Saturday, July 4, 2009

ID Theft: Corporate ID Theft, Case 1

If you think it's easy to steal some one's ID, you'll be really surprised how simple it is to steal the identity of a corporation. For this one, I'll bring in some personal experience.

One day, while in Washington, D.C. for an embassy party, I got a call from an FBI agent who said he needed some information on a borrower client of mine, from a few years earlier. The client had caused someone to wire my firm "some money", and he was investigating where it gone from there. I asked him to fax me his subpoena for my record, and to please give me the names by phone so I could begin the investigation.

The names associated did not sound familiar. "How much money was wired to us?" I asked.

"Nine hundred thousand dollars." His reply made no sense. I knew I would remember clients of such size. I told him I was suspicious.

The agent was quite seasoned, and knew enough to confirm the bank name bank account number of my operating account. I provided this, and he realized the account number had not matched. It was however, the a different branch of the same bank, in the same city as my branch. My company name and address had been used. I later double checked, to find I had no record of ever having received any such wire, and had no involvement with the named individuals.

So what happened?

Quite simply, someone had obtained a copy of the address articles of incorporation of my firm from public records, faked a list of officers, opened a bank account in the company name, pretended to be the company in offering like services, and got a client to wire them $900,000. for nothing. My corporate identity had been assumed. Their client (the mark) never saw the benefit of his $900,000. He thought he had been talking to the company, was made who-knows-what promises, wired money to the sammer when he thought he was wiring it to the real company, the rest is history.

No comments:

Post a Comment