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Data Breach Update ~ August 22, 2008


Data Theft by Countrywide Insider

A former Countrywide Financial Corp. employee and another man were recently arrested by the FBI for an alleged scheme to steal and sell the Social Security numbers and other sensitive information of approximately 2 million mortgage applicants. The Los Angeles Times reported that this security breach happened roughly over a 2-year period and was one of the largest breaches reported in years. The Countrywide employee was Rene L. Rebollo, Jr. Rebollo worked as a senior financial analyst at Full Spectrum Lending, which is Countrywide's subprime lending division. His alleged partner in crime was Wahid Siddiqi. Authorities believe that Siddiqi was the reseller of the data. U.S. attorney's spokesman Thom Mrozek said that it is believed that most, if not all, of the information was sold as leads to people in the mortgage industry. Authorities say that the customer profiles were sold for about 2.5 cents each.

Arrest Made in ATM Data Breach Scam

After a four month investigation, the Los Gatos Monte/Sereno Police Department arrested Raymond Kurt Fisher in connection with an ATM scam in Los Gatos. NBC11 reported that Fisher is accused of making fraudulent charges or cash withdrawals totaling $300,000. Fisher was employed in the meat department at Lunardi's, a Los Gatos area supermarket. He is accused of stealing customer credit and debit card data. Police say that the majority of the withdrawals were made in Southern California. Fisher is charged with burglary, conspiracy and DUI. Additional charges may also be filed against him in connection with this data breach and theft.

Brewery Data Breach Affects 150,000

Missouri-based brewer, Anheuser-Bush, sent a letter to the Florida Attorney General's Office that said that several laptops stolen in St. Louis during June contained the personal information of approximately 87,500 Florida residents. The Press Association reported that the personal information belonged to current and former employees of Anheuser-Bush, their dependents and more than 3,000 people who were recipients or providers in employee assistance programs. The brewery also notified the state of California that nearly 55,000 of its residents were affected in the data breach. Residents of New Hampshire, Virginia, Missouri and Texas were also affected in the data breach. The stolen laptops contained Social Security numbers, addresses, dates of birth and other personal information. So far, there have been no reports of the data being used for identity theft crimes. Anheuser-Busch says that the laptops were password protected and the data was encrypted. The people who were affected in this data breach are being offered one year of free credit monitoring services, which will also hopefully keep them mindful of preventing bankruptcy.

Clear Program Data Breach

The Clear Program, which is in use at airports across the country, has announced that a laptop containing the personal information of approximately 33,000 people was stolen. The Orlando Sentinel reported that the laptop was stolen at San Francisco International Airport. The Clear Program offers an airport security pass that enabled travelers to move through airport security areas quickly. Members pay $128 for a first year membership and are pre-screened so that they may avoid delays at the airport. Information contained on the stolen laptop included the names, addresses, dates of birth and driver's license numbers of Clear Program members.

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