for you.

Equifax: 1-800-525-6285; www.equifax.com; P.O. Box 740241, Atlanta, GA 30374-0241

Experian: 1-888-EXPERIAN (397-3742); www.experian.com; P.O. Box 9532, Allen, TX 75013

TransUnion: 1-800-680-7289; www.transunion.com; Fraud Victim Assistance Division, P.O. Box 6790, Fullerton, CA 92834-6790

Its also a good idea to call 1-888-5OPTOUT to prevent banks, insurance companies, and those pesky fakers (remember the ChoicePoint fiasco) from getting ahold of your credit report. All 3 agencies use that same number for the opt out process. That should significantly cut down on those pre-approved credit card offers you get in the mail that can be stolen and used in your name as well.

And for the Active Duty members in the crowd that happen to be TDY, you should consider getting an Active Duty military alert placed in your name in addition to a fraud alert. You can never be too safe when it comes to preventing ID theft. However, no matter what you do there's still no guarantee you won't fall victim to the random oddity that can occur (such as a bartender swiping your card # and going nuts on Amazon).

For more info on how to minimize the risks of ID theft, or how to recover from it, check out the FTC's website at www.ftc.gov/idtheft

Re:What to do if.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15658299)

www.xovod.com

Re:What to do if.... (1)

solitas (916005) | about 8 years ago | (#15658324)

Good stuff to know. Thanks!

Re:What to do if.... (5, Informative)

locotx (559059) | about 8 years ago | (#15658354)

This is great and all, but I found that most of the time the credit agencies don't help too much. I've been a victim. Big whoop, you have a "Credit Fraud Victim" tag on your credit reports. That still doesn't matter, a company can still grant that credit request. You can have "Do not open any more credit accounts for this person" on your credit report and guess what, that will not stop companies from granting it. Credit reporting companies are there to report the bad things and protect the companies that are granting credit and even then they are merely reporting a potential risk. They do not help the consumer. REPEAT. They do not help the consumer. I've had a "Credit Fraud Victim" label attached to all my credit reports (all 3 companies) and I have a case number with the FTC. And STILL, I get credit accounts opened up. Nothing says frustration than doing everything that has been asked only to find out a $13,000.00 loan has been granted without you knowing and now it's in collection. Then when you contact the company that granted the loan, they treat you as if you are a theft and have to prove you didn't request the loan. Where as my thought process is "Wait a second you sorry sack, you granted a loan and you didn't check and see if it was me and now you are saying that I am trying to trick you out of paying this, you must be nuts." It's a very frustrating battle. This is something that happens a lot . .it's the "elephant in the room no one is talking about". . . but until it happens to you . .you will not know the frustration of having your identity stolen (or used fradulently).

Poor Mr Sharma ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15658347)

There's nothing wrong with this piece of human trash that a baseball bat couldn't fix.

Another Portrait (0, Flamebait)

wbren (682133) | about 8 years ago | (#15658375)

Here's another portrait [u-blog.net] of what I imagine an identity thief would look like.
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