The other day reader Dave wrote us because he’d noticed a bunch of strange debits from Sprint on his bank account. Since he uses Sprint, he thought it was a billing error, albeit a serious one, because Sprint had debited $1,717.49 in the past two weeks. Dave hadn’t been able to find anyone at Sprint to help him reverse the charges and wrote to us for advice. Yikes!
Al Schweitzer, a former pretexter, described before Congress the underlying principle of how, for fun and profit, he was able to trick various agencies and institutions into giving up other people’s confidential and personal information.
Identify the piece of information you are after; identify who or what institution is the custodian of the information sought; based on real world situations or actual operational procedures of the target institution, figure out under what circumstances and to whom the desired information would be released; be that person under those circumstances.
Emphasis added. Using this method Al was able to get people’s phone records, bank statements, and tax returns for his clients, who were often insurance companies, lawyers, and law enforcement. He successfully pretexted the IRS and the Social Security Administration. Simply put, if someone with money wants it, your personal information is not secure.
The RIAA and MPAA are telling California legislators that lies and deceit are an integral part of their anti-piracy strategy. The importance of lying, masterfully demonstrated by Jim Carrey in his 1997 hit “Liar Liar,” is at issue as California legislators mull a measure that would ban pretexting. Otherwise known as lying, pretexting involves the use of “false statements and other misleading practices to get personal information.”
In addition to the password protection, the rules also require carriers to ask for customers’ permission when sharing private account information with business partners and independent contractors.
The FTC asked a district court to announce a forever ban against businesses using false pretenses, or “pretexting,” to acquire customers phone records and then sell them to third parties.