Florida Attorney General - Volume 6_ Issue 43 by niusheng11

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									Florida Attorney General - Volume 6, Issue 43                                        http://www.myfloridalegal.com/NewsBrie.nsf/OnlineBriefs/D5C645EA...




                                     Publication of the Office of the Attorney General • Volume 6, Issue 43 • October 24, 2008



                                                                  Weekly Message from Attorney General
                                                                  Bill McCollum

                                                                  Saturday will conclude National "Protect Your
                                                                  Identity" Week, and I'd like to take this opportunity
                                                                  to talk to you about identity theft and how to avoid
                                                                  being a victim.

                                                                  Identity theft can take many forms, including
                                                                  computer-facilitated identity theft, child identity
                                                                  theft, and mortgage fraud-related identity theft.
                                                                  Last year, Florida ranked fifth in the nation for the
                                                                  number of identity theft complaints, with more than
                                                                  19,000 reported incidents. Floridians need to stay
                                                                  alert and aggressive when it comes to preventing
                                                                  identity theft.

                                                                  Businesses are not immune from ID theft. Recent
                                                                  data breaches have exposed millions of
                                                                  consumers' personal information, including Social
                                                                  Security numbers, bank accounts, mortgage
                                                                  information and credit and debit card numbers.
                                                                  The Federal Trade Commission reports that
                                                                  businesses nationwide lost $56.6 billion to identity
                                                                  theft in 2007.

                                                                  Scammers and ID thieves are getting very clever
                                                                  and tech-savvy, but with education and awareness
                                                                  we can fight this crime. Floridians can protect
                                                                  themselves by learning about scams, protecting
                                                                  their personal information, and regularly checking
                                                                  their credit reports for any unusual activity. More
                                                                  information is available online at:
                                                                  http://myfloridalegal.com, including more tips on
                                                                  protecting your identity.




                                      Hover over each image for a larger size.




                                      Attorney General McCollum announced Florida’s participation in a collaborative
                                      effort targeting credit repair operators, many of which deceptively claim they
                                      can remove any and all negative information from consumers’ credit reports.




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Florida Attorney General - Volume 6, Issue 43                                     http://www.myfloridalegal.com/NewsBrie.nsf/OnlineBriefs/D5C645EA...



                                      The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and 23 states joined forces in Operation
                                      Clean Sweep, a nationwide initiative to address this consumer protection issue.

                                      In recognition of National Protect Your Identity Week, Attorney General
                                      McCollum issued a consumer advisory warning Floridians about the crime of
                                      child identity theft. The Attorney General cautioned parents to be vigilant in
                                      protecting their children’s personal information and to report any potential ID
                                      theft to law enforcement. Although statistics are not kept on identity theft
                                      victims under 18, estimates indicate the crime impacts more than 500,000
                                      children nationally each year.

                                      Attorney General McCollum announced that a settlement has been reached in
                                      a case brought by Capital One against affiliated Hess Kennedy companies
                                      which engaged in fraudulent debt settlement activities. Under the settlement
                                      approved today, Capital One will forgive the credit card debt of approximately
                                      18,000 consumers nationwide, including nearly 1,900 Florida residents, who
                                      contracted with the Hess Kennedy companies for the fraudulent services. Laura
                                      Hess and the Hess Kennedy Companies are currently in Receivership as a
                                      result of a lawsuit filed by the Attorney General’s Office in February. As part of
                                      this settlement, Capital One will receive a payment of $1.825 million from the
                                      assets of the Hess Kennedy companies.

                                      Attorney General McCollum continued recognizing National Protect Your
                                      Identity Week, October 19-25, by encouraging businesses to take appropriate
                                      measures to protect their clients’ and consumers’ personal information. Recent
                                      data breaches have exposed millions of consumers’ personal information,
                                      including Social Security numbers, bank accounts, mortgage information and
                                      credit and debit card numbers. The Attorney General’s Office regularly receives
                                      complaints and inquiries from concerned consumers and companies alike on
                                      this issue.

                                      In recognition of National Protect Your Identity Week, October 19-25, Attorney
                                      General McCollum issued a consumer advisory warning Floridians about
                                      mortgage fraud-related identity theft. The crime can occur when “straw
                                      borrowers” are recruited to perpetuate a mortgage scam on a lending
                                      institution. The person who allows their good credit to be used as a straw
                                      borrower typically ends up with ruined credit, significant debt and potential
                                      criminal charges. The crime can also be perpetuated through criminal identity
                                      theft, which occurs when thieves steal a person’s identity or personal
                                      information, unbeknownst to the victim, and use that information to secure
                                      mortgages or other home loans.

                                      Attorney General McCollum announced the beginning of National Protect Your
                                      Identity Week and encouraged Floridians to be proactive to avoid identity theft.
                                      National Protect Your Identity Week takes place from October 19-25 this year
                                      and is designed to bring ID theft awareness and prevention programs to
                                      consumers in communities across the country. Florida ranked fifth in the nation
                                      last year for the number of identity theft complaints, with more than 19,000
                                      reported incidents.




                                      Attorney General McCollum announced that a Miami-Dade County man was
                                      sentenced to five years in prison for identity theft. Nelson Negrin was
                                      sentenced after pleading guilty to a number of ID-theft related crimes, including
                                      criminal use of personal identification, felony theft, obtaining a vehicle by fraud
                                      and possession of a fictitious driver's license. He was prosecuted by the
                                      Attorney General's Office of Statewide Prosecution.

                                      A Pensacola man formerly employed by an adult day treatment program has
                                      been arrested for sexually abusing three mentally disabled women under his
                                      supervision. Mark Stephen Harris was arrested today by law enforcement
                                      officers with the Attorney General's Medicaid Fraud Control Unit.




                                      Attorney General McCollum announced that Florida has joined 32 other states
                                      and the District of Columbia in a $60 million settlement judgment against Pfizer,
                                      Inc., resolving a five-year investigation into the company’s marketing practices
                                      of certain pharmaceuticals. In addition to the financial aspects of the resolution,




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Florida Attorney General - Volume 6, Issue 43                                      http://www.myfloridalegal.com/NewsBrie.nsf/OnlineBriefs/D5C645EA...



                                      the settlement will largely affect Pfizer’s marketing practices for its products.
                                      Florida was a member of the Executive Committee which negotiated the
                                      settlement.




                                      Florida Joins FTC, States Targeting Credit Repair Operations in "Operation
                                      Clean Sweep"

                                      McCollum Warns Floridians about Child Identity Theft

                                      Pensacola Man Arrested For Sexually Abusing Three Disabled Women

                                      Agreement to Help Hess Kennedy Victims Will Eliminate Credit Card Debt

                                      Florida Joins $60 Million Judgment against Pfizer Resolving 5-Year
                                      Investigation into Pharmaceutical Marketing

                                      Businesses Encouraged To Safeguard Client Data during "Protect Your
                                      Identity" Week

                                      McCollum Warns Floridians About Mortgage Fraud-Related Identity Theft

                                      McCollum: Mark Start of National "Protect Your Identity" Week by being a
                                      Smart Consumer




                                      Attorney General Bill McCollum's bi-weekly audio message for this week is
                                      available online at the following link: http://www.clickcaster.com/billmccollum.




                                      The Attorney General's debt relief consumer protection initiative was featured
                                      this week on CNN's American Morning. See the video here.




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