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Federal Secret Service Investigates Security Breach on Municipal Court Site

The US Secret Service is investigating at least 6 individuals of central Ohio on charges of making an unauthorized entry to a state website and stealing several Social Security numbers to open counterfeit credit accounts.

Detectives from Worthington presented evidence to help federal authorities in the investigations after a crime lab of the state found that a security breach in the website of the Franklin County Municipal Court allowed compromise of personal information of around 270 people across the nation.

Ted Paxton, police detective of Worthington, said that people victimized in Kentucky, Ohio, Wyoming, Texas and South Carolina might not be aware that theft of their identities had occurred. Ohio published this on December 22, 2007.

According to Paxton, there had been over $40,000 worth of unauthorized purchases of phones, electronics, shoes and clothing. The case was forwarded to the US Secret Service that investigates cases of identity theft over the Internet, and because this particular case involved so many actual and potential victims.

One of the victims first to report illegal purchases through her credit cards was a 22-year-old woman from Worthington. The woman's report started off the investigation and police discovered that goods were shipped not to her address but to someone else's. When police visited the other address they discovered banking information and receipts on 72 different names and a notebook PC that contained 200 additional names.

Police also found that somebody was posting Social Security numbers on the website of Clerk Lori Tyack. The site had personal information on many people accused of misconduct. Anyone hitting on a number could use the corresponding name, age, address and other details to open bank accounts and obtain credit cards.

The Municipal Court site allows public to search court records dating since 2001 and gets over 16,000 hits a day.

The Ohio Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation conducted a forensic examination of computer data files and determined the potentially affected victims' names. The court has presently terminated the service for public searches by driver's license or Social Security numbers and is trying to facilitate the function for lawyers, police and others.

Related article: Federal Judge Penalizes spyware Distributor

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