$ 200 Million Credit Card Hacking Ring Busted

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Eleven people in Vietnam, U.K and U.S have been arrested and accused of running a $ 200 million global credit card fraud ring, law enforcement officials in U.S and U.K said. Federal prosecutors in New Jersey said they had filed charges against a 23 year old man from Vietnam. Prosecution agencies in Vietnam had arrested a person by name Duy Hai Truong on 29th May in an effort to crack a credit card fraud ring. Andi Archibald, interim deputy director of the National Cyber Crime Unit, of the British Government’s Serious Organized Crime Agency (SOCA) said “ One of the world’s major facilitation networks for online card fraud has been dismantled by this operation, and those engaged in this type of crime should understand that they are neither anonymous nor beyond the reach of law enforcement agencies”. The arrests were co-ordinated by 3 countries. The arrests draw importance as law enforcement officials around the world are cracking down on cyber crimes. Two weeks ago, authorities had raided Liberty Reserve, a Costa Rica based company which is engaged in a virtual currency system used frequently by criminals to move money around the world without using the traditional banking system. In a separate incident last month, authorities had arrested 7 people involved in a $ 45 million fraud, where hackers removed the limits for withdrawals on prepaid debit cards and used ATM cards to drain out money from 2 Middle East banks.

Mark Rasch, a practicing lawyer and a former cyber crimes prosecutor in Bethesda, Maryland said “Usually you can tie them to organizations or hacker handles, but it’s harder to find individual people”.

In a rather bizarre crime, Truong hacked into websites that sold goods and services and collected personal credit card information from the sites customers. Truong the main accused in the ring and his accomplices stole information related to more than a million credit cards and resold it to criminal customers through websites www.matteuter.biz and www.mattfeuter.com, according to the criminal complaint filed in federal court in New Jersey. The credit cards of the victims incurred, cumulatively, more than $ 200 million in fraudulent charges. This scheme began in 2007. Although the accused has been arrested in the U.S, he does not have a U.S. based lawyer because he is being held in Vietnam.

Media agencies in Vietnam have identified those arrested in Vietnam and have named their ring leader as Van Tien Tu. Other arrested persons are Ngo Thi Quynh Anh, Tran Thi Dieu Hien, Van Tien Tu, Le Van Keiu, Da Ba Bang and Doan Van Chuc. The ring leader, Van Tien Tu is alleged to have created the websites, where credit cards were sold for $2 to $ 20 per card. Van Tien Tu and his group made around $ 1.5 million in commissions on their sales.

There are several ways in which a fraud can occur on your credit card or debit card account. One of the techniques involved is called “Skimming”, where information stored on your card’s magnetic strip is stolen when your card is swiped in a sales transaction. Hackers are then able to reproduce fake cards using your stolen details. Once it is done, fake replicated cards are used to make purchases with your credit line. 



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