36 Websites Selling Stolen Credit Card Numbers Shut Down
Federal seizure orders shut down 36 website domain names this week as a result of Operation Wreaking hAVoC, the United Kingdom's Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA) and other international law enforcement agencies. Operation Wreaking hAVoC, is a joint FBI and Justice Department operation working to stop the sale of stolen credit card numbers and other personal information over the Internet.
It is believed that the alleged websites involved participated in the illegal sale and distribution of stolen credit card numbers and other personal information. The 36 seized domains are now the custody of the federal government. Anyone visiting any of the sites finds a seizure banner notifying them that federal authorities have seized the domain name.
The seized websites allegedly operated like commercial stolen credit card outlets assisting and facilitating credit card fraud while throwing countless lives into financial chaos. These websites are commonly called Automated Vending Carts (AVCs).
AVC websites serve as open-ended shopping invitations offering visitors stolen credit card numbers available for purchase. AVCs allow a user to buy stolen credit card data over the Internet, even using an online shopping cart like any traditional online retailer. Some AVC sites provide the buyer a selection of options to choose from. Buyers may select which type of credit card number to purchase, the account's country of origin, and, in some cases, the state in which the account holder lives. AVC sites allow credit card thieves to traffic stolen credit card data without communicating directly with buyers.
Law enforcement agents made undercover purchases of credit card numbers during the investigation and were able to buy credit card issued by Bank of America, SunTrust, and Capital One. These banks confirmed that the sites were not authorized to sell the credit card numbers.
So should you check your credit card for fraud if you do any Internet shopping? Yes, you should. It is very good to look over your credit card bill every month to find and question any charges you think are in error.
If you feel you have run across an Internet scam or been a victim of one, file a complaint with the Internet Crime Complaint Center. You will also want to call the company that issued you the card.
Published May 2, 2012