Old-Fashioned Methods Still in Use
Scammers and identity thieves aren't just using Web attacks to steal personal information and credit card data, however. The old-fashioned physical methods are still alive and well. Law enforcement authorities in New York arrested more than 100 people accused of participating in an identity theft scam that generated $13 million, according to an Oct. 7 statement from the District Attorney for Queens. The arrested individuals are accused of stealing financial information from consumers in the United States and Europe over a 16-month period. The data was used to forge credit cards, which were then used to buy designer handbags, game consoles and jewelry. The luxury items were fenced online and turned back into cash for scammers.Operation Swiper dates back to October 2009 and involved physical surveillance and electronic wiretapping of at least five ringleaders, who are accused of taking the stolen identity information and working with an underground credit card manufacturer to produce forgeries. Once stolen, criminals can use the credit card information to make fraudulent purchases or just resell the data to other criminals on underground forums, according to Imperva. Complete credit card information with names, addresses, email addresses, expiration dates and dates of birth are available for sale. An American Visa card is available for as little as $2, according to Imperva.
The scammers relied on insiders within financial and retail businesses, including bank tellers, store employees and restaurant workers, to steal information, according to the statement.