Mike Harris reports:
Ventura County’s online credit card payment system was apparently hacked from the Philippines, enabling scam emails to be sent to many residents who used the system to pay their 2007 property taxes, officials said this week.
Treasurer-Tax Collector Steven Hintz said the phishing emails appeared to be sent over the weekend in an effort to trick recipients into providing personal information, such as Social Security numbers, which can be used for identity theft. He advised residents not to open or reply to the emails, which falsely appear to be from the county.
“The hacker acquired a large number of emails from people who used the Epay-it.com system in 2007, then generated false emails to those addresses, which give the appearance of coming from the Ventura County web administrator,” Hintz said.
Hintz said his office has been telling residents that county information technology officials say no personal or financial taxpayer information was obtained by the hacker from the county’s system.
“Because we don’t retain any personal information when people make payments, the county IT people are positive that no personal information was compromised,” he said.
Hintz said county information technology workers learned over the weekend that the county’s Epay-it.com system had been hacked, but have since blocked the intruder from any further access.
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