A Jacksonville Beach couple is warning X-Box users after their son’s X-Box account was hacked and their credit card information was stolen.
“Parents need to understand that when you give a credit card, certainly not a debit card, to let your kid play games, people out there will take it,” said Bryan Reid.
The Reid family told News4Jax Tuesday night that a hacker, posing as a fellow gamer, targeted the 12-year-old Monday afternoon and charged $500 on the credit card attached to his X-Box 360 gaming system.
Hunter Reid was playing “Call of Duty” against who he thought was another 12-year-old boy, and just when he thought he had control of the game, his cyber opponent went in for the kill and told Hunter that his X-Box was officially hacked.
“He got mad and said, ‘I’m going to hack you.’ So I said, ‘No big deal. He probably won’t do it,' and I left to make some mac-n-cheese,” said Reid.
When Reid got back to his game, he couldn’t log in.
“So then I started hysterically crying and went to my dad to cut the card and you need to do this now, and call mom,” said Reid.
“I said, ‘What happened? What happened? Who hurt you? What happened?’ And he said, ‘They got us, they got us.' That’s all he could say,” said Hunter’s father, Bryan Reid.
News4Jax contacted technology expert Chris Hamer about the X-Box hack. Hamer explained he didn’t think the hacker used a “front door attack” on Microsoft, or compromised their network security. Hamer said Hunter Reid was the victim of something called social engineering.
“If you’ve used the same username and password, or you've revealed your gamer tag on a website that’s gotten compromised or a forum -- for a lot of people looking for cheats or ways to improve their game and when they do that, sometimes they’ll use the same password, and that site in itself is designed to draw them in to give up that information,” said Hamer.
Bryan Reid’s credit card was attached to the X-Box account, and within minutes the family got a call from the bank.
“They said, 'Your account has been blocked, it’s safe.' However, there were already charges,” said Bryan Reid.
“$517 to a software firm overseas,” said Reid of the charges to his account.
While Hunter Reid maintains he has never given out any personal information while using his X-Box, he said he feels a little safer playing outside than inside on his X-Box. He told News4Jax that he’d rather take a loss on the basketball court than feel violated by a stranger in his own living room.
“Make sure your account has no credit card on it. I would take that off immediately, because anybody in the world can do it if they have access. I would just buy prepaid cards from Game Stop or wherever your local game store is,” said Hunter Reid.
Chris Hamer suggests people use prepaid credit cards on their gaming systems to set up a form of protection from this kind of cyber crime. Hamer also said that parents should never keep their credit cards on file for these games.
The Reids told News4Jax their bank has assured them they will get their money back.