A victim is sharing information about credit card fraud, stolen data, digital SIM card access, and other incidents after the Texas Department of Public Safety informed victims this month that it had unintentionally sent thousands of driver’s licenses to an organized crime group, the majority of which belonged to Asian Americans.
A 33-year-old senior consultant who chose to remain anonymous out of concern for retaliation claims that schemes using her fraudulent Texas driver’s license information have cost her $50,000.
The Texas House Appropriations Committee
Late in February, DPS Director Steve McCraw testified before the Texas House Appropriations Committee that a Chinese organized crime group operating out of New York had acquired 3,000 licenses with Asian names, including the consultants, which they intended to sell to primarily Chinese undocumented immigrants to pass them off as the victims. The government informed NBC News in a statement that there are now 4,800 victims. More than 2,000 people have also spoken with staff members about the problem.
Receipts and printouts of cheques allowed NBC News to confirm losses of $16,000. According to the consultant, several of the other challenged transactions are not listed on statements since Chase Bank handled them right away.
Because of privacy concerns, a Chase representative could not provide detailed information on her case. Still, they confirmed that the consultant had contacted them and that a claim had been made for the disputed transactions. Through Chase and insurance, she obtained and settled all the disputed funds.
Although McCraw said his agency learned about the attacks in December, he only told a state House committee about it at the end of February. The consultant’s experience started almost six months ago. She wanted to share her experience so the Asian community could receive more significant support.
She believes that those who lack the technological know-how to deal with the effects of identity fraud and weak English proficiency are not appropriately served.
She criticized the state, saying, “they need to do more for the neighborhood.” “Provide resources to the impacted communities.” The consultant claims that within a short period, she has had to deal with financial losses and notifications that scammers have attempted to open a large number of Capital One credit cards in her name, according to letters seen by NBC News.
The consultant claimed the unusual conduct started in November when her monthly payments stopped operating, even though DPS sent letters informing customers they were among the thousands of fraud victims in March. She called Chase Bank and learned that her account had been canceled. She then discovered two fraudulent $2,000 withdrawals that had been made before the closure of her performance after logging onto the Chase website.
The sufferer claimed that the withdrawal subsided rapidly, but the nightmare persisted. She claimed that in February, T-Mobile called her family members who shared a family phone plan to inform them that attempts had been made to request an eSIM card. Her phone’s data would be accessible to scammers thanks to the digital SIM card.
After spending hours with the phone company, the victim claimed she could finally regain control of her data and confirm that her driver’s license had been used to obtain the card. However, not before the fraudsters had briefly activated the eSIM card and gained access to her mobile Chase bank app, where they downloaded several of her Chase credit cards and a debit card to the Apple Wallet app.
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A Bank staffer informed her over the phone that fraudsters went on a $40,000 buying extravaganza. According to an NBC News review of a Louis Vuitton receipt, the scammers spent more than $7,000 only for the high-end label.
T-care Mobile’s staff had spoken with the victim, the company’s representative verified, but she could not provide further details out of respect for her client’s privacy.
“It’s not amateur,” she said. “They have a playbook, it’s happening very quickly, and they are not going through the traditional routes.”
The victim claimed that she had been perplexed by the attacks for months and had entertained the idea that the T-Mobile security breach might have something to do with it. She didn’t fully comprehend until she read this month’s NBC News report and a letter she eventually received from Sheri Gipson, the director of the DPS’s driver’s license division, dated March 18.
“I realized I am the 3,000 people who have been affected,” she said.
While DPS “decided to undertake a thorough investigation” before making the information known and immediately notified the victims, according to McCraw, their identifications may have been utilized before their notification.
A request for comment was turned down by the Department of Information Resources, which runs the Texas.gov website where the IDs were ordered.
Lacey Police tweeted that Called a citizen who had her license plates stolen a few months ago. You can see below:
Called a citizen who had her license plates stolen a few months ago and thinks she might know who took them! 🚓Following up on this in a bit; heading to another call! 🚓🚓 pic.twitter.com/iE7Gb7IMGe
— Lacey Police (@LaceyPolice) April 2, 2023
The DPS’s press secretary, Ericka Miller, made no comments regarding the inquiry. The department “continues working with those customers affected by the recent security issue to assist them with securing appointments to come into an office and acquire a replacement driving license (DL) or identification card (ID),” the spokesperson said in a statement.
The consultant continues to worry that her data may have been compromised. She claimed that despite visiting the DPS website for victims and speaking with seven departmental personnel, she has been unable to have her license suspended. And she worries that until she meets with the department in late April, when she may travel to the United States, she won’t be safe.
Despite this, she views her linguistic abilities and technological know-how as “privileged.” The nonprofit civic engagement and data group AAPI Data estimates that one-third of Texans of Asian heritage have poor English proficiency, defined as having trouble communicating effectively in English. Asian Texans for Justice and other organizations have urged DPS to contact all victims and offer language support.
“This is Texas,” the victim said. “Have it in Vietnamese. Have it in Chinese.”
Miller said in the statement that the department will contact victims who haven’t answered yet, but she did not specify if the letters themselves will be translated. She explained that those notifications would have links to notices in Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Vietnamese, and other languages.
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