The Secret Service, stationed in locations throughout Pennsylvania, is responsible for protecting visiting foreign dignitaries and heads of state. Though these protective services are considered primary, the Secret Service also plays a very important roll in investigating federal crimes as is evident in recent cases involving the investigative arm of the agency.
A rigorous investigation by Philadelphia Secret Service agents led to the arrest of three individuals accused of being responsible for a credit card scam aimed at military officers. Names and social security numbers of eligible officers that had been submitted to the Senate Armed Services Committee were posted on a website that cyber criminals managed to access. Using this information, they were able to get credit cards in the names of those officers.
Secret Service special agent-in-charge of the Philadelphia office remarked that the actual damage of $37,000 was far less than the potential loss of over $1.4 million. The defendants are facing a possible 30 years in federal prison and the investigation is ongoing in an effort to find other co-conspirators.
Requirements for Becoming a Secret Service Agent in Pennsylvania
Secret Service agents must have a bachelor’s degree or better from an accredited four-year college or university.
Pennsylvania has over 45 colleges/universities that offer degrees in relevant subjects like criminal justice, law enforcement administration, finance, criminology, etc. Additional requirements for those interested in becoming Secret Service agents in Pennsylvania include:
- Experience in criminal investigations or law enforcement
- U.S. citizenship/valid driver’s license
- Excellent health/physical condition
- Good moral character
- Able to qualify for a top secret clearance
- In-service training
The four Secret Service field offices in Pennsylvania and their telephone numbers are:
- Harrisburg, the state capital; 717-234-0214
- Philadelphia, largest city, 215-861-9300
- Pittsburgh, second largest city, 412-281-7825
- Scranton, sixth largest city, 570-346-5781
Pittsburgh Electronic Crimes Task Force
Established in December of 2004, the Pittsburgh Electronic Crimes Task Force brings together experts from law enforcement, private businesses and academia, who share their knowledge and resources to create a more secure electronic environment and apprehend those that violate that security. Task force members provide technical support for investigators and training for both law enforcement and businesses in order to sharpen skills and stay ahead of the increasing sophistication of cyber criminals. There is also a Philadelphia Area Electronic Crimes Task Force.
A recent internet-based investigation led to the indictment of a 35-year-old man on charges of wire fraud and identity theft. The accused was allegedly the founder of “CardersMarket,” an illegal carding network through which he sold thousands of stolen credit card numbers. The Pittsburgh Secret Service is actively working to curb the recent increase in cyber crime that targets both the financial/personal information of private citizens and the proprietary information of companies engaged in E-Commerce.
Secret Service Successes in Harrisburg and Scranton
Secret Service agents were actively involved in an investigation that resulted in the December 2013 conviction by a Harrisburg jury of two men found guilty of stealing over 100 credit card numbers from Harrisburg banks and credit unions. The pair was initially spotted in a Target store trying to buy gift cards with the stolen credit cards.
On August 24, 2013, the Secret Service raided a home in Scranton just prior to a visit to the city by President Obama. The man who lived there had made serious threats against the president. A large cache of weapons and ammunition was confiscated.