Stories

The IRE Resource Center is a major research library containing more than 27,000 investigative stories.

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Search results for "Social Security numbers" ...

  • The Tax Refund Scam

    All con artists need is a computer and an easily obtained list of stolen social security numbers to perpetrate a scam that has cost the U.S. Treasury billions of dollars in fraudulent tax refunds. Steve Kroft reports on this scam that is getting out of hand because the IRS hasn't found a way to stop it.
  • Privacy on the Line

    “Privacy on the Line” documented security breaches and fraud in the implementation of a $2 billion federal phone subsidy for low-income families. We found tens of thousands of applicants to Lifeline, were put at heightened risk for identity theft when more than 170,000 sensitive records were posted publicly online. While researching companies participating in the Lifeline program, Scripps investigative reporter Isaac Wolf discovered a data breach touching residents of 26 states.
  • Early on the Case: Identity Theft

    A person's identity is stolen in the United States every three seconds. The investigation examined the underground world of identity theft and the online chat rooms where scammers buy and sell social security numbers, credit card information, bank account numbers and more. The series also investigated medical identity theft.
  • Ghost Drivers

    "For years, Indiana has suffered the embarrassment and dubious distinction as a "fraud Friendly" state when it comes to obtaining bogus licenses and identification cards. A new administration vowed to put a stop to it. But 13 investigates discovered the state's top agencies for prosecuting fraud weren't following through on the legal end. Investigative Reporter Sandra Chapman began tracking the case of an accused Bureau of Motor Vehicles worker accused of fraud. What she found instead was a system allowing known illegal drivers using social security numbers from decreased residents to operate free and clear of Indiana law."
  • Privacy Offenders

    "The U.S. Census Bureau's local facility left piles of confidential records unguarded, sitting in a large, unfinished and unlocked room- for months."
  • The Dr. Files

    KTUL was able to buy 6,971 medical files at an auction after a doctor retired, for just $5. The records included social security numbers, addresses and medical information.
  • To Catch an ID Thief

    NBC worked with specialized investigators to penetrate an Internet underground "where criminals brazenly buy and sell credit cards, bank accounts, passwords, PIN codes and social security numbers." Their investigation tracked packages bought with stolen identities to a theft ring in Europe.
  • Hiding in Plain Sight: Illegal Immigration in the Carolinas

    With the help of the Charlotte Observer, WCNC-TV investigates the effect of illegal immigration on the Carolinas. Reporting in Mexico is part of the study as they find: that a government database designed to help employers verify social security numbers encourages illegal workers to steal numbers, stores sell "international drivers licenses" that are worthless, a congressional candidate who took his opponent to task regarding illegal immigrants has actually benefited from illegal workers, and Spanish speaking "notarios" give legal advice they are not licensed to give, getting the immigrants in more trouble.
  • Archdiocese Hires Criminal

    The personnel director for the Archdiocese of Cincinnati knowingly hired a criminal to run a new program designed to protect children. His job was to conduct the fingerprint and background checks now required of all volunteers who coach or help out in Catholic schools. The investigation uncovered the personnel director was a close personal friend of the criminal for more than 20 years and that the troubled young man claimed the personnel director had sexually abused him as a child. He claimed he continued his sexual relationship with the personnel director in exchange for jobs, money and clothes. The criminal had access to the social security numbers of thousands of Catholic volunteers. It was shown how he continued to commit crimes while employed by the Archdiocese, and how the personnel director continued to cover for him, even bailing him out of jail.
  • Crony played a numbers game

    The Denver Post's review of Civil Services practices found that "one of a handful of people with criminal histories to administer Denver's police and firefighter exams collected his paychecks by using Social Security numbers that belonged to others."