Hackers Press the “Schmooze” Button
Chris Patten called a large investment-management firm to report that he was going through a divorce and was worried that his wife had set up an account under a false name.
And with that story — entirely plausible but in this case a lie — a customer-service representative turned over customer account numbers and other details with a readiness that makes banks and other companies cringe.
Mr. Patten, a 35-year-old cybersecurity expert who was with the U.S. Air Force before he started working for a consulting firm in Kansas City, Mo., didn’t actually use or sell the data, which he gathered in running a test for the investment firm of its security arrangements. But the ease with which the employee was persuaded to divulge the information points to a troubling trend, security experts and law enforcement officials say.