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IRS — Victims of Identity Theft Continue To Experience Delays And Errors In Receiving Refunds

April 10, 2015 Comments off

Victims of Identity Theft Continue To Experience Delays And Errors In Receiving Refunds
Source: Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration

Victims of identity theft continue to experience delays and errors in receiving refunds, according to a report publicly released today by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA).

This audit follows up on a 2013 TIGTA report which concluded that the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) was not providing quality customer service to identity theft victims. The objective was to determine whether the IRS is improving its assistance to victims of identity theft.

On average, the IRS took 278 days to resolve the tax accounts of identity theft victims due a refund, according to TIGTA’s review of a statistically valid sample of 100 identity theft tax accounts resolved in the Accounts Management function in Fiscal Year (FY) 2013. That is an improvement over the average 312 days it took the IRS to resolve tax accounts of identity theft victims due a refund in FY 2012.

National White Collar Crime Center Annual Report 2014

April 9, 2015 Comments off

National White Collar Crime Center Annual Report 2014 (PDF)
Source: National White Collar Crime Center

Throughout 2014, NW3C continually endeavored to empower law enforcement through innovative solutions, both by creating new tools and courses and by finding ways to improve existing processes. This report describes the impressive results obtained from consistent, dedicated effort.

In 2014, NW3C delivered classroom and web-based training to 20,593 law enforcement personnel. The number of people trained represents a 39% increase over 2013, due in large part to NW3C’s goal to make more courses accessible online.

By year’s end, NW3C had provided over 8,000 online training sessions covering a wide variety of subjects of interest to law enforcement, including intellectual property, identifying and seizing electronic evidence, social media, encryption, and legal concerns for digital evidence. Made possible in part by funding from BJA, these online training courses were offered free of charge to qualified law enforcement personnel throughout the nation, enabling them to conveniently obtain the skills needed to effectively serve their communities.

Assessing the Merits of Photo EBT Cards in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program

March 31, 2015 Comments off

Assessing the Merits of Photo EBT Cards in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program
Source: Urban Institute

In seeking to reduce the trafficking of benefits in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), states are considering policies to require that SNAP electronic benefit transfer (EBT) cards include a photograph of the household head. Such policies have sparked controversy, placing in direct conflict the desires to bolster program integrity with the statutory rights of SNAP household members to utilize their program benefits and receive equal customer treatment. Drawing on Massachusetts’ 2013 implementation of a photo EBT policy, this brief suggests that such policies are not a cost-effective means to promote program integrity and may hinder benefit access

Annual Report of the Departments of Health and Human Services and Justice: Health Care Fraud and Abuse Control Program FY 2014

March 26, 2015 Comments off

Annual Report of the Departments of Health and Human Services and Justice: Health Care Fraud and Abuse Control Program FY 2014 (PDF)
Source: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services/U.S. Department of Justice

During Fiscal Year (FY) 2014, the Federal government won or negotiated over $2.3 billion in health care fraud judgments and settlements , and it attained additional administrative impositions in health care fraud cases and proceedings. As a result of these efforts, as well as those of preceding years, in FY 2014, approximately $3.3 billion returned to the Federal government or paid to private persons. Of this $3.3 billion, the Medicare Trust Funds3 received transfers of approximately $1.9 billion during this period, and over $523 million in Federal Medicaid money was similarly transferred separately to the Treasury as a result of these efforts. The HCFAC account has returned over $27.8 billion to the Medicare Trust Funds since the inception of the Program in 1997.

In FY 2014, the Department of Justice (DOJ) opened 924 new criminal health care fraud investigations. Federal prosecutors filed criminal charges in 496 cases involving 805 defendants. A total of 734 defendants were convicted of health care fraud-related crimes during the year. Also in FY 2014, DOJ opened 782 new civil health care fraud investigations and had 957 civil health care fraud matters pending at the end of the fiscal year. In FY 2014, the FBI investigative efforts resulted in over 605 operational disruptions of criminal fraud organizations and the dismantlement of the criminal hierarchy of more than 142 health care fraud criminal enterprises.

NGOs and money laundering: Adapting EU rules to engage NGOs better

March 17, 2015 Comments off

NGOs and money laundering: Adapting EU rules to engage NGOs better
Source: European Parliamentary Research Service

Money laundering (ML) is a major global concern. The minimum identifiable direct costs of organised crime in the European Union (EU) are estimated at around €166 billion a year. Europol, the EU’s law enforcement agency and Eurojust, the EU’s Judicial Cooperation Unit, estimate the minimum costs of fighting organised crime at EU level amount to €210 million a year.

To efficiently tackle ML the EU has stepped up cooperation with civil society, including non-governmental organisations (NGOs). NGOs are engaged as collectors of relevant information on illicit activities, and in developing standards and implementing anti-ML rules. At the same time, however, NGOs are considered ‘subjects at risk’ in the ML framework, either as fronts for terrorist organisations that raise and transfer funds, or as legitimate enterprises that indirectly support the aims of terrorist organisations.

This double-sided position for NGOs may impact on the efficacy of the measures currently in place at EU and international level to certify their transparency and accountability. NGOs, in turn, see such attempts to regulate their activities as a threat to their independence, and thus occasionally resist them.

Minding the Identity Gaps

March 16, 2015 Comments off

Minding the Identity Gaps
Source: Social Science Research Network

In inclusion circles, the issue of digital identity tends to be dominated by the perspectives of law enforcement (anti-money laundering and – terrorist financing), legal compliance (how long records need to be kept), and technological implementation choices (phones or cards, biometric or not). But what needs to be at the center is how to manage the competing interests of providers and their clients over customer information. We examine three distinct trust gaps that define the core problem of digital identities: the confidence – or security – with which identities can be asserted and confirmed, the control – or privacy – with which personal information associated with one´s identity can be revealed and distributed, and the relevance and accuracy of the inferences – or reputations – that are drawn from people´ personal information and the history of interactions.

CRS — The EMV Chip Card Transition: Background, Status, and Issues for Congress (February 26, 2015)

March 13, 2015 Comments off

The EMV Chip Card Transition: Background, Status, and Issues for Congress (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via Federation of American Scientists)

Consumer financial card fraud due to data breaches of card information is an ongoing problem in the United States. The majority of breaches are carried out against point-of-sale (POS) systems, and are facilitated by what many consider to be the weak link in the U.S. retail sales payment process: the continued use of magnetic stripe cards (also referred to as stripe-and-signature cards). These cards are what most U.S. consumers think of when referring to financial cards.

In much of the rest of the world, cards that provide a much higher level of security for conducting sales transactions are used: EMV cards, named for the coalition of Europay, MasterCard, and Visa (the EMV Coalition or EMVCo) that developed the specifications for the system in the 1990s. EMV cards store card information on an embedded microchip and are more commonly called chip cards. With these cards, instead of swiping and signing to make a payment, the cardholder inserts the card into the POS machine, then either enters a personal identification number (PIN) or signs to verify the transaction. Fraud is significantly more difficult to carry out against chip cards, but financial institutions in the United States have until recently issued stripe cards almost exclusively.

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