The Department of Justice has charged 36 people and arrested 13in a takedown of a brazen global cyberfraud ring that bought and sold debit and credit cardinformation, banking and financial data, stolen identities,personal information, malware and other illegalitems. The action marks one of the largest cyberfraud enterpriseprosecutions the DOJ has ever undertaken.

|

The ring, called “the Infraud Organization,” has allegedlycheated consumers, businesses and financial institutions out ofmore than $530 million and planned to cause more than $2.2 billionin losses. According to the indictment, its alleged goal was to be“the premier destination” for buying fake or stolen card information andother contraband. The federal indictment occurred in Octoberbut was just unsealed on February 7.

|

The defendants were from five continents and over a dozencountries, including Ukraine, Pakistan, France, Serbia, the UnitedStates, Egypt, Kosovo, Bangladesh, Russia, Moldova, Italy,Australia, Ivory Coast, Canada, the United Kingdom andMacedonia.

|

“Under the slogan, 'In Fraud We Trust,' the organizationallegedly directed traffic and potential purchasers to theautomated vending sites of its members, which served as onlineconduits to traffic in stolen means of identification, stolenfinancial and banking information, malware and other illicit goods. It alsoprovided an escrow service to facilitate illicit digital currencytransactions among its members and employed screening protocolsthat purported to ensure only high-quality vendors of stolen cards,personally identifiable information and other contraband werepermitted to advertise to members,” it claimed.

|

The salesmanship was robust, according to the indictment. Onedefendant called himself the “Plastic, Template & Scans King,”for example; another advertised skimmers for sale, includingpost-sale support services. One allegedly advertised a travelagency offering to fraudulently book flights, hotels, cars andseats at concerts and sporting events using fake or stolen cardnumbers for Infraud members at a fraction of their actual price,the DOJ alleged.

|

Members of the ring were also able to post questions aboutbuying and selling information, get free samples from vendors andrate or provide feedback about vendors on the site. In addition,the organization's leaders policed against “rippers” and otherrule-breakers to ensure the quality of the contraband sold and toprotect the reputation of the general membership, the indictmentclaimed.

|

“Over the course of the Infraud Organization's seven-yearhistory, its members targeted more than 4.3 million credit cards,debit cards and bank accounts held by individuals around the worldand in all 50 states,” Deputy Assistant Attorney General DavidRybicki said in a statement after the indictment wasunsealed.

|

“Like most organized transnational criminal enterprises,Infraud's members had defined roles within the organization'shierarchy. But unlike the organized crime of years past, manyof the organization's nearly 11,000 members have never met inperson and do not know the true identities of their co-conspirators— they know each other only by their online user names and otheranonymized identifiers. Infraud members used the forum's privatemessage threads, digital currency escrow services, VPNs, and otheranonymizing software, to keep it that way,” he said.

|

Members and associates laundered the proceeds from theiractivities using, among other things, Liberty Reserve, Bitcoin,Perfect Money, WebMoney, and other digital currencies, theindictment alleged. As of March 2017, the Infraud Organization had10,901 registered members, it said.

|

Criminal cyber organizations like Infraudthreaten not just U.S. citizens but people in every corner of theglobe,” Homeland Security Investigations Acting Executive AssociateDirector Derek Benner said. “The actions of computer hackers andidentity thieves not only harm countless innocent Americans, butthe threat they pose to our financial system and global commercecannot be overstated. The criminals involved in such schemes maythink they can escape detection by hiding behind their computerscreens here and overseas, but as this case shows, cyberspace isnot a refuge from justice.”

Complete your profile to continue reading and get FREE access to CUTimes.com, part of your ALM digital membership.

  • Critical CUTimes.com information including comprehensive product and service provider listings via the Marketplace Directory, CU Careers, resources from industry leaders, webcasts, and breaking news, analysis and more with our informative Newsletters.
  • Exclusive discounts on ALM and CU Times events.
  • Access to other award-winning ALM websites including Law.com and GlobeSt.com.
NOT FOR REPRINT

© 2024 ALM Global, LLC, All Rights Reserved. Request academic re-use from www.copyright.com. All other uses, submit a request to [email protected]. For more information visit Asset & Logo Licensing.