Financial info on celebs, officials leaked online

Authorities and celebrities were grappling with how to respond to a website that posted what appears to be private financial information about top government officials and stars such as Jay-Z and Mel Gibson.

FILE - In this Feb. 12, 2013 photo, Beyonce Knowles attends the premiere of "Beyonce: Life Is But A Dream" at the Ziegfeld Theatre, in New York. Knowles is among 11 celebrities and government officials whose private financial information appears to have been posted online by a site that began garnering attention on Monday, March 11, 2013. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP, File)

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Authorities and celebrities were grappling with how to respond to a website that posted what appears to be private financial information about top government officials and stars such as Jay-Z and Mel Gibson.

The Justice Department said Monday the FBI was investigating how the Social Security number, address and a credit report of FBI Director Robert Mueller ended up on the site. The site also posted the same information about Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck, and the department said it was investigating the matter.

In addition to Jay-Z and Gibson, other targeted stars included Beyonce, Ashton Kutcher, Kim Kardashian and Paris Hilton. Info posted about Vice President Joe Biden and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton did not include credit reports but included addresses and other sensitive information.

Social Security numbers posted on Jay-Z, Gibson and others matched records in public databases.

The site, which bears an Internet suffix originally assigned to the Soviet Union, expanded throughout the day Monday to add entries on Britney Spears, former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin and others.

The site did not state how the information was obtained or why the people targeted on the site were selected, describing the records only as "secret files." A Twitter profile linked to the site and created after its existence was first reported by celebrity website TMZ included an anti-police message in Russian.

Several of the purported credit reports appear to have been generated last week.

Representatives of those targeted either declined to comment on the accuracy of the information that was posted, or they did not return messages seeking comment.

Los Angeles police Cmdr. Andrew Smith said the LAPD was investigating the posting of Beck's information and would also investigate the posting of info on any celebrities who live in the city and request an inquiry.

He said confidential information on top police officials has been posted online at least twice before.

"People get mad at us, go on the Internet and try to find information about us, and post it all on one site," Smith said.

"The best word I can use to describe it is creepy," he said about the practice known as doxxing. "It's a creepy thing to do."

Frank Preciado, assistant officer in charge at the LAPD online section, said the postings are also illegal. He said the information was likely taken from what is supposed to be a secure database of city employees.

Several of the pages featured unflattering pictures of the celebrities or government officials whose information was posted.

The site's page on Beck includes a taunting reference to former officer Christopher Dorner, who apparently committed suicide after he killed four people during a multi-day rampage. Beck's page included the message "(hash)YouCantCornerTheDorner" and an image of a woman protesting police corruption.

While government officials often have to disclose details on their finances — and celebrity divorces sometimes feature public financial data — the information posted online exceeds those disclosures.

Social Security numbers are rarely included in public records anymore because they can be used for identity theft.

___

Anthony McCartney can be reached at http://twitter.com/mccartneyAP . Tami Abdollah can be reached at http://www.twitter.com/latams .
Associated Press
Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Join the Conversation!

To comment, the following rules must be followed:

  • No Obscenity, Profanity, Vulgarity, Racism or Violent Descriptions
  • No Negative Community Comparisons
  • No Fighting, Name-calling, or Personal Attacks
  • Multiple Accounts are Not Allowed
  • Stay on Story Topic

Comments may be monitored for inappropriate content, but the station is under no legal obligation to do so.
If you believe a comment violates the above rules, please use the Flagging Tool to alert a Moderator.
Flagging does not guarantee removal.

Multiple violations may result in account suspension.
Decisions to suspend or unsuspend accounts are made by Station Moderators.
Links require admin approval before posting.
Questions may be sent to webmaster@wvlt-tv.com. Please provide detailed information.

powered by Disqus

WVLT VOLUNTEER TV

6450 Papermill Drive Knoxville, TN 37919 Phone - (865) 450-8888; Fax - (865) 450-8869
Copyright © 2014 WVLT-TV Inc. - Designed by Gray Digital Media - Powered by Clickability 197286421 - local8now.com/a?a=197286421
Gray Television, Inc.