Martes, Agosto 16, 2011

Hacker stole £35k from neighbours by using social media sites

A cyber criminal stole £35,000 from his neighbours' bank accounts by using information displayed on their Facebook and Friends Reunited profile pages.

Iain Wood, 33, of Newcastle, would compile information about his targets from the social networking sites to successfully get past security questions and steal money to fund his  gambling addiction.

Newcastle Crown Court was told last week how the carpet fitter pretended to be the neighbours in his tower block to get his hands on their savings and intercept bank cards.

After pleading guilty to seven counts of false representation, Yahoo! News was told how Wood was jailed for 15 months for the offences which lasted between June 2008 and June last year.

The fraudster would call up customer care centres and say he couldn’t remember the password. Neil Pallister, prosecuting said: “He would be asked security questions about dates of birth and mothers’ maiden names and he was able to give correct details in some cases. 

“He would make friends with people on Facebook and have got their usernames and then he would try it on the bank websites, on the basis people use the same passwords.”

Mr Wood was able to fool the system for two years until he became complacent and started transferring money out of one neighbour’s account and directly into his own.

His elaborate scam was foiled when one victim was contacted over the withdrawal of £1,500 and the police were called.

Northumbria Police thought it was a one-off but the court was told that Wood blurted out: “Have you been on to me for a while?”

Judge Guy Whitburn, at Newcastle Crown Court, said: “This is the first time I’ve come across a sophisticated fraud such as this, it was very well planned, complex and clever.”

“He was using other people’s identities and there was a considerable breach of trust in assuming his neighbours’ identities.

“It is an extremely bad deception on people in the same block of flats as he. People’s blood runs cold when they see money taken from their accounts.”

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