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Wednesday, May 05, 2004

Social Engineering

Wired News has a story called "Hack Your Way to Hollywood", about a woman who worked in AOL's call center and used the info she got there to start conversations with Hollywood celebrities:

    Hired by AOL in 1997, her $6-an-hour job involved answering subscriber questions, resetting lost passwords and solving billing problems. With access to screen names, phone numbers, addresses and credit card numbers through AOL's customer database, she gathered information on politicians and movie industry power brokers to pursue her career dreams.

    During about a year and a half of employment at AOL, the woman, known by the AOL screen name "HooterR," contacted or struck up online relationships with Goldie Hawn, Carrie Fisher, Tom Hanks, Meg Ryan, producer Lauren Shuler Donner and the late comedian Chris Farley, according to Robinson and Ebner.

Seems she has quite a history of on-line shenanigans:

    In late 1994, Robinson teamed up with a high-school friend and concocted a scam to assume the identity of an imaginary Air Force colonel to romance Robinson's single mother, Janet Robinson.

    Heather obtained access to an Air Force base near her Tucson home and sent her mother photographs and love letters from a fictional Col. Cunningham, duping the recent divorcée into believing she was carrying on a virtual affair with an officer. Heather perpetrated the fake affair for three months. She went so far as to send her mom a marriage proposal consecrated with the delivery of a ring, which she bought with a stolen credit card and altered ID swiped from an employee at the Air Force base.

    The girls were arrested Feb. 10, 1995, and confessed to having used stolen credit cards to make more than $4,000 worth of attempted purchases. Because Robinson had no prior criminal record, charges were later reduced from felony to misdemeanor, resulting in a 120-hour community service sentence.

    "We were 16 years old, and I wanted to do something good for my mom," Robinson said. "After the court stuff was done, my mom put her arm around me and said, 'I understand why you did it and maybe some day they'll make a movie about it.'"

A movie? Well, duh, what do you think she was doing chatting with all those celebs?

    Perfect Man is slated for release in 2005.

I heard this story in my car this afternoon (when I ran out to get a pack of gum I left there). I thought it would be good blogging material. But I instantly forgot about it... until I saw the story on Boing Boing (of course). It's on Boing Boing because the person who did the radio story is a Boing Boing contributor. Small world.

All images Copyright 2004-2005, cleek.