Friday, October 31, 2008

U.S. State Dept. Warns Passport Applicants Of Danger of Credit Card Fraud

Glenn Kessler writes in The Washington Post:

The State Department has notified approximately 400 passport applicants in the D.C. area of a breach in its database security that allowed a ring of thieves to obtain confidential information so they could fraudulently use credit cards stolen from the mail, officials said.

The scheme, involving two major government agencies, came to light months ago through a fluke. On March 25, D.C. police officers on a routine patrol stopped a car on the suspicion that its windows were excessively tinted, an apparent violation of city law. Smelling marijuana, the officers searched the car and discovered that the 24-year-old driver was carrying 21 credit cards not in his name and printouts of eight passport applications -- and that four of the names on the passport applications matched the names on four of the credit cards, according to documents filed in U.S. District Court.

Upon his arrest, the driver, Leiutenant Q. Harris Jr., told police that he worked with a co-conspirator who was employed by the State Department and another co-conspirator who worked for the U.S. Postal Service, court documents said. Officers on the scene called American Express about some of the cards in Harris's possession, and were told that they had recently been used and that a fraud alert had been placed on them.

More here.


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