Tag Archives: ID Theft

Feds Bust 100 for ID Theft – Unfortunately, A Drop in the Bucket

The FBI charged 104 people with identity theft related charges.  The people were operating in South Florida.  Included in the group was a former secretary for Jackson Health System – she played a key role in stealing patient records that were used in a tax fraud scheme.

The group stole records on 24,000 patients in an effort to obtain false tax refunds.  The secretary, Evelina Sophia Reid was suspended in February 2016, a year ago, on suspicion of stealing patient records.  She was arrested this month.  I don’t know, but I suspect it took the feds a year to connect the dots.  Possibly, she was helping the feds.

The 104 defendants represent 81 cases where 30,000 people’s information was stolen.

In case you are wondering why these people were doing this, they planned to collect $60 million in fake tax refunds.

If you consider it, however, that represents an average of a half million per person.  That’s not very much given the risk, it seems to me.

Jackson Health is Miami-Dade’s public hospital system.  How, exactly, a secretary had permission to access and download patient records for 24,000 patients seems to represent a bit of a security hole.

The hospital, in a bit of a P.R. spin, said the secretary had finally been fired and that they had upgraded their security – better late than never, I suppose.

Jackson Health is in the middle of a $1 billion plus makeover, much of it with publicly financed bonds and they would just like this to go away.

Assuming there are some trials, and with a hundred defendants, there will be trials,  it will be years before it “goes away”.

I am sure that there was no ill intent on the part of the hospital with respect to protecting patient information, but there were choices made – spend money, or not.  Change processes, or not.  Prioritize security over convenience, or not. Things like that.  None of those priorities change until the feds are swarming all over town and your name is all over TV, radio, the Internet and even the newspaper.

Now the priorities change.

People figure the bad guys are going to attack someone else, not me.  That works until it doesn’t work.  That’s what Jackson Health is learning the hard way.

It is great that the FBI did capture these 100 people.  Hopefully,  many of these people will be convicted and spend a long time in the crossbar hotel.

In the grand scheme of things, however, this is just a drop in the bucket and this will will make absolutely no difference – except for to those 100 or so people.

If people and businesses don’t take cyber security more seriously, the feds will continue to be totally and completely overwhelmed and things will only get worse.  The most popular password is still 123456 and less than 10 percent of people use two factor authentication.

Security is inconvenient.  That is a reality.  However, if you think security is inconvenient, consider this.  That inconvenience is trivial compared to the inconvenience of dealing with your company getting breached.  How much do you think Miami’s Jackson Health has spent over the last year and will spend over the next several years dealing with this?  Several years. Really.  It will likely be at least two or three years before all of these defendants make it through just the trial court round.

Information for this post came from the Miami Herald.