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Man who gave hackers 28 days to ruin his life had his identity stolen

Man who gave hackers 28 days to ruin his life had his identity stolen

A YouTube star fell victim to a scam that lost him a load of cash, but how did it all happen?

The thought of having your life ruined by hackers or having your identity stolen is a terrifying prospect - but one man decided to let it happen to him, to highlight just how easily it can occur.

At the start of the year, YouTuber Zac Alsop fell victim to a scam which saw an eye-watering £43,254.11 (around $53,853) stolen from his business bank account.

In a video on his YouTube page highlighting this terrifying moment, Zac said the experience was “pretty awful”, but he did finally manage to get the money returned to his account following the ordeal.

This got him thinking: if hackers could steal such a large sum of money from him in just five minutes, what would happen if they had more time?

So, in order to highlight the dangers around hacking, he gave two professional fraudsters 28 days to ruin his life.

Zac, whose YouTube page has 1.64 million subscribers, enlisted the help of Tony Sales, who is famously known as "Britain’s biggest fraudster" - he's now an author and aids governments and businesses to prevent criminal attacks.

Joined by his partner, Solomon Gilbert, who is described as an “ethical hacker extraordinaire”, the pair set about to essentially turn Zac’s life into ruin in order to highlight just how quickly and easily someone with the skillset can digitally clone another person’s identity to steal their information, their assets and even commit criminal acts.

After signing a waiver to allow Tony and Solomon to do what a criminal would do without prosecution, Zac was subject to a series of terrifying stunts which spanned a course of around six months.

The pair were first able to gain access to Zac’s social media accounts and his YouTube account, where they sent out a few messages and uploaded a few posts, but it didn’t stop there.

YouTuber Zac Alsop.
Zac Alsop/YouTube.

In a few days, Solomon was able to access Zac's National Insurance number (the equivalent of a social security number) and the information on his driving license. With this, they could redirect his post via the UK's postal provider, Royal Mail, and get new forms of identification sent to a different address.

Meanwhile, the video cuts to Tony searching through Zac’s rubbish bins at his office, where he finds a host of sensitive information that had been discarded - such as his home address, email addresses, phone numbers and bank account information.

At this stage, the skilled duo had enough information to replicate Zac’s digital identity to up to 60%.

But even then, the ordeal wasn’t quite finished.

Zac was then ominously summoned to a conference in central London, where a host of government officials had gathered after being invited there by Tony and Solomon.

The pair then played a video in front of the crowd which showed them breaking into Zac’s work office where they demonstrated how easily they could obtain information about his company and his YouTube business.

But it still didn’t stop there.

The professional hackers then created a deep-fake of Zac’s face, compiled with snippets from his YouTube videos and images of him online, where they were able to open a new bank account, a new cryptocurrency account, and take out a loan.

Zac Alsop.

The pair then even went on to leave the UK to an undisclosed destination in the video but described by Tony as a “country with no extradition to the UK and very limited regulation around financial services”.

There, Tony was able to use Zac’s information and his Bitcoin account to transfer money with random strangers and even put a deposit down on a property with the cryptocurrency.

Even though Tony and Solomon were enlisted with Zac’s permission, it just shows how quickly things can spiral out of control if a skilled hacker gets hold of your sensitive information.

It might be time to update some of your passwords…

Featured Image Credit: Credit: Zac Alsop/ YouTube