If they’re not safe who is? First Lady Michelle Obama is reportedly being counted among the victims in a string of recent high-profile personal security breaches.
On Monday, March 11, 2013, a Russian website posted what hackers claim to be Social Security numbers, credit reports and personal banking information of Michelle Obama, top Washington D.C. officials, several celebrities and even LAPD Chief Charlie Beck.
Jay-Z, Beyonce, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Paris Hilton, Ashton Kutcher were among the celebrities reportedly hacked; while other targets include Vice President Joe Biden, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, FBI director Robert Mueller, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder and former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin.
Financial, personal banking, credit card details and mortgage information as well as credit reports were “doxxed” (posted online) by a group of Russian hackers.
In an interview with ABC News, President Obama confirmed authorities were investigating whether hackers had indeed obtained and posted online financial information belonging to first lady Michelle Obama, several celebrities and politicians.
President Obama said “We should not be surprised that if you’ve got hackers that want to dig in and devote a lot of resources, that they can access this information,” Obama said. “Again, not sure how accurate but … you’ve got web sites out there that tell people’s credit card info. That’s how sophisticated they are.”
As of yet it has not been confirmed whether the information posted was accurate or whether it was a hoax. But ABC News spoke with former FBI agent Brad Garrett and he said “I’m very suspect [about] information released online. It goes against the very reason you steal them, it’s to use them…Is this a prank? Is this a hoax? Is it to get attention? That wouldn’t surprise me one bit.”
TMZ claims that the FBI has been “aggressively investigating” the case and knew about the “doxxing” before it was made public.
Who is Safe from Identity Theft?
Short Answer — No One. According to Identity Theft 911 website, 20 people are victims of identity theft every minute. It’s almost impossible to stop all breaches. Normal consumers do not have the benefit of the FBI investigating identity theft problems. Consumers must take protecting identity into their own hands.
Routinely Monitor Financial Accounts
Detect suspicious activity by monitoring your financial accounts and billing statements frequently. If your bills do not arrive as expected take immediate action. If you get unexpected credit cards or account statements in the mail do not ignore them.
Most importantly, if you are denied credit for no apparent reason, get a copy of your credit report to see if there is some excessive or negative activity occurring without your knowledge. Review your financial, bank and billing statements regularly and look for charges you did not make.
Sign up for a credit monitoring service that alerts you of any changes to your credit reports. And remember, the law requires the major credit reporting companies – Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion – to give you a free copy of your credit report every 12 months upon request. Go to www.AnnualCreditReport.com or call 1-877-322-8228 for your free credit reports.