Credit Card Fraud Investigators Expose 68,000 Hacked Accounts
Security experts recently uncovered a list of over 68,000 online account usernames and passwords captured by amateur cyber-criminals, according to recent news reports. Investigators at law enforcement agencies and at private research companies used the discovery to warn consumers that even unsophisticated hackers can gain access to credit card account information and other crucial data using basic "phishing" techniques.

As technology expert Leo Laporte explained on a recent episode of his radio show, thieves often need just the password to a target's e-mail account to cause financial damage. Many credit card issuers authenticate password change requests using customers' e-mail addresses. Accessing popular e-mail accounts, like those on Yahoo or Hotmail, can give criminals just enough data and opportunity to initiate fraudulent credit card charges and cash transfers.

"Phishing" attacks often take the form of e-mail disguised as official communication from a bank, an e-mail provider, or a trusted vendor. Investigators warned consumers to use passwords only on secure websites reached through typing an address directly into a web browser and not by following an e-mailed link to a potential impostor site.

About the Author


Joe Taylor Jr. is an internal business consultant for a Fortune 500 company, who writes about finance, culture, and design. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Communications from Ithaca College.