Warns Consumers to be on the Watch for "Spear Phishing” Scams Due to the Sony Data Breach

Share Article Urges Users to Look Out for Suspicious Phone Calls, Emails or Letters

According to a recent report from Sign On San Diego, customers of Sony Online Entertainment should be cautious of “spear phishing” scams after a hacker may have accessed personal information on more than 24 million accounts, including email addresses and passwords.

Privacy experts reported that these cyber criminals may have enough customer information to send customized emails, legitimate looking letters, or make calls from what appears to be Sony to try and obtain more personal information including credit card information or Social Security numbers.

Sony Online Entertainment issued an advisory urging their customers to be on the lookout for these scams. Sony’s advisory included a statement that informed customers that they would not receive correspondence from Sony requesting credit card information, Social Security number, or other personal information. They urged consumers to report these requests if received.

Sony Online Entertainment division, which offers online video games, unexpectedly shut down its services as soon as the security breach was discovered. The Sign On San Diego report went on to expose the multi-player and online PlayStation attack exposed personal data, including possibly credit card numbers, for 77 million accounts along with names, email, addresses, gender, birth dates, phone numbers, login names and personal passwords. Sony says its credit card data was encrypted, meaning the numbers were scrambled. But according to The New York Times several investigators have reported numerous credit card numbers associated with the Sony breach for sale in cyber-criminal forums online.

According to the Sign On San Diego report, both PlayStation and the online consumer base may have been affected by the recent breach, which may have exposed personal information for a total of more than 100 million accounts, making it a significant breach. The Sony incident emphasizes how sizable data centers, where millions of bits of information are stored on servers can be accessed by hackers via the Internet. provides the following tips to help avoid falling victim to scams related to the Sony breach:

  •     Sony PlayStation network customers who suspect their credit card numbers were acquired during the recent breach should reports to their credit card companies immediately and cancel the cards associated with their Sony accounts.
  •     Sony and PlayStation customers should change their login and passwords at their banks and other online accounts.
  •     Monitor credit reports from the three major credit rating agencies to ensure that account information hasn’t led to identity theft. If identity theft is suspected, request a freeze on the reports and accounts.
  •     If consumers receive a suspicious call, use the caller ID or request a number to return the call, and look up the ten digit number on to verify that it is legitimate.


Number Investigator is a leading provider of reverse phone lookup services that enable consumers to simply search a number, including cell numbers (where available), landline numbers and VoIP to accurately find the owner of that number. empowers consumers with a community of users that report and share suspicious or malicious calls and the phone numbers associated with them.


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