Identity Thief Gets Six Years for P2P Scam

By Beecher Tuttle September 19, 2011

A California man was sentenced to more than six years in federal prison last week for pilfering confidential data from U.S. service members and using it purchase hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of consumer goods.

Rene Quimby, 42, was accused of using peer-to-peer file-sharing networks to steal sensitive information like social security numbers and dates of birth from as many as 16,000 reserve and active-duty service members, according to court documents obtained by IDG News.

Quimby would then use the information to obtain victims' STAR credit card numbers from online customer support staff at the Army and Air Force Exchange Services (AAFES), an organization that service members use to purchase retail goods.

With the credit card numbers in hand, Quimby would head back to the AAFES website to buy iPods, digital cameras, computers, washers, dryers and other pricy goods. Quimby would have the merchandise delivered to various addresses throughout California, where he would sell them for cash.

U.S. District Judge Jane Boyle sentenced Quimby to 75 months in federal prison and ordered him to pay more than $210,000 in restitution to the AAFES after he pleaded guilty to charges of fraud and identity theft.

The case highlights a disturbing trend in the cyber world, where consumers have their personal and financial information compromised due to the security lapses of businesses. Cases like the Sony Network breach resulted in the compromising of personal data from more than 20 million users and a massive financial loss for the company.

A recent study from Norton found that the total cost of global cybercrime exceeds $114 billion annually, plus another $274 billion for the time lost cleaning up the mess. The figure trumps the combined value of the global black markets for marijuana, cocaine and heroin.

The report says that more than two-thirds of all online adults have been a victim of cybercrime.

Beecher Tuttle is a TechZone360 contributor. He has extensive experience writing and editing for print publications and online news websites. He has specialized in a variety of industries, including health care technology, politics and education. To read more of his articles, please visit his columnist page.

Edited by Jennifer Russell

TechZone360 Contributor

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