Information security officers from the Vietnam Ministry of Public Security have discovered three people using others' personal information illegally on the Internet for profit.
Police on Thursday said they started investigating the business in January 2011, after finding a man named Duong Hong Le selling others' information on his two websites www.danhsachkhachhang.com and www.duonghongle.com.
Le bought the information for around VND20 million (US$950) from Le Minh Trung and Hua Van Tuan in 2010.
Investigators found Tuan had a list of personal information, including phone numbers from 600 customers of his former employer Phu Gia Stock Co. in Ho Chi Minh City.
He then exchanged the information with other people, who have not been identified. and acquired many more lists, including the information of 1,200 corporate presidents, 650 members of Saigon Business Club, 2,800 stock market investors, 4,230 property investors, 700 gold investors, 95,000 postpaid mobile subscribers, and many luxury car owners.
The information was sold on the two web sites www.datavip24h.com and www.datavip24h.net.
Meanwhile, Trung sold peoples' information on the website www.timkhachhang.com, aiming at tour operators.
The three men have made more than VND250 million (US$12,000) from the illegal business.
Police said the men violated the Penal Code for using peoples' personal information on the Internet without their consent, and violated the Civil Law protecting peoples' privacy.
The case has been transferred to the Information and Communication Department in Ho Chi Minh City, where the men are located.
More websites doing such business have been identified by police, and a special mission will be launched to stop them all.
Police said the information can be used by cyber criminals for serious scams.
One such case occurred in central Vietnam in October 2011, with 23 foreigners, many of them Chinese, arrested for using the information to blackmail several businesses.
The foreigners knew possible violations that the businesses would make, so they pretended to be government agencies and asked the businesses to transfer money to their accounts to avoid penalties.
More similar cases have been reported from Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City and other places across the country.