Location: Scotts Valley, CA, United States

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

ID Theft - Thousands of Banking Profiles Stolen

More than 100,000 customers of Wachovia Corp. and Bank of America Corp. have been notified that their financial records may have been stolen by bank employees and sold to collection agencies.

In all, nearly 700,000 customers of four banks may be affected, according to police in Hackensack, N.J., where the investigation was centered.

The bank record theft was exposed April 28 when police in Hackensack charged nine people, including seven bank workers, in an alleged plot to steal financial records of thousands of bank customers.

Bank records contain sensitive and personal information on each depositor, including their social security number, and other private information such as the mother's maiden name. Used together, perpetrators gain access to the victims finances and often open accounts in the victims name, which the victim may not discover till the collection agencies come looking for payment.

Hackensack Police Chief Ken Zisa said collection agent Orazio Lembo Jr., 35, received lists of people sought for debt collection and gave that information to bank workers, who would compare names with their client lists.

Employees accessed records at Cherry Hill, N.J. based Commerce Bank; PNC Bank of Pittsburgh, and Charlotte-based banks Wachovia and Bank of America, according to police.

The thieves were reportedly paid $10.00 for each individual's record.

This kind of activity behooves us to gain protection, such as the Identity Theft Shield from


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