Computer With Bank Customers' Info Sold On eBay

A British man bought a computer on eBay for $65, and when he turned it on, he found the names, addresses, credit card numbers, account numbers, mother's maiden names, even signatures for a million customers of big financial institutions.

Copyright © 2008 NPR. For personal, noncommercial use only. See Terms of Use. For other uses, prior permission required.

RENEE MONTAGNE, host:

And our last word in business today comes from eBay, which says don't forget to erase the hard drive. A British man recently bought a computer on eBay for $65. He turned it on and found the names, addresses, credit card numbers, account numbers, mother's maiden names, even signatures for a million customers of big financial institutions, including the Royal Bank of Scotland and American Express. Turns out the computer used to belong to a digital archiving firm, which stores data for these financial companies. A former employee of the archiving firm sold the computer without removing the information.

Fortunately, the buyer was an honest chap. After noticing the sensitive information he contacted the authorities. And plenty of authorities are now investigating. eBay says it wouldn't allow people to openly sell bank details on its site, quote, "but this seems to have been a genuine mistake."

Copyright © 2008 NPR. All rights reserved. No quotes from the materials contained herein may be used in any media without attribution to NPR. This transcript is provided for personal, noncommercial use only, pursuant to our Terms of Use. Any other use requires NPR's prior permission. Visit our permissions page for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by a contractor for NPR, and accuracy and availability may vary. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Please be aware that the authoritative record of NPR's programming is the audio.

Comments

 

Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the NPR.org Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.