Jang Wonyoung’s Phone Number Sold for 8000 Won? Why It’s Impossible to Protect Idol’s Privacy

The Korean entertainment industry is currently shrouded in issues, especially when it comes to the privacy of K-pop idols.

The personal information of famous idols is being sold through social media. While a considerable portion of it is fake information, some cases of actual leakage have been reported, including instances where individuals posing as delivery personnel obtain home addresses. 

According to industry insiders, those engaging in illegal transactions of personal information hidden within anonymous dealings are subject to strict legal penalties under current laws. There is a call in the industry for measures to prevent unauthorized leaks and transactions, as they could lead to stalking and other crimes.


On March 14, numerous illegal advertisements selling personal information of famous idols were posted on various social media platforms such as TikTok and X (formerly Twitter).

These posts contain information that can be purchased along with the names of current famous idols. From phone numbers to family members’ social media account information, all can be purchased. Buyers repeatedly use illegally obtained numbers to call idols or impersonate delivery companies to find out home addresses.

For instance, the phone number of IVE’s Jang Wonyoung is priced at around 8000 won. Additionally, personal information of JYJ’s Kim Jaejoong, CIX’s Bae Jinyoung, and members of the group fromis_9 is priced at 5000 to 10000 won. 

Of course, a considerable portion of this information is fake. Exploiting the difficulty in obtaining refunds or reporting after purchasing these pieces of information, even if they are proven to be fake, is a common tactic used by scammers.

According to related industries, sellers of personal information mostly used the “anonymous transfer” feature to conceal their identities between buyers and sellers. In fact, one seller reportedly conducted 24 transactions in just one day and earned tens of thousands of won.

According to the Personal Information Protection Act, those engaging in such actions can face imprisonment of up to 10 years or fines of up to 100 million won (around 76,000 USD), and buyers are subject to the same penalties. 

However, it is difficult to prevent illegal transactions themselves. As they are conducted anonymously through electronic transactions, it is challenging to identify individuals or take legal actions such as reporting or suing, and as a result, sellers exploit this difficulty in law enforcement. 

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It is pointed out that measures other than relevant laws are needed because illegal trading of personal information can lead to stalking and other crimes.

Legal professionals warned that the trade of idol personal information “is not just about fans’ emotions; it can lead to stalking and serve as a precursor to other types of crime.”

The damage to idols’ privacy is not a recent issue. Entertainment companies are sensitive to such matters, but practical punishment is challenging.

According to A – an official in the legal profession, illegal transactions of idol personal information are taking place on social media. However, while the industry wants to take strong legal measures, these illegal transactions are being conducted clandestinely, and so not all perpetrators can be published. 

Of course, from the company’s perspective, efforts are being made to enhance monitoring, request cooperation from relevant social networking companies, and reduce damage, A also stated.

Source: Daum

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