Tag Archive for 'data theft'

TD Ameritrade owned by spammers for years

The anti-spam community has been long suspecting something’s not right with TD Ameritrade. It seems email addresses of new customers of TD Ameritrade leak to spammers very soon after they were used to create TD Ameritrade accounts. This has been going on for at least 2 – 3 years.

The leading theories for the cause of the data leaks has been either unauthorized access to TD Ameritrade customer information or a marketing partner of TD Ameritrade’s selling mailing lists to third parties.

Today the suspicions have been proven true, as TD Ameritrade published information that they have uncovered “unauthorized code” on their system allowing spammers access to their customer records. And that’s pretty much all TD Ameritrade said.

It took TD Ameritrade far too long to react to customer complaints regarding their leaking customer information. It also took them far too long to find this backdoor on their computer system. It’s incredible a leading brokerage company in the United States can operate for years without knowing spammers are tapping into their customer information in real-time.



Update: Looks like it really was Chase who called me. Damn phishers making everyone paranoid.

Today I’ve received two calls on my cellphone supposedly from 1-800-454-9078.

The automated call claims to be from Fraud Center at Chase and is asking me to verify information regarding my Chase PriorityClub credit card. The caller has my cellphone number and the last four digits of my credit card. I can only imagine what the caller wants to do with the data.

I use this credit card very seldom. In fact, I haven’t used it for months before yesterday. Someone, somewhere swiped my credit card information yesterday. Very interesting. I used the credit card on two online stores yesterday. Both supposedly VERY reputable. Either they, their credit card processing company of my PC have been hacked.

I don’t think it’s my PC, because I make purchases from it using other credit cards all the time, and I haven’t received similar phonecalls about my other credit cards before.

Let’s see what kind of payments will start appearing on my credit card this week.


FBI bullying phishers

The FBI and Polish police have arrested several people in the United States and 11 people in Poland in connection to phishing and dealing stolen credit card information.

It’s good to know something’s being done about the organized credit card theft. It’s the fastest growing crime out there today.


Aetna stores your data on laptops

Yet another data theft, and yet another company that’s completely failed to protect your confidential information.

Will Aetna get in trouble for this as they should? Of course not, just like with any other company that mishandles your data, there will be no consequences to Aetna, except a little egg in their face.


IRS to allow selling your data

And just the other day I wrote about credit bureaus selling your data to everyone and their dogs.

Here we have the IRS suggesting relaxing the rules that tax preparers live by when they’re preparing your federal tax returns. The suggested change in rules would allow the tax preparers to sell data to data brokers, but also protect your data by allowing consumers to opt-out from sending your tax documents to be prepared offshore.

Wonderful rule change. Protectionism – yes, that very same thing George Bush said never works in his last State of the Union address, I guess the memo didn’t quite make it to IRS – and relaxed data privacy regulations in the same package.

I wish I could say I’m making this shit up.


Privacy? There is no such thing.

The Realty Times article reveals how credit bureaus (Experian, Equifax, Transunion) are selling your fresh mortgage application data within 24 hours of your you filing a mortgage application with a bank.

They’re selling the information to mortage lenders with your phone number, credit score, what kind of a mortgage you applied for and everything else they know about you. Equifax will probably also sell your email address with the data, too, considering they do e-pending for other clients as well.

There is no way for consumers to opt out and there is no way to know where your data ends up. Why would phishers and other criminals even bother with cracking when they could just pretend to be a mortgage lender and legally (!!!!!) buy your information for peanuts. The information would be much more uptodate, i.e. valuable as well. You bet the information is resold to anyone who pays for it. The possibilities for misuse are huge.

Some mortgage brokers are very upset about this practise, because the credit bureaus are basically selling their mortgage leads to their competitors. Some suggest the practise is a violation of the Fair Credit Reporting Act.

Personally I say the data brokers should be shut down by law, but we know that’s never going to happen considering the way the US legislators work. At the very least the data brokers should be tightly regulated and completely permission based, meaning not one bit of your data transfers hands unless you specifically allowed it. This wild west mentality towards your financial and other information is exactly why we have the widespread phishing problem.

I’m in the process of applying for a mortgage at the moment. If I get unsolicited calls from mortgage brokers, after applying for one, that’ll be one interesting phonecall. Anyone with ideas how to most effectively f*** with anyone that calls me, leave a comment or send me an email.


Good riddance to bad rubbish

Visa has decided to ban CardSystems Solutions from processing transactions for visa credit cards. Banks using CardSystems Solutions to process visa card transactions have been given till October to find another payment processor.



The state of data privacy in the United States

A hacker gains access to a payment processing system and installed a trojan in the system that listened to credit card transactions. MasterCard reports “More than 40 million credit cards may have been breached.”

Good thing the financial institutions are keeping our financial information secure these days, though. It’s not like this sort of thing happens every week…oh, wait, but it does.