- (Photo: Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)
FBI Investigators have reportedly launched a probe into a hacking scandal allegedly targeting various Hollywood celebrities. Now critics suspect that the matter could be a hoax.
On Monday, a group of alleged hackers posted what appeared to be private financial information on a website, which has an Internet suffix assigned to Russia. Sensitive documents reportedly containing social security numbers, credit reports and banking information were released on the website, and the information is said to belong to a number of high profile individuals.
Celebrities including Beyonce, Jay-Z, Britney Spears, Donald Trump and Kim Kardashian were reportedly targeted, as was Vice President Joe Biden and First Lady Michelle Obama.
"The best word I can use to describe it is creepy," L.A. Police Cmdr. Andrew Smith told BBC news.
Smith and his team are currently investigating how a police chief's address and a credit report ended up on the website.
"People get mad at us, go on the Internet and try to find information about us, and post it all on one site," he said.
The group was reportedly able to bypass seemingly strict White House security measures by allegedly gaining access to Mrs. Obama's credit report, social security number and phone numbers, though some experts remain skeptical. Brad Garrett, who is an ABC News consultant and former FBI agent, speculated whether the website is actually one big hoax designed to embarrass alleged victims.
"I'm very suspect [about] information released online. It goes against the very reason you steal them, it's to use them," Garrett told ABC. "Is this a prank? Is this a hoax? Is it to get attention? That wouldn't surprise me one bit."
On Tuesday, law enforcement officials reportedly confirmed that the hackers had been "using" the alleged credit information, prompting critics to point out that they may have gone as far as to illegally withdrawal money using the banking information, according to TMZ.com.
FBI officials are said to be "aggressively investigating" the case, particularly since it was revealed that FBI Director Robert Mueller has been identified as one of the hacking victims.