Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Instagram Selfies Tied to Minnesota ID Theft Ring

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In Minnesota, the U.S Attorney’s office just announced an indictment of the largest identity theft ring ever seen in the state. Part of the scam included using bank information posted to social media sites. #Myfirstpaycheck ended up being a convenient search term for crooks and contributed to the nearly $2 million they were able to steal before being busted.

A quick search of #myfirstpaycheck on the popular photo sharing site Instagram reveals hundreds of selfies of proud individuals displaying their very first paychecks. Seems innocent enough, right? Think again Instagrammers. Information included on the photos of these paychecks, such as confidential bank routing numbers and checking account numbers, provided criminals all the information they needed to commit bank fraud and identity theft. Using that information, the crime ring in Minnesota was able to create duplicate checks and steal money from banks and employers. It has not been released yet how much of the stolen $2 million can be traced directly to the info obtained from the Instagram photos.

While unfortunate, this incident provides a valuable lesson as we move forward in the era of social media. The impact of these innocent selfies has spread far beyond the digital confines of Instagram. It is important for employers to educate employees on what is and isn’t acceptable online behavior when it relates directly to their jobs. Certainly posting a photo of a confidential document from a company, such as a paycheck, falls into the category of unacceptable and can lead to repercussions in and out of the workplace.

Pay News Now will continue to monitor this case as it unfolds. Until then, ensure you stay up to date on compliance news by watching some of our other videos !