Debt Collector Accused of Stealing Personal Info from MOL Website

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Photo courtesy Brian Turner https://www.flickr.com/photos/60588258@N00/

Pick International Asset Management (元誠國際資產管理股份有限公司) is accused of stealing personal information from about 58,000 users on a Ministry of Labor human resources website, UDN reported.

The financial company had been authorized as a debt collector and traced debtors to the Taiwan Jobs website. The company was able to log into the debtors’ accounts because the Ministry of Labor provided the same initial default password to all users and many of those users did not change the password from”123456.” The user name for all who signed up for the site was the national ID number, which the company already had on file.

Through the system, Pick International was able to find the most recent address and phone number of the people in an effort to improve its debt collection performance.

Between January 2015 and July 2016, the company allegedly attempted to log into the government website 84,000 times and was successful more than 58,000 times.

Prosecutors in New Taipei launched an investigation into the financial company’s operations last October. During interrogations, employees admitted to using illegal methods to obtain personal information to improve performance. Three people, including the CEO have been charged with computer fraud and violations of personal information.

In January, the Ministry of Labor updated its system to better ensure security of personal information. Instead of the national ID number as a user name, the users’ email address is the default. It is still, however, the responsibility of the user to change the password after registering.

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