The question of whether the original Robin Hood was really in the business of giving the loot he stole from wealthy passers-by to poor hungry people is still under debate, but the latest version is even more questionable. OpRobinHood and TeaMpOisoN are allegedly stealing from banks and ‘giving’ to people who have suffered from banking policies and to selected charities, but in fact they are mostly just causing grief to everybody involved.
The ‘hacktivist’ groups are offshoots of Anonymous, the group that has been harassing perceived offenders for some time now. According to sources at various online security firms, both the National Bank of Long Island and the BCD Credit Union in the UK were targeted last week. The hackers are supposedly motivated by the crackdown on the growing Occupy movement that started on Wall Street and keeps expanding like a brush fire in the wind.
OpRobinHood made a statement saying that they would “. . .take credit cards and donate to the 99% . . .” and that “. . . banks will be forced to reimburse the people their money back”. If nothing else, their syntax leaves something to be desired, but that’s not the problem. The banks will not suffer much more than embarrassment and negative publicity, since they can issue a charge back to recover their funds.
The charities that are recipients of fraudulent use of credit card donations won’t be any better off; they will not only lose money they thought was donated legitimately when banks discover the fraud, but they could wind up with a net loss. Depending on the type of contract the non-profits have with their respective banks, those charities may have to absorb part of the liability, leaving them in worse shape than getting no donation at all.
The average consumer who falls victim to a credit card scam will not be liable for the money involved, but having a credit transaction declined due to unauthorised use is an inconvenience at the very least.
Besides creating an awkward situation if, just for example, you’re buying dinner for a big client or just taking your spouse for a romantic anniversary evening out, the time and paperwork necessary to clear up the issue can be a nightmare.
Unfortunately that’s not the worst outcome of this concerted hacking and financial identity theft; the loser in the long run is still the individual consumer, even it he or she isn’t personally a victim of fraud.
Banks and credit card companies raise their fees, and those fees apply to everyone who owns a credit card and/or does business with a bank, i.e. darn near everybody over the age of ‘maturity’.
Theoretically, OpRobinHood is meant to punish banks that are seen as transgressors against the general public. According to a statement quoted in The Register, they plan to ‘starve the banks’ and take ‘the people’s’ money back, and they aren’t afraid of police, FBI, SIS or anybody else. However, there have been several arrests of suspected hackers in the United States, the UK and Spain; but whether they will slow the Robin Hoods down or galvanize them remains to be seen.