Monday, December 26, 2011

Hackers penetrate Stratfor, pilfer consumer accounts; are the banks liable?

The hacking movement called “Anonymous”, connected to Julian Assange, claims to have played Robin Hood by stealing credit card, debit card and other personal information from a US security think tank, Stratfor. The money pilfered from these accounts was then given to some charities like Save the Children, but obviously the charities will have to return the funds.  Will the banks affected (with debit cards) have to make up the difference?

The Business Week story is here

Stratfor Global Intelligence now says that its site is “undergoing maintenance”, link here
 
Supposedly Statfor had not encrypted the information. 
 
The latest, from TGDaily, (link) is that Anonymous denies the attack. 
 
Here’s Stratfor video on YouTube (34 min, on month old) with Robert Kaplan and George Friedman, on China’s dominance.  
 

Thursday, December 08, 2011

Using NCOA as part of a scheme to stop fraudulent accounts could help USPS revenue and budget situation


The United States Post Office is announcing big budget cuts, with longer delivery times and probably suspension of Saturday and maybe Tuesday deliveries.  The USPS says it is totally self-supported, not by taxes. 

It would seem to me, then, that to use NCOA as a plan to buttress identification of people to prevent fraudulent accounts from being created  (Sept. 25, 2006), could help add revenue to the USPS, which it badly needs. 

There has been talk that Facebook’s strict policy on using real names is motivated by the idea of using the site as a de facto standard of online identity, maybe a real future revenue-generating opportunity for the company.  If so, it would seem that it’s conceivable it could be brought in as a partner in a way of preventing fraudulent accounts. 

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Does the FICO score really monopolize the credit world?


Lynn Parramore has a big article on AlterNet on the Fair Isaacs FICO Score, “Are you held hostage by bad credit? The hidden truth behind the shady credit agencies that can ruin your life”, link here.

Now, “ruin your life” is a loaded phrase. I remember drill sergeants using it in Basic Training back in 1968, claiming an “Article 15” would “ruin your life”.  It wouldn’t.

When I worked for Chilton (now Experian via TRW) in Dallas in the 1980s, we had a project called “risk predictor”, extracts from credit reports fed to Fair Isaacs.  There is also a competing score called Vantage (discussion) and Sunday I discussed a new service called CoreLogic. 

But AlterNet is right to question why the responsibility to bear the burden of errors in reports should fall on consumers.  I have not had many problems; I did have a credit card hack in 1995, and in 2000 I got dinged by a debt collector for a credit card that I thought I didn’t have anymore (a debt more than ten years old).  

Sunday, December 04, 2011

Core Logic offers more refined credit reports and scores on consumers


There’s a new credit reporting company, CoreLogic, which will provide lenders a more nuanced credit score and report based on smaller items like rent payments and even payday loans.  It appears to look for items frequently requested by services like TenantCheck.

Tara Siegel Bernard has the New York Times story Saturday here

Here is CoreLogic’s source on consumer lending.  The company says it also provides information on trends in property values which could help consumers as well as lenders (avoid loans that will go upsidedown).

Will credit scores based on “online reputation” come next?

Saturday, December 03, 2011

Arrest for ATM-related crimes in MD raises questions of consumer liability


A man who had been released on bail in Maryland after one carjacking committed several moe, including three at a Wheaton, MD mall. He would kidnap elderly drivers returning to their cars and force them to drive to ATM’s.  A Nov. 30 story reports on his re-arrest by Montgomery County, MD police. 

The question that comes up is, would  consumer habits placing a limit on the daily withdrawal from an ATM (say $300) minimize loss and discourage such crimes?  Would limiting ATM use to just one card also help?
Will banks refund for losses to such robberies?  What about on debit cards?  If on credit cards, are consumers still liable? 

Does anyone know?  News reports didn’t cover this.  Here is Washington DC ABC affiliate WJLA's coverage.