Texas’ Department of Public Safety says it was tricked into sending 3,000 Texas driver’s licenses to a Chinese organized crime group, The Texas Tribune reports.
DPS Director Steve McCraw said the group targeted Asians. Authorities believe the group is based in New York and operated in several different states.
“We’re not happy at all,” he told Texas lawmakers on Monday, according to The Dallas Morning News. “Controls should have been in place and this should have never happened.”
The group received the driver’s licenses from the state by requesting replacement licenses, The Dallas Morning News reports. They used personal data about Asian Texans McCraw says they obtained on the dark web to make the requests through the official government portal.
According to The Texas Tribune, the DPS discovered the fraudulent requests in December. The FBI and the Department of Homeland Security are investigating the scheme alongside the DPS and other state organizations. The DPS will notify victims in letters this week.
Hailong Jin, a board member of the DFW Chinese Alliance, told The Dallas Morning News that the Chinese American community learned about the stolen data in the news like everyone else. The community is frustrated that it has taken the government this long to notify victims.
”They should have immediately notified any victims, because even within a few days they could have caused further damage,” Jin told The Dallas Morning News.
The Texas Department of Information Resources clarified that no state systems were hacked as part of the scheme. They called it a “case of fraudulent criminal activity based on factors unrelated to state systems, not a cybersecurity incident,” according to The Dallas Morning News.
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