Celebrities' Financial Information Leaked Online
By Ivetta Babadjanian
Mar 11, 2013 - 5:18:57 PM
HOLLYWOOD—A number of celebrities and top government officials had their private financial information posted on a website that has not been taken down as of Monday, March 11.
Los Angeles police and the FBI have stated they were aware of the leaked information and have confirmed an ongoing investigation that allegedly began before the hackers went public. FBI Director Robert Mueller and Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck were among those that had their Social Security numbers and credit reports posted on the website.
Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck. Photo courtesy of LAPD.
The site's page on Beck features references to ex-LAPD officer Christopher Dorner who was killed last month after allegedly killing four people over a series of several days. Beck's page also had the message "#YouCantCornerTheDorner" beside an image of a woman protesting police corruption. In addition, the hackers have listed their motto on their Twitter account as "F--k the police" in Russian.
The pages for Vice President Joe Biden and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton did not include credit reports but they did include sensitive information such as home addresses.
“We will vigorously pursue the individuals that have made me a victim
and have made a number of other people that are in the public eye
victims,” said Beck on Tuesday, March 12.
The Social Security numbers posted on Attorney General Eric Holder, Mel Gibson, Jay-Z, Beyonce Knowles, Ashton Kutcher, Kim Kardashian, Mitt Romney, Tiger Woods, Kris Jenner, Paris Hilton and Director of the U.S. Marshals Service, Stacia Hyton, were a match to records in public databases.
Recent reports indicated an additional five victims were hacked, adding Britney Spears, Hulk Hogan, Donald Trump, Al Gore and Michelle Obama to the list of targeted people. The First Lady's page on the website states "Blame your husband, we still love you, Michelle."
None of those targeted have made a statement regarding the information or its accuracy. Many of the financial information are not usually disclosed in public records including Social Security numbers as it can be used for identity theft.
The FBI has warned the hacked victims to put safeguards on their bank accounts immediately in order to prevent any money from being stolen. The fraud alerts will have the bank contact the account holder anytime someone accesses their funds. The hacked victims are expected to contact the FBI if any unauthorized access to their funds occurs.
Credit reporting agency Equifax released a statement on Tuesday, March 12 indicating that multiple cases of security breaches have been reported. "Equifax can confirm that fraudulent and unauthorized access to four [celebrity] consumer credit reports has occurred.” Representatives from credit bureaus Experian and TransUnion also released statements that they are working with the victims to minimize financial damage.
A statement from Equifax spokesman Tim Klein reported that the hakers exploited a website used to provide free credit report. The three credit bureaus involved have said that the hackers used their victims' personal information in order to generate their credit reports.
Several of the hacked celebrities, who don't want to be named, have had issues with their business teams due to the latest security breach. Many people are calling the numbers posted on the website, some cases have reported over 500 calls a day for one phone number, in an attempt to talk to the stars. The numbers listed, however, are actually the numbers of the celebrities' lawyers, accountants and business managers.
The site does not state how the information was obtained or why those
specific people were selected, merely describing the records as "secret
files." Many of the obtained credit reports allegedly appeared on the
site last week. The website has gained over 450,000 views since it went public on Monday.
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