The consumers have spoken. Electronic Arts, better known by its nickname EA, is the Consumerist's Worst Company in America for 2012, as voted by users. For those of you who are familiar with EA, this probably isn't a huge surprise, EA's Origin platform is widely considered to be garbage, their DLC policies seem pretty greedy, and there are more customer support horror stories than you could ever care to hear. All that aside, EA makes video games, yet still beat out companies like Facebook, Apple, and in the final showdown, Bank of America, companies that stand accused of stealing your personal information, utilizing large amounts of sweatshop labor, and stealing your money or even your home, respectively. How could EA compete with that?
Bank of America
Due to the excessive costs of various lawsuits and the problems of a blockcade by nearly all large credit cards, WikiLeaks has stopped leaking and is diverting all power to
shieldsaggressive fundraising in order to get enough money to fight the credit card companies in court. Bank of America, VISA, MasterCard, PayPal and Western Union all refused to accept donations for WikiLeaks on December 7th of 2010 and the situation has reached a particularly dire point.
While it seems that the companies engaged in the blockade have gotten what they've wanted, WikiLeaks doesn't look like it'll be going down easy. The site is not shutting down and is, instead, fundraising like crazy. On every page a "donate" window pops up and upon clicking the donate button, users are provided with several walkthroughs explaining exactly how they can donate so that the money actually gets to WikiLeaks.
At the stroke of midnight last night, OperationLeakS, the supposedly Anonymous-affiliated hacker contingent which over the weekend had teased its possession of sensitive internal emails from Bank of America, posted its whole trove at bankofamericasuck.com. That site is currently down, presumably hammered by traffic, but OperationLeakS continues to tweet out links to mirrors of the files. As of posting, the emails have yet to be fully sifted through: However, one point on which the anonymous promoters of the leak have been putting some weight is Bank of America employees' alleged orders to remove the Document Tracking Numbers (DTNs) which are standard across all office documentation from incriminating documents, deliberately making them immensely difficult to track down. Business Insider:
We believe that the evidence that is supposed to be so damning is a series of emails showing that employees of Balboa asked for certain loan identifying numbers to be deleted, and they were. Anonymous said late Sunday evening, however, "this is part 1 of the Emails." So perhaps more incriminating correspondence is to come. And to be honest, these messages could be incredibly damaging, but we're not mortgage specialists and don't know if this is or isn't common in the field.The emails do not appear to have been leaked by an insider at Bank of America proper; an explainer file accompanying the email dump identifies the leaker as an employee of Balboa Insurance Group, formerly a Bank of America subsidiary. A Bank of America spokesman told Reuters that "the documents were clerical and administrative documents stolen by a former Balboa Insurance employee, and were not related to foreclosures"; Anonymous, meanwhile, said that they showed BoA wrongly foreclosing on homes. (via Business Insider, Soup)
Bank of America Buying Up “Hundreds” of Web Domains About How They “Suck” to Prepare for WikiLeaks Fallout
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange seemed to imply in a recent interview that Bank of America would be the major bank about which WikiLeaks planned to release a vast amount of potentially damaging information early next year. Forbes security columnist Andy Greenberg has his doubts, but Bank of America, in any event, seems to be taking no chances. According to Domain Name Wire, BoA has been quietly buying up "hundreds" of domain names related to how they or their executives "suck" or "blow."
Scary sign-of-the-times: A Florida man's home, which he paid for in cash last December, was foreclosed upon by Bank of America, despite the fact that he hadn't taken out a mortgage. From the South Florida Sun Sentinel:
[Jason] Grodensky knew nothing about the foreclosure until July, when he learned that the title to his home had been transferred to a government-backed lender. "I feel like I'm hanging in the wind and I'm scared to death," said Grodensky. "How did some attorney put through a foreclosure illegally?"To its credit, Bank of America did acknowledge its mistake and said it would "correct it at its own expense," but had Grodensky not conducted the newspaper and brought media attention to his case, who knows how things would have played out? One foreclosure attorney contacted by the paper summed up the situation as follows: "The evidence doesn't matter, the proof doesn't matter, due process doesn't matter ... the only thing that matters is that they get rid of these cases." Meanwhile, some of the nation's largest mortgage companies are suspending foreclosures because it turns out that one single guy, whose job it was to approve 10,000 foreclosures per month by signing them by hand, wasn't reading the paperwork. (Sun Sentinel via Reddit; h/t Boing Boing. title pic via Sun-Sentinel.)
We've previously heard of scammers stealing people's banking information with ATM skimmer devices that record card number and PIN information and variants that steal that info from gas pumps, but this might be even more disturbing: A Bank of America employee in North Carolina has been charged with installing malware directly into bank ATMs that allowed him to fraudulently withdraw money without a trace.
What's worse, these alleged thefts could coincide with the beginning of a wave of Eastern European ATM malware, which banking security experts fear may be coming to America: