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Illegal Business: 2008 May 23, 2008

Posted by davidzweig in Uncategorized.
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Courts in California and Connecticut indicted 38 people on an intercontinental phishing scheme that had stung thousands of victims. “Phishing” refers to the practice of sending fraudulent emails to obtain bank information from gullible account holders.

The complexity of this Romanian-based phishing operation was extraordinary. Over a million fraudulent emails were unleashed from Europe, destined for the US. When the victims responded by inputting personal data on a fake bank website hosted on a commandeered computer in Minnesota, the data were harvested and sent to accomplices in New York. They then magnetically imprinted the credit and debit card data on other credit cards and even hotel keycards. “Runners” would then test them at ATMs. If the cards successfully pulled a person’s account balances, they were used to withdraw funds at other machines with very high withdrawal limits.

Some of the money was wired to Romania. The balance repaid the American alleged thieves.

This is how illegal business is done these days. It’s a far cry from bootlegging, though the same RICO statutes, originally written for Sicilian mafiosi, were used to bring this phishing party to justice. One wonders whether Al Capone, a low tech guy if ever there was one, could keep up.

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1. Illegal Business: 2008 - May 23, 2008

[…] Ron Lewis wrote an interesting post today onHere’s a quick excerptThis is how illegal business is done these days. It’sa far cry from bootlegging, though the RICO statutes were used to bring this phishing party to justice. One wonders whether Al Capone, a low tech guy if ever there was one, … […]


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