Tonight's guest Kevin Mitnick was released from federal prison in 2000 after serving time for cyber crimes. Since then he has turned his life around and now seeks to help citizens and companies from becoming the victim of information thieves. In the book he co-wrote, The Art of Deception (1)he presents a variety of scenarios that con artists have used to swipe valuable facts.
Referring to such criminals as "social engineers," Mitnick details how they use inside company lingo to manipulate employees, often over the phone, into giving them safeguarded data. In one chapter he writes about "The Invisible Employee," a woman he calls Shirley who is one of the rapidly growing legion of identity thieves. Shirley poses as "Norma Todd from the Cleveland office," to a customer service employee and through a set of seemingly innocent circumstances is able to finagle the service worker into giving her a voice mailbox.
After that is achieved, she continues the deception by speaking with another company employee, this time saying she is with "Collections in the Cleveland office." By claiming that her computer is in the process of being fixed by tech support, she requests confidential information about a "client," i.e. mother's maiden name, card number, payment history etc. From there she requests that the info. once gathered be left on her voicemail number should she not answer. "Since the phone number Shirley provided was clearly an external extension, there was no reason for any suspicion," Mitnick writes.