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"In regards to the recent demonstrations and protests across the globe, we are going to turn the tables on the banks," according to a YouTube video uploaded on Saturday, which formally announced #OpRobinHood.
"Operation Robin Hood is going to return the money to those who have been cheated by our system and most importantly to those hurt by our banks," it said. "Operation Robin Hood will take credit cards and donate to the 99% as well as various charities around the globe. The banks will be forced to reimburse the people there (sic) money back."
The video also claimed that the group had already used credit card data stolen from Bank of America, Chase, and CitiBank. "We have donated thousands to many protests around the world. We have donated thousands to the homeless and other charities. Our government has fallen short in many ways," it said. The video also urged people to move their money out of commercial banks and into credit unions.
[ Some hackers want to help the poor. Others just want a job. Read Marriott Hacker's Blackmail Goal: An IT Job. ]
Interestingly, Anonymous had already been advocating practical, everyday techniques--not just hacks--for removing money from big banks. In particular, last month the group announced Operation Cash Back (#OpCashBack)--"an op fully dedicated to moving your money from commercial banks to local credit unions." Coming up, it's also designated December 11 as "balance transfer day," which is the group's campaign to get people with interest rate debt to take advantage of credit card accounts with 0% interest rates.
But is the OpRobinHood campaign for real, or like previous threats against Wall Street and Facebook, just another hoax? Aesthetically, at least, the OpRobinHood video ticks all of the traditional Anonymous aesthetic requirements: a mashed-up "p0isoaNoN" logo (green on black), a liberal dose of swelling choral music (via that movie trailer staple "Europa," by Globus), together with selected clips of Kevin Costner as Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves.
Likewise, the video ends with a punchy threat: "We have come to take the 99%'s money back. We are not asking permission."
But aside from the campaign to get people to embrace credit unions, if OpRobinHood is for real, could a group such as Anonymous really hit banks hard by using stolen credit card data to make untold numbers of donations? Or might not the transactions largely get spotted by banks' fraud departments, and rolled back?
Bank spokespeople were not immediately available for comment on the feasibility of an OpRobinHood-style campaign.
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