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How Experian Got Involved In Vietnamese Identity Theft Ring

October 28th, 2013 · No Comments · Identity Theft

by Credit Info Center

(Last Updated On: October 28, 2013)
Social security numbers, drivers license numbers, credit card data, bank account numbers, and birth dates were among the personally identifiable information breached in Vietnamese identity theft ring.

Social security numbers, drivers license numbers, credit card data, bank account numbers, and birth dates were among the personally identifiable information breached in Vietnamese identity theft ring.

In March 2012, credit reporting bureau Experian bought Court Ventures, a data broker that resells personally identifiable information (PII) obtained through USInfoSearch.com. What Experian didn’t know at the time of purchase, or for at least a year after the fact, is that Court Ventures had been tricked into reselling PII to a Vientamese identity theft ring, compromising the identities of more than 500,000 Americans.

The irony of this situation is that the agreement between Court Ventures and USInfoSearch.com was that the information being sold was to be used for the sole purpose of fraud prevention and identity verification. Instead, Court Ventures was tricked into reselling the data to a Vietnamese identity theft ring posing as U.S.-based private investigators. Social security numbers, drivers license numbers, credit card data, bank account numbers, and birth dates were posted for sale on underground cybercrime websites Superget.info and Findget.me.

What’s particularly disturbing about this breach is that it continued on Experian’s watch for at least a year after the Court Venture purchase even though payments for the data were coming via wire transfers from Singapore.

Of course, none of this was common knowledge until just about a week ago when security reporter Brian Krebbs reported the connection between the Vietnamese identity theft ring and Court Ventures — a connection revealed via 2- and 3-character ID source codes attached to the breached data.

Though Experian stopped its reselling of information through Court Ventures once the breach was discovered, it’s unclear whether they have notified the 500,000+ Americans affected or what kind of free credit monitoring they may offer them going forward.

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