HolidayBuyer's Guide

iPod used to store data in identity theft

A 35-year-old identity theft suspect may have taken Apple Computer's mandate, "Think Different," a little too far.

Wilson Lee, of San Francisco, has been charged with 54 criminal--mostly felony--counts including identity theft, grand theft, credit card fraud, forgery, auto theft, student loan application theft and possession of stolen property, San Francisco police said.

But in a new twist, at least for the department, police found some of the alleged stolen data stored on an iPod in Lee's possession.

"This is the first time I know of that we actually got data off (an MP3 player)," said Lt. Kenwade Lee, who is no relation to the suspect. "It's something different now to look for."

The investigation got under way in October, when police received a call from a victim whose wallet had been stolen in a car burglary, Lt. Lee said. The victim's credit cards had been used to buy iPods and to rent $100,000 worth computers, Lee added.

Police set up a sting operation and caught the suspect allegedly using a counterfeit driver's license and identifying himself as the theft victim. That led police to several lists containing names and credit card numbers for more than 500 people, including House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, Lt. Lee said.

On a related note, a security expert recently warned of something called "pod-slurping," in which an application is used to fill an iPod with business-critical data in a matter of minutes.