September 22, 2009, 1:15 AM — TS Eliot once said that April is the cruelest month, but when it comes to hackers, this past September hasn't been a good one for them. Whether the hackers are getting dumber or the cops catching them are getting luckier or smarter, it is hard to say. But what is clear is that this fall season hasn't been a good one for ID thieves. A number of news articles show that while some of them may be smart enough to lift your personal data and compromise your accounts, they weren't smart enough to remain ahead of the law.
Let's start out with a Denver man posed as an accountant and stole IDs from his client's tax returns. No word from the IRS as to whether any of his returns had any errors or generated any penalties. He was arrested and sentences to 10 years in prison.
A Miami man ran a rather complex ID theft ring that was responsible for numerous data thefts over the past several years. He accumulated millions of dollars of cash as a result, but he was smart: he didn't use a bank to deposit his ill-gotten gains, but buried some of it in a canister in his backyard. That didn't help him when the cops searched the premises and dug up the buried cash.
He was sentenced to 25 years in prison.
Maybe keeping your money in banks isn't such a good idea. Anna Bernanke's purse was stolen in August 2008. Someone started cashing checks using their bank account days later. What is interesting about this case is that she is the wife of the Federal Reserve Chairman. The woman who posed as Anna has been arrested and been a fugitive for several months.
And finally, if you are going to use someone else's ID for your own, pick someone that isn't all that well known. One man was caught using the name of Enrique Calero Carrion, which is the full name of the Florida Marlins reliever.