Neighbour uses Facebook to hack bank accounts

If you place personal information on social networks, you might end up losing lot of hard earned money.

In UK, a strange case has come to light where a hacker has managed to steal 35,000 from online bank accounts of his neighbours after working out the answers to their security questions from information that they had posted on Facebook and Friends Reunited. According to sources, the hacker called Ian Wood used to spend up to 18 hours per day online, while trying to ferret out passwords and answers to security questions from personal information posted on networking sites.

Ian Wood, who is now 33 years old, mainly targeted people living in his immediate neighbourhood. Over a period of two years he stole 35,000, which he blew on gambling. His scam came to light when he became complacent and changed his modus operandi for the scam, and made the mistake of directly transferring the money from his neighbours account to his own bank account. When the victim of the illegal funds transfer was called, he said that he had not authorised any such transfer.

The cops got alerted and Ian Wood was arrested. Upon sustained interrogation, he revealed that he had been responsible for many such fraudulent transfers in the past. Most of the accounts that he hacked into had been lying dormant for many years. Normally he would work by contacting the customer care number of banks and saying that he couldn't remember the password. He would then be asked security questions about date of births and mother's maiden names and he was able to give correct details in some cases, as he had found a way of harvesting those details from Facebook and Friends Reunited.

While sentencing Ian Wood for 15 months in jail, Judge Guy Whitburn observed at Newcastle Crown Court, This is the first time I've come across a sophisticated fraud such as this, it was very well planned, complex and clever. He was using other people's identities and there was a considerable breach of trust in assuming his neighbours' identities. It is an extremely bad deception on people in the same block of flats as he. People's blood runs cold when they see money taken from their accounts.

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