Monday, March 24, 2014

Everyone pays price of ID fraud

She had $4,000 of yet-to-be-billed charges from Bowling Green and Hendersonville, Tenn. on her card.

Johnson called the police in both cities. Bowling Green police went to Kohl's that night to check video surveillance. A woman, also named Dana Johnson, had used her own ID and Johnson's Social Security number to make purchases without physically having a Kohl's card with her.

"I don't know that I'll ever know how she got my information," Johnson said.

Johnson found that the other woman also had opened accounts and racked up $1,000 at Target in Hendersonville and $1,201.10 at Macy's in Bowling Green, and tried to open an account at TJ Maxx. Many of the purchases were jewelry and toddler clothes and toys r us credit card.

When Johnson asked a representative from Kohl's how the other Johnson had spent $4,000 on her Kohl's card when she has a $1,500 limit, the representative told her the woman had made a payment with a check. It wasn't until several days later that they found the check was bad.

Johnson called each store and the credit bureau to prove that the person who made those large purchases was not her.

"This made me furious. I was just absolutely appalled," Johnson said by phone from Louisville.

Kohl's even sent Johnson a thank you note for spending such a large amount. She said it was "like rubbing salt in the wound," even though the people responsible for sending those notes to customers likely had no idea her identity had been stolen.

Johnson said she has always been cautious with all identifying information, such as her SSN and credit card numbers.

It also was troubling that the other woman had given the stores Johnson's old home address from four years ago as the address to send the bills. If Kohl's hadn't notified Johnson about the fraudulent activity, the stores would have sent bills to Johnson's old address without her knowing for an even longer time. The woman also changed Johnson's date of birth on her credit report.

"This was definitely not her first go-round," Johnson said. "She knew what she was doing. ... She had a nice little shopping spree right before Christmas."

The same Dana Johnson who used the identity of Johnson in Louisville also used the identities of various other Dana Johnsons in the country, including Florida, Connecticut and Kansas.

Dana Johnson of Lake Worth, Fla., made an unsettling discovery Jan. 15 when she checked her credit card account and saw another card had been opened Jan. 9. It was from Ashley Furniture. When she called the company about it, they told her it was a small charge and not to worry about it. By the next day, there was a $10,000 charge to Ashley Furniture.

Additionally, $507 was put on a card at Victoria's Secret in Franklin, Tenn., and $4,553 on a card created at Target for which the limit had been set at $2,500. She was denied a card at Babies "R" Us because the birth date she gave didn't match the SSN.

"If she had pulled this in the fall, she could have messed up me buying my home," Johnson, who recently purchased a home with her husband, said by phone from Lake Worth.

Bowling Green police arrested Dana Albertha Johnson, 28, 3218 Silvercreek Ave., Apt A, on Jan. 10 and charged her with being a fugitive. She was released from jail Jan. 14. She was arrested again Jan. 17 and charged with one count of receiving stolen goods valued at more than $10,000 within a six-month period, fraudulent use of a credit card over $10,000 within a six-month period, 13 counts of identity theft, two counts of second-degree criminal possession of a forged instrument, receiving stolen goods valued at $500 or more but less than $10,000 within a six-month period, possession of stolen mail matter and receiving stolen property valued under $500.

She is in Warren County Regional Jail, awaiting her day in court.

Everybody pays

Brian Strow, an associate professor of economics at Western Kentucky University, said the individual victims of identity fraud aren't the only ones who pay a price.

"Identity fraud or fraud in general increases the cost of all items," Strow said.

Costs that companies incur by someone stealing another's identity and using that to make purchases have to be covered, Strow said. Companies often pass the costs onto customers.

Last year, there was a new victim of identity fraud every two seconds, totaling about 13.1 million, according to a report by Javelin Strategy & Research. That's about 500,000 more victims than in 2012.

"I think the increase in identity fraud has stemmed from an increase in online purchases," Strow said.

More traffic on Internet stores makes it easier for someone to hack information and use it fraudulently, Strow said.

The Javelin study showed 44 percent of all fraud involved online transactions.

"It's pretty hard to steal my identity if I'm going into a store and paying cash. There's no data," Strow said. "As soon as someone pays with a credit card, the door is now opened to steal that data."

Strow noted the security breach Target stores across the country experienced after Black Friday, during which numerous customers' credit card numbers were compromised. Strow said he believes Target and other retail stores used that incident as "a wake-up call" to increase security.

"It's in retailers' interest to make sure they offer secure online financial services," Strow said.

No matter how many precautions companies take, though, they can't guarantee protection of consumers' identities.

"The best thing is for each individual to be on their guard," Strow said.

Visiting and shopping on reputable websites and not responding to emails requesting credit card information are some ways people can prevent identity theft.

One-third of consumers who received a data breach notification in 2013 became a victim of fraud, according to the study. In 2011, it was one in five consumers.

Although there was an increase in the number of identity fraud victims from 2012 to 2013, identity thieves stole less money in 2013. In 2012, criminals stole $21 billion with another's identity. That amount fell to $18 billion in 2013.

Accounts on eBay and PayPal also are increasingly becoming targets of fraud. Thefts through eBay and PayPal accounts totaled about $5 billion in 2013, which was tripled from 2012, according to the study.

People committing fraud are growing more likely to take over existing bank or credit card accounts - such as Johnson's Kohl's card - than to open a new account using someone's personal information. In 2012, 24 percent of identity fraud losses occurred through existing bank or credit card accounts. A year later, 28 percent of identity fraud losses occurred in that way.

Since having her identity stolen, Dana Johnson of Louisville has fraud alerts placed with each of the credit bureaus associated with the stores where she has cards and where the other Johnson opened accounts. She also checks her reports often. Johnson is whittling down the amounts on her credit cards and is not opening any more at stores.

"That won't prevent (someone) from opening an account, but it's easier for me to monitor," Johnson said.

Dana Johnson in Lake Worth said she now refuses to put her SSN on anything, such as forms at the doctor's office. When she opens a card with a store, if it has a Visa or American Express logo on it, she'll send it back and ask for one that can only be used at the store and not for any other purchases.

Dana Johnson in Lake Worth said the feeling she had during the incident was like she was being punished for having good credit.

"It's just frustrating," she said. "You don't know the person, you don't care to know them, but you feel invaded. ... you're the one defending yourself when you've done nothing wrong."

The Dec. 13 and Dec. 14 shopping spree, allegedly conducted by Dana Albertha Johnson, has cost Johnson in Louisville a lot of time and hassle.

"I had excellent credit. Not sure I do anymore," she said.

Around the time of the incident, Johnson was making payments on some furniture, so she quickly paid it off and closed out the account before another Dana Johnson or someone else could use that information.

"I'm just fortunate I didn't have to make any big purchases right now or get a loan for anything," Johnson said.

Although Johnson is doing all she can to be even more cautious than she was before her identity was stolen, what happened was beyond her control.

"I'm not sure what I could've done differently to prevent this," Johnson said.

Things could have been much worse if the other woman had used more than just store credit cards, she added.

"I consider myself very lucky," Johnson said.

- Follow business beat reporter Monica Spees on Twitter at or visit

Friday, March 21, 2014

GDC 2014: A Quick Look at 'X-Men: Battle of the Atom'

<Best Dealsp>Already available on the App Store, X-Men: Battle of the Atom [ Free] is one of the legit countless free to play collectable card games out there. However, it's got some neat features that might make it worth a second look if you passed it up when it launched in mid-January. Namely, massive player versus player battles that actually require a bit of coordination and communication once you get deeper in:

I'm partial to games like SolForge [ Free] when it comes to these free to play CCG's, and with a release of Hearthstone potentially right around the corner it's hard to get that excited for anything else... But it's still cool to see developers mixing the formula up and including new mechanics- Especially when tied with recognizable IP.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Possible Super Doubles at Harris Teeter next week

The national coupon forums are abuzz with rumors that Harris Teeter will be having a Super Doubles coupon event next weeek, starting Wednesday, March 26.

This is unconfirmed, folks, but I wanted to give you a heads up so you have time to get prepared.

Your best course of action?

*Get your coupons clipped and filed.

*Check the Discount coupon sites for coupons that might make a good Super Double deal. Look for $1/1, $1.50/1 and $2/1 coupons, in particular.

*Load digital coupons from your Harris Teeter E-VIC account. These can be stacked with paper coupons for extra savings.

*Load digital coupons from SavingStar, Checkout 51 and Ibotta. These, too, can be used in conjunction with paper coupons and will snag you cash back to spend later.

I'll keep you updated here on the blog and have a long list of freebies and good deals for you just as soon as it's confirmed.

In other words, just as soon as someone actually sees the ad.

In the meantime, here are a few tips and tricks to a successful Super Doubles shop and Harris Teeter's coupon policy:

Harris Teeter's Super Double Coupon policy:

You may super double up to 20 coupons per day per household. No more than three identical coupons. No more than two identical Internet coupons. Coupons with a face value of up to and including $2 will double. That means a $1.50 coupon will double to $3. A $2 coupon will double to $4. A $2.50 coupon is still worth $2.50.

A few tips for a more successful Super Doubles shop:

If you want to score the best deals, I recommend arriving at your store about 6:30 a.m. That will give you a half hour to shop and you'll be ready to check out at 7 a.m. when the promotion officially begins.

Don't expect your "DO NOT Double/Triple" coupons to Super Double. Harris Teeter's policy states the chain won't double them but many stores do. If one happens to double, consider it a bonus.

Don't forget to load your digital coupons onto your Harris Teeter loyalty card because Harris Teeter welcomes the combined use of digital and paper coupons and that means extra savings. You'll find the link on your E-VIC customer email. Note: While the vast majority of digital coupon offers are the same, not everyone gets the identical set. The digital coupons are good on one purchase only.

Google Play Gift Cards Launch In Hong Kong, Spain Availability Next On The List

<Best Buyp>Google Play gift cards are only available in a handful of countries around the world, but now they have made their way into Hong Kong. Here they are on Google Play in increments of 200, 500, and 1000 Hong Kong dollars.

The cards are available for purchase in local stores, though the only retailer currently listed appears to be 7-Eleven. One reader has shared with us an image of them out in the wild.

Spain is the next country to make the list. Like Hong Kong a few days ago, the country is shown as "coming soon," but cards will ship in increments of 15 €, 25 €, and 50 € once they arrive.

Google Play Hong Kong

Friday, March 14, 2014

Don't discount education

<Deal Nowp> I agree with Diana Smith ("Career choice isn't singular," March 4) that finding a perpetual, realistic, single life path may be unattractive. It is also very unlikely today. Not having one is exciting. So is leaping from Mount Rainier in a whiteout without survival gear.

I grew up in the 1950s, when everybody seemingly had a job, and I was surely going to get one no matter what. Fortunately, I had a solid K-12 education that was my foundation for state college, graduate school and employment. My job quest with all of this preparation involved moving from coast to coast and north to south. I also got advanced training along the way.

Smith makes no acknowledgment that education plays any part in her awareness plan. I hope that she has acquired the intellectual skills to cope with the ever-changing employment landscape she is facing.

Actor Jamie Foxx said his grandmother told him to get his "tools for life" the day he went to kindergarten. This insightful and profound message propelled him to stardom. Students and parents need to demand that they get their tools from K-12 education. Otherwise, they may face an exciting life of unemployed awareness.

David Webb

Sunday, March 9, 2014

EHE Auctions and Expert Heavy Equipment Alike Have the Best Deals on the Same Type of Equipment Seen at the ConExpo-Con/Agg Show

League City, Texas (PRWEB) March 08, 2014

The construction trade show ConExpo-Con/Agg has returned to the Las Vegas Convention Center, transforming it into an adult playground filled with everything from crushers to cranes and massive tractors.

But representatives with EHE Auctions say its online auction platform is the key to getting a great deal, regardless of whether you're a buyer or seller.

"EHE Auctions offers turn-key, stress-free online marketplace for buying and selling used heavy construction, farm and industrial equipment along with commercial vehicles," said Milissa Wise, Director of Operations for Expert Heavy Equipment, the parent company of EHE Auctions, which is owned and operated by former Marines.

Wise went on to point out that although the ConExpo-Con/Agg Trade Show is one of the biggest trade shows in North America, in more ways than one, that does not necessarily mean that the very Review are there.

More than 2,400 exhibitors at the trade show are showcasing the latest equipment and technology from every major construction industry, attracting contractors from across the county.

According to media reports, it generates approximately $160 million in non-gaming revenue, drawing more than 125,000 guests. Some exhibitors even say that their annual sales quotas are met during the convention.

"My question for any buyer is do you want the best price for the best equipment?" Wise questioned. Wise went on to say that it's a great event to attend to see what's new, "but when it comes to getting the very best deal possible on used heavy construction, farm and industrial equipment, Expert Heavy Equipment and EHE Auctions are the two best resources, without the travel costs."

Wise noted that with its auction platform being online, the company is able to be extra flexible and provide additional options that may not be available at the ConExpo-Con/Agg Trade Show.

In fact, EHE Auctions has partnered with WeGoLook and National Equipment Registry (NER) in an effort to provide customers with peace of mind when bidding on used equipment online.

WeGoLook has agents that will take a complete set of photos and a video of the machine so everything is disclosed.

In addition, EHE Auctions has a partnership with NER provides IRONcheck reports to ensure the machines being offered are not stolen and have no outstanding liens.

For more information, please visit:

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Nokia X Dual SIM Android Smartphone Available for Rs 8,499: Top 5 Attractive Online Deals

There are a number of Windows Phone devices that are rumored to be unveiled by the Finnish smartphone maker Nokia soon. While the good news for the Nokia fans around the world who have been waiting for an Android-based device from the same company for a long time is here as the company has recently announced a couple of affordable Android-based devices.

The smartphone series which come dubbed as Nokia X is in fact being rolled out currently. While in India the Nokia X Dual SIM handset is already available at the price of Rs. 8,500 via online stores. Thus today GizBot has come up with a number of Best Deals pertaining to the handset.

But before you jump on to the deals, take a look at the specs of the device. The Nokia X (Dual SIM) will come in Black, Green, Cyan, Yellow, Red and White color variants.

Recommended: Top 10 Best High-end Smartphones Available With EMI Offers In India

It comes packed with a 4-inch WVGA display having a resolution of 800 x 480 pixels, 1GHz dual-core Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Processor, 512MB of RAM, 4GB of internal memory. There's a 3MP fixed focus camera on the rear side of the device.

Besides being a dual SIM handset, it also supports 3G, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS with A-GPS connectivity options. The makers have added a 1500mAh battery fitted inside. The Android 4.1 Jelly Bean powered handset also features FM Radio.

Take a look at the sliders:

Click Here For The New Nokia X Dual SIM Smartphone Photos Gallery Recommended: Top 10 Best Quad-Core Smartphones To Buy In March 2014