May 19th, 2002, 10:06 AM
NEWS: Hackers stole 13,000 credit records.
The key words here are "Social Engineering" at its best.
Ford Credit Co. warns 13,000 people to be aware that their credit card details has been stolen by hackers. The hackers posed as an employees of Ford Credit and retrieved credit detials of 13,000 people from a credit reporting agency called Experian.
Ford Credit sent a letter to the victims that hackers used an unauthorized authorization code from Ford Credit to get the credit reports from Experian, one of three major reporting agencies.
But here comes the big one. The hackers did not only retrieve credit card numbers but the inquiry also gave the hackers access to each victim's personal and financial information, including address, Social Security number, bank and credit card accounts and ratings of creditworthiness, which can be used to identify the best targets.
Ford Credit said it contacted Experian after the automaker received a phone call about an unauthorized credit check in February, which appeared as though it was made by Ford Motor Credit.
Inside job? could be.
Heh.. Privacy? what about Security?
"I've never seen anything of this size," a spokesman for Experian, Donald Girard, said. "Privacy is the hallmark of our business. We're extraordinarily concerned about the privacy issue here, and the trust factor."
Ford Credit alerted the FBI soon after that, and the letters were sent to consumers beginning in late April.
"This is not just a credit card number; this is the whole kazoo," said Richard Power, the editorial director for the Computer Security Institute, an industry trade group. A criminal could use the data to make credit card charges or even open bank and credit card accounts in the victim's name.
And as our feddie buddies usually say.. and I quote:
Neither Ford Credit nor Experian has determined how many people have reported fraudulent charges or other problems. Mr. Girard said that Experian had received 2,700 calls since the letters started going out this month. Although the unauthorized inquiries began in April 2001, Ford first heard about the problem in February, Mr. Van Leeuwen said. Only 400 of the 13,000 victims were customers of Ford Credit, he said.
Ford Credit also has a hotline dedicated to anwering customers questions on this matter, and the toll-free number is 1-888-838- 8176. For those who wish to contact Experian, the number is 1-877- 828-1530.
Dawn M. Clenney, a special agent at the F.B.I. office in Detroit, said that she could not comment, except to say, "We're on the case."