Identity Thief Caught Selling Personal Info to Police

Computer servers. (AP Photo/Google, Connie Zhou, File)

Among the material hackers seek when they raid databases is personal information about individuals in that database – such as names, telephone numbers, identity numbers or other personal information. Such information is salable, as it can be used for a number of purposes – such as marketing.

That was the sales pitch of one individual, who tried to sell undercover police officers data about hundreds of thousands of customers of the Phoenix insurance company. The data for sale included contact information, as well as other details such as medical and family history from past claims. According to police, the seller told the undercover officers that they could use the information to “market” insurance policies to potential clients.

“During the meeting, the individual said he had a large database of names, and that each name could be sold for NIS 1.50,” police said in a statement. “He offered us 13,000 names, but we know the database contains 500,000 names.” Once the deal was done, police arrested the individual, as well as an accomplice, who is believed to have actively purloined the names from the database.

The Phoenix Insurance Company said in a statement that police were able to prevent the sale of the stolen information in time to prevent damage to customers. “No financial information was transferred in this instance,” the company said. Attorneys for the culprits said that their clients had committed no crimes, and they looked forward to their day in court.