New Jersey Woman Who Lost $10,000 Gambling Claims Someone Stole Her Identity
A New Jersey woman claimed to have had her identity stolen in order to cancel her $10,000 in gambling debt. Diana Zolla of Jackson township filed a complaint alleging someone used her maiden name to register a New Jersey online gaming account and gamble.
Zolla gambled away $9,565 in losses and fees. Her report claimed she had not signed up for an account. Instead, she claimed that an identity thief stole her information, signed up the account in her name, and gambled using her money. In Zolla’s report, she claimed to have noticed the deception only after the identity thief had lost nearly $10,000 in her name. Such a scenario would be an identity theft horror story, if it were true.
Records Indicate Zolla Gambled
When authorities investigated Zolla’s banking records, online gaming activity, and IP address records, they determined she was the one responsible for creating the account and gambling. After making that determination, Diana Zolla was arrested, arraigned, and released on bail. She will make a mandatory appearance in Atlantic County Superior Court to answer the charges.
Col. Rick Fuentes, Superintendent of the New Jersey State Police warned residents not to attempt what Zolla had done. Pointing out that making such claims is “criminal activity”, Fuentes said, “People who gamble online may be tempted to fabricate an identity theft complaint in order to avoid paying their debt.”
Fuentes added that people lying about their gaming activities only make a bad situation worse.
How IP Addresses Work
Players should be aware that Internet service providers to see where the gaming activity took place. Records showed that the gambling took place at a specific Internet Protocol or “IP” address. All computes or other networking device have their own unique 32-bit address numbers. It requires little or no trouble for authorities to know from which address was used to log onto the Internet.
An identity thief presumably would be logging on from somewhere besides a gambler’s home computer. This is one way Zolla’s story did not mesh with the facts. Records of money transfers also would show where the activity came from. These can be matched with banking activity to determine the flow of funds at any given time, as well as the intent of the one approving the transactions. An identity thief is likely to behave differently with these funds than the person who actually owns the account.
Increasing Number of New Jersey Gamblers
It has been nearly six months since legalized online gambling started in New Jersey. Almost 300,000 people have registered accounts, with a 17% increase in signups between February and March. Each month, more accounts are created, which places a burden on gaming authorities to provide fair oversight.
While the launch of the New Jersey legal gaming sites has had its share of technical troubles, authorities have been able to solve most of the large-scale issues by now. No doubt a certain amount of fraud exists in the system, but New Jersey gaming regulators have a great deal of experience dealing with money fraud, after decades regulating the industry. The online gambling industry is presenting them with a new challenge, but the authorities still catch the basic infractions.
Officials Warn Gamblers Not to Commit Fraud
David Robuck, the director of the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement, wanted to emphasize the state seeks to provide fair, transparent gaming. He claimed the Diana Zolla case was just part of their attempts to “instill confidence in internet gaming operations for all involved.”
While consumer confidence tends to be the emphasis for transactions involving money, gaming officials have to protect both sides in these activities. Business have to be protected, which is how the state views online gambling operators tied to the Atlantic City casinos. The online gaming licenses were meant to help struggling casinos stay in business, while also raising more revenues for the state.
With that in mind, attempts to defraud the system are taken quite seriously by gaming regulators, law enforcement, and prosecutors. David Robuck added, “Suspicious transactions are thoroughly investigated, and as this case shows, attempts to defraud New Jersey casinos will not be tolerated.”
Online and mobile technology have advanced in the past few years, making licensed online gambling more feasible than it was a few years before. The Internet also makes the identity of the player traceable, so NJ officials want players to realize ploys like the alleged fraud of Diana Zolla will not work.