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Time Employee Accused of Selling Subscriber Credit Card Numbers

July 11, 1992

CLEARWATER, Fla. (AP) _ A computer analyst for Time magazine has been charged with selling the credit card numbers of 3,000 subscribers to undercover police.

Thomas Ferguson, 44, sold sheriff’s deputies the numbers from the database of the weekly news magazine’s customer service headquarters, officials said.

″He was making attempts to sell to others, but we believe we were the first to buy,″ said Lt. Rick Wilfong, head of the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Department criminal enterprise division. He said there was no indication any other Time employee was involved.

Authorities searched Ferguson’s home after his arrest and found computer disks with the credit card numbers of about 80,000 subscribers, sheriff’s spokeswoman Marianne Pasha said Friday.

Time Customer Service, the magazine subscription and data-processing division of Time Inc., is in Tampa. Ferguson worked there for about 18 months, said Peter Costiglio, a Time Inc. vice president in New York.

Ferguson was suspended upon his arrest, and Costiglio said the company is taking steps to improve computer safeguards. He declined to elaborate.

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