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Millions of Sony PlayStation Users Become Data Theft Victims

Image courtesy of Flickr user Sam Howzit

Just like that, almost 80 million PlayStation owners became victims of one of the biggest cases of data theft ever.  The data robbery occurred between April 17th and 19th, and Sony had to deactivate the PlayStation Network in order to minimize damage and investigate the breach.  As a result, Playstation Network aficionados not only had to endure several days of no online gaming; they also had compromised personal info.

About the stolen goods…

If you have a PlayStation Network account, here’s what may have been stolen:

  • Your name
  • Your address (city, state, and zip)
  • Email address
  • Date of birth
  • PSN password and login

Sony also admitted that credit card details might have been stolen.  In fact, in the days following the breach, several PlayStation owners reported that they were victims of credit card fraud.  Even if credit card details weren’t directly stolen, cybercriminals might use other personal information to launch a phishing attack with the goal of stealing additional valuable information…like credit card info.

Also, as odd as it may sound, gaming accounts do have value on the black market, especially if they belong to skilled players who have been awarded playing privileges or desirable virtual goods.  In that way, personal gaming account info can be potentially circulated among criminals in the black market.

When you take all of these factors into account, the result is high potential for a whole lot of identity and credit card fraud.

About the Sony PlayStation Network…

Members of the PlayStation Network use it to play online games against one another, chat online, and watch streaming movies over the Internet.  In order to subscribe to it, members must submit credit card info and personal details (cue massive data breach).

What you can do if you have a PlayStation Network Account

Fortunately, there’s a lot you can do if you’ve been victimized.  Keep an eye out for any suspicious activity in your bank accounts, and cancel credit cards from accounts that are in jeopardy if necessary.  You can perform a search for past emails from Sony that tell you which credit card(s) you have on file.  Those are the ones you need to be especially worried about.

Be very cautious of potential phishing scams and any other scams carried out by phone, email, and postal mail.  Always keep in mind that Sony will never contact you by phone, email, or otherwise, to ask for your credit card number, social security number, or any other private, personal information.

If you’re someone who uses the same passwords for various online services—like email, Internet shopping, and online banking—make sure to change your other passwords STAT!  And now might be a good time to start diversifying your passwords…

Lastly, remember that there are people out there who can help you.  Contact your financial institutions about fraud protection services.  And for more information on data protection and identity theft, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission can be reached at the following email and phone number:

www.consumer.gov/idtheft

1.877.382.4357

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