Street Gangs Sick Of Armed Robbery, Now Dabbling In Identity Theft

The trouble with armed robbery is that it’s a small-ticket business. Not so identity theft:

LA Times: Identity theft is soaring in California, and street gangs are angling for a piece of the action.

Recent cases point to an interest in identity fraud by organisations as diverse as a Long Beach chapter of the Crips, the Armenian Power gang and the prison-based Mexican Mafia, according to law enforcement officials and fraud experts.

The trend among criminals better known for violence and drug trafficking goes against type. Many people think of identity thieves as computer hackers of the sort named last week in a major international case centering on retailers including TJ Maxx, whose customers’ credit cards were scooped up during electronic intrusions.

But the basics of the crime are so easy to master — and the tools for mass fraud so widely available — that it has become attractive to traditional street gangs. Their role, which contributed to a 31% increase in identity-theft complaints to local authorities last year, is highlighted in a study of California identity fraud scheduled for release today by Identity Theft 911, a consulting firm based in Scottsdale, Ariz.

See Also: Your Credit Card Numbers: For Sale On Internet

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