‘Lower than low’: Cybercriminals steal identities of Surfside condo collapse victims

There tend to be a few constants in life. One of these, which cybersecurity professionals know all too well, is that cybercriminals are usually lowlifes of the highest order. Preying on soft targets that can easily give them a big payday, these scumbags make one wonder if some people are just born evil. Such is the case with a recent string of identity thefts in South Florida. These cases happen all the time, but what doesn’t happen all the time is the type of victims being taken advantage of. According to a report from NBC 6 out of Surfside, Fla., victims of the horrific Champlain Towers South collapse are being used in identity theft schemes. In some cases, cybercriminals are attempting to withdraw money directly from the victims’ bank accounts.

In the report from NBC 6, Surfside Mayor Charles Burkett was quoted as follows:

It’s the revictimization of the victims that we’re sort of starting to experience right now with these hackers… They’ve seen the names in the paper, they’re going right to that and we’ve had to have discussions with the families and listen to them telling us the stories about all of a sudden credit cards appearing in their names and things being purchased in their name, so we’ve told ’em, you’ve got to immediately shut down your credit.

Multiple victims have been used in identity theft schemes, and while law enforcement is currently investigating the Surfside case, there are no major leads as of this article’s writing. Victims’ families have been in contact with the media about the effect that this is having on their grief. In all cases it is, understandably, compounding an already heartbreaking situation.

Joe Murphy, who lost close friend Estelle Hedaya in the Surfside condo collapse, had this to say in a recent interview:

All I can say is how low can you go? It’s hard to believe there’s individuals out here like that… Here we are setting up a fund in her name for St. Jude’s Hospital, doing something right, that’s the way things should be done, not this crap, that’s lower than low. If they find out who, they should put ’em in jail and throw away the key.

Law enforcement deals with identity theft cases all the time, but the high-profile nature of this particular case means that there may be a greater chance that the criminals can be found. An entire community in mourning wants justice, and that is hard to ignore.

Featured image: Wikimedia / Alexf

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