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An FBI Agent's 3 Years Undercover With Identity Thieves

timothy posted more than 5 years ago | from the doing-my-best-nelson-laugh dept.

Security 196

snydeq writes "InfoWorld offers the inside story of how FBI Supervisory Special Agent J. Keith Mularski, aka Master Splynter, penetrated and took over DarkMarket.ws, the infamous underground carding board hacked by Max Butler and later transformed by Mularski into an FBI sting operation. The three-year tour sent Mularski deeper into the world of online computer fraud than any FBI agent before, resulting in 59 arrests and preventing an estimated $70 million in bank fraud before the FBI pulled the plug on the operation in October."

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How much more... (1, Flamebait)

Pig Hogger (10379) | more than 5 years ago | (#26551323)

How much more such operations could they conduct if they weren't so clueless by having agents investigate peaceful protesters and non-criminal **HACKERS** (in the original sense, that is, not meaning "cracker")????

Re:How much more... (2, Insightful)

mi (197448) | more than 5 years ago | (#26551405)

How much more such operations could they conduct if they weren't so clueless by having agents investigate peaceful protesters and non-criminal **HACKERS**

All crimes or suspected crimes deserve thorough investigation. Ruling certain kinds of crimes out-of-reach of the FBI simply due to resource-constraints is equivalent to encouraging the said crimes.

Re:How much more... (3, Insightful)

pete-classic (75983) | more than 5 years ago | (#26551543)

Sure. But, given finite resources, should there not be some rational priorities set?

-Peter

Re:How much more... (1, Troll)

Gizzmonic (412910) | more than 5 years ago | (#26551677)

All crimes or suspected crimes deserve thorough investigation. Ruling certain kinds of crimes out-of-reach of the FBI simply due to resource-constraints is equivalent to encouraging the said crimes.

That must mean the FBI encourages drug trafficking and sex crimes because they are not investigating those while they are going undercover to bust a group of peaceful protestors who have committed zero crimes Great logic you have there.

Re:How much more... (1)

lazy_playboy (236084) | more than 5 years ago | (#26552003)

Does the FBI not investigate sex crimes or drug trafficking, then?

Re:How much more... (1)

Cowmonaut (989226) | more than 5 years ago | (#26552191)

DEA does drug crimes. FBI does investigate sex crimes. FBI does do some drug crimes I guess, but usually by accident. They're more into the "cool" crimes like Murder, Sex, and Cyber.

Re:How much more... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26552631)

The FBI only cares about "glamour" crimes now, terrorism, serial killers and the mafia. Terrorism is extremely rare in the US, serial killers are also very rare, and the mafia has withered away to a shadow of its former self. Young men (mainly) join the FBI because they want to deal with these Hollywood crimes from their childhood crime fighting fantasies not crimes that affect real people on a daily basis.

Re:How much more... (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26551917)

Ruling certain kinds of crimes out-of-reach of the FBI simply due to resource-constraints is equivalent to encouraging the said crimes.

Crimes like peaceful protesting, you mean?

Re:How much more... (5, Insightful)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 5 years ago | (#26551923)

All crimes or suspected crimes deserve thorough investigation. Ruling certain kinds of crimes out-of-reach of the FBI simply due to resource-constraints is equivalent to encouraging the said crimes.

Right. Because the FBI is out investigating every single federal crime within their jurisdiction, right?

No. Because the FBI does have limited resources, cases not specifically brought to their attention by promising, credible leads -- or at least serious media attention -- don't get investigated. Those with credible leads that may not look so promising might sit on the backburner -- often for months or years.

While the FBI does investigate people who turn out to not have been criminals, that's more the exception than the rule.

Re:How much more... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26552967)

Uh.. I think he was suggesting that the government investigates things that aren't even suspected crimes. If you relax the word "investigate" and just say "fuck with" then there are already real life examples [progressive.org] .

Re:How much more... (3, Funny)

TheRealMindChild (743925) | more than 5 years ago | (#26551423)

FYI man, alright. You could sit at home, and do like absolutely nothing, and your name goes through like 17 computers a day. 1984? Yeah right, man. That's a typo. Orwell is here now. He's livin' large. We have no names, man. No names. We are nameless!

HACK THE PLANET!

Yeah, well... (0)

MikeRT (947531) | more than 5 years ago | (#26551457)

The FBI needs a charter that gives it certain, specific areas of jurisdiction. Every other agency has a defined role. It's high time that the FBI was given a few niche roles too and told to sink or swim there.

Re:Yeah, well... (4, Informative)

Volante3192 (953645) | more than 5 years ago | (#26551893)

You mean like at http://www.fbi.gov/quickfacts.htm [fbi.gov] ?

The FBI's jurisdiction is essentially being the nation's police force as opposed to your local city force. You can't say "ignore these sections of the state, county or city code" to a local police force just like you can't tell the FBI to ignore the U.S. Code.

Re:Yeah, well... (3, Informative)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 5 years ago | (#26552011)

The FBI does have certain, specific areas of jurisdiction. Ever read the FBI website? They say with specificity [fbi.gov] what their areas of jurisdiction and current criminal priorities are.

Re:How much more... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26551495)

So, you think they would use the same agents to investigate protesters as are used to investigate hackers? They're not the ones I'd be calling "clueless" right now.

Re:How much more... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26551803)

I think both their salaries are subsidized by my salary.
If we got rid of the useless investigations that'd be one less resource drain on the good departments.

Re:How much more... (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26551903)

Stopping 70million in bank fraud is useless? Allow me to ask... what then does it take to be usefull?

Re:How much more... (1)

Grimbleton (1034446) | more than 5 years ago | (#26552157)

I don't think that's the group he meant.

Re:How much more... (1)

SomeJoel (1061138) | more than 5 years ago | (#26551659)

How much more such operations could they conduct if they weren't so clueless by having agents investigate peaceful protesters and non-criminal **HACKERS** (in the original sense, that is, not meaning "cracker")????

Sixteen

Actually (4, Funny)

DoofusOfDeath (636671) | more than 5 years ago | (#26551349)

InfoWorld offers the inside story of how FBI Supervisory Special Agent J. Keith Mularski, aka Master Splynter, penetrated and took over DarkMarket.ws,

How on earth are we supposed to believe it's the real Agent Mularski now?

what now? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26551351)

I heard he's retiring and moving to the Caymen's

oh lord (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26551357)

So this guy tricked a bunch of noobs who openly ran a credit card right through a public forum? I usually give credit where credit is due, but these people were compelte morons to be running a criminal enterprise right out in the open.

Had this guy penetrated somthing far more secretive I would give him more credit, but anyone who was stupid enough to run somthing like this out in the open was of course stupid enough to let an FBI agent on the inside.

Re:oh lord (4, Insightful)

oodaloop (1229816) | more than 5 years ago | (#26551439)

I had heard about this at a law enforcement/fraud analysis/intelligence analysis conference a while back. Basically, ALL the major sites were running in the open. Before all the crackdowns, I guess they thought the anonymity of the web meant they were untouchable. After the FBI cracked down on a bunch, they got wise and went underground.

Re:oh lord (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26552349)

Don't you mean all the KNOWN sites were running in the open?

Re:oh lord (3, Interesting)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 5 years ago | (#26551823)

As far as I know, the general idea was that the transactions would happen so quickly that even if someone was watching, the money would be long gone before anyone could track it. Keep in mind that these stories are published long after the arrest occurs, so by the time you learn about what happened, the criminals have moved deeper underground.

I like the way the government thinks (5, Funny)

jollyreaper (513215) | more than 5 years ago | (#26551363)

Cool hacker name = geek culture reference + creative misspellings/capitalizations

Sample names:
Dark JedEYE
FeloniouS MonK
POPP3R SMRF
TERRORByTE
G\/\/B

I predict you will hear of these handles in future busts.

Re:I like the way the government thinks (4, Funny)

Compuser (14899) | more than 5 years ago | (#26551403)

George Washington Bridge? What's so cool about that.

Re:I like the way the government thinks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26551523)

That was two V's.

Re:I like the way the government thinks (2, Funny)

jollyreaper (513215) | more than 5 years ago | (#26552703)

That was two V's.

No, they were back and forward slashes, alternating. That's the beauty of the G\/\/B handle, you can try googling it but you'll never get it right! And I thought the "non-space non-printing character" hidden directory name in DOS was awesome.

Re:I like the way the government thinks (5, Funny)

Abreu (173023) | more than 5 years ago | (#26551607)

Those are also the initials for George W. Bush, a former president of the USA.

Since we all are already trying very hard to forget him, I guess you get a pass

Re:I like the way the government thinks (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26551845)

Whoosh...

Right, you are trying so hard to move on (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26551857)

that you just had to trash GWB one more time. And I am sure it won't be the last time.

Fucking get over it! You have your messiah in the White House now. The terrorists have already dropped their weapons, bin laden has recinded his fatah, and al Qaeda has joined Americans in a singing of Kumbaya.

Move on.org

Re:Right, you are trying so hard to move on (1)

hoggoth (414195) | more than 5 years ago | (#26552183)

> You have your messiah in the White House now.

You're damn right we do!
http://www.boingboing.net/images/x09/DSC_4696.jpg [boingboing.net]

Re:Right, you are trying so hard to move on (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26552605)

+5 Must-get

Re:Right, you are trying so hard to move on (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26552299)

He's not the messiah, he's very naughty boy! Now, go away!

African dancing (1)

SethJohnson (112166) | more than 5 years ago | (#26552825)

al Qaeda has joined Americans in a singing of Kumbaya.

That would be great because then George W. Bush could dance along [youtube.com] ....

Seth

Re:I like the way the government thinks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26551947)

you're not even worth a 'wooosh'.

Re:I like the way the government thinks (4, Funny)

dubbreak (623656) | more than 5 years ago | (#26552921)

Former president of the University of South Australia? I question how many people know that the current one is Professor Peter HÃj let alone the previous president.

I assume the USA must be the Australian equivalent to MIT.

Re:I like the way the government thinks (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26553085)

If you don't like him why would you want to forget him? If you forget him then you forget all the nasty things that happened under his presidency. If you forget the mistakes of our leaders then there is no lesson learned.

America must not ever forget.

Re:I like the way the government thinks (3, Interesting)

genner (694963) | more than 5 years ago | (#26552975)

George Washington Bridge? What's so cool about that.

It's an awesome bridge.
Don't mock it.

Re:I like the way the government thinks (1)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 5 years ago | (#26551743)

Aw "terabyte" was my original handle...and I thought it was clever because it sounded like "terror."

Re:I like the way the government thinks (2, Funny)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | more than 5 years ago | (#26551993)

Aw "terabyte" was my original handle...and I thought it was clever because it sounded like "terror."

Well, if you wanna go for that retro feel you can always use killabyte.

Re:I like the way the government thinks (1)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 5 years ago | (#26552059)

My reasoning was more of the 12 year old variety: Wow, the bad guys on Reboot are Megabyte and Gigabyte! And I want to be even cooler, so I'll be Terabyte!!!

Re:I like the way the government thinks (2, Funny)

Daravon (848487) | more than 5 years ago | (#26552431)

Don't be silly. We all know the real supervillian is P3dobyte.

Re:I like the way the government thinks (1)

jollyreaper (513215) | more than 5 years ago | (#26552743)

Aw "terabyte" was my original handle...and I thought it was clever because it sounded like "terror."

My original handle was going to be my name replaced by asterisks **** ****. It took me ages to figure out why I kept crashing the boards I was tying to join. :(

Re:I like the way the government thinks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26551927)

I predict you will hear of these handles in future busts.

Well since you just blew the cover of at least 3 FBI agents I'd expect that the name "jollyreaper" will be prominent in the next big takedown.

Re:I like the way the government thinks (1)

techno-vampire (666512) | more than 5 years ago | (#26552287)

I predict you will hear of these handles in future busts.

I find that highly unlikely. After all, these are computer geeks; they've probably never gotten near enough to any woman except their mother to...

Oh...

Never mind!

Re:I like the way the government thinks (2, Funny)

genner (694963) | more than 5 years ago | (#26553029)

I predict you will hear of these handles in future busts.

I find that highly unlikely. After all, these are computer geeks; they've probably never gotten near enough to any woman except their mother to...

Oh...

Never mind!

They hand access to free credit cards. Some how I think women could stand to be around them.

Re:I like the way the government thinks (5, Funny)

Dark JedEYE (1458477) | more than 5 years ago | (#26552609)

Oh fuck.

Fencing (4, Insightful)

planckscale (579258) | more than 5 years ago | (#26551577)

From an article I read on Wired what seemed to have brought the downfall upon Butler was some of his associates got nabbed for trying to use stolen cards to buy expensive retail items and then fence them on Ebay for cash. Seems to me that old fashioned F**k-ups are the way these guys usually get taken down. Also from the article I read that corrupt retailers and waiters use portable card readers to steal all mag data on the card. How would you protect yourself against that kind of attack?

Re:Fencing (3, Insightful)

CannonballHead (842625) | more than 5 years ago | (#26551643)

Don't ever buy anything, and never eat out?

Patience (3, Interesting)

copponex (13876) | more than 5 years ago | (#26552113)

Buy things at small retailers unlikely to have complicated security policies or good video surveillance. Use local criminals to do the deal for you, promising a cut if they are successful getting the item out of the store. Keep the purchases under $2,000.00

Sell those things for cash on the street. Don't sell in the same area that you bought the items. Stick to big cities, as the police have way more to deal with than small-time theft. Once you get a big enough stash, use it to start a cash friendly business or find a way to get it to a trusted party in the third world and do the same thing.

The object is to not piss one person off to the point where they dedicate themselves to finding you. As long as the victim has the credit card company to turn to for a refund, and the police don't think the fraud is connected, no one will even bother opening up a case number.

Re:Patience (5, Insightful)

Otter (3800) | more than 5 years ago | (#26552753)

Sell those things for cash on the street. Don't sell in the same area that you bought the items. Stick to big cities, as the police have way more to deal with than small-time theft. Once you get a big enough stash, use it to start a cash friendly business or find a way to get it to a trusted party in the third world and do the same thing.

In other words, crime is more work with less reward than just keeping your day job writing Java middleware.

Re:Fencing (4, Funny)

Grimbleton (1034446) | more than 5 years ago | (#26552201)

My girlfriend would NOT approve if I stopped eating out.

Re:Fencing (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26551653)

Cash

Re:Fencing (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 5 years ago | (#26552081)

Mod parent +5 insightful. Cash is accepted everywhere and stolen cash can't be used for identity theft.

Re:Fencing (4, Insightful)

vux984 (928602) | more than 5 years ago | (#26552591)

Mod parent +5 insightful. Cash is accepted everywhere and stolen cash can't be used for identity theft.

1) Tons of places won't accept 50's or 100's anymore. And carrying enough cash to live in 20's gets bulky.

2) Carrying lots of cash (see above) gets noticed (see below).

3) If you get robbed of cash its gone. No, phoning your bank to let them know your card was stolen. No contesting the purchases made with your stolen cash. Your insurance company won't even replace stolen cash. Its just gone.

While having my card lifted is a hassle, it won't actually likely cost me anything, even if my identity is stolen it will most likely be a hassle more than anything else. Getting robbed however is much more permanent.

Re:Fencing (1)

Mysticalfruit (533341) | more than 5 years ago | (#26552755)

I have two checking accounts, what I call "primary and scratch".
Primary is where my paycheck goes into and bills come out of.
Scratch is the account that my ATM card in my wallet is connected to. This account has at maximum 250 bucks in it. If it has more, generally it's because I'm on some special mission to buy something (like a Wii)

So, even if some nitwit were to either rob me or my card were to be swiped surreptitiously they're not going to get far.

Re:Fencing (1)

vux984 (928602) | more than 5 years ago | (#26552861)

So, even if some nitwit were to either rob me or my card were to be swiped surreptitiously they're not going to get far.

So why not carry a credit card with a $500 limit? How is what you do really any different / better ?

Re:Fencing (4, Interesting)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 5 years ago | (#26551825)

Also from the article I read that corrupt retailers and waiters use portable card readers to steal all mag data on the card. How would you protect yourself against that kind of attack?

As long as we use credit cards, you and I can't protect ourselves. However, the credit card companies could. Using public key authentication via smartcard technology would make it easy to verify physical access to a credit card. Yet the only instance I can think of, of anyone trying to roll this out is American Express's Blue card. Even that was mostly ineffective as the smart card circuitry appears to go mostly unused.

Reloadable cards. (5, Interesting)

khasim (1285) | more than 5 years ago | (#26552217)

I'm still wondering why the various banks don't offer reloadable cards for their customers. Why wander around with your ENTIRE credit limit in your wallet?

And for debit cards, your ENTIRE checking account balance.

Instead, allow the user to transfer the amount that he thinks he will need to a secondary card. That way, if anything compromises that card, the MOST they can get is whatever he put on that card.

As for online purchases, how about one-use card numbers? Just go to the bank site, put in how much you want to pay and the bank will give you a one use number for that amount. Then the maximum you lose if the online site is fake is that specific amount. They never get the real numbers to your real accounts.

Re:Reloadable cards. (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26552699)

Looks like you invented the e-wallet. Don't know about the 'states, but it exists in France (called Moneo) and Belgium (called Proton). It's money stored on your bank card, that you can reload at any terminal using your PIN. Purchases made using this system are quick, as they don't require you to enter the PIN nor sign the recipt upon payment.

So it's pretty much like cash in that it's for small amounts (up to 125 Euros IIRC), there's no authentication, and if your card is stolen whatever e-money you had loaded on the chip is lost forever (whereas your bank will obviously still cover for purchases made using the regular "debit card" function, under certain circumstances).

Re:Reloadable cards. (1)

Zironic (1112127) | more than 5 years ago | (#26552711)

It's relatively trivial and not very expensive to just set up a second account with a second debit card with alot less money on it.

Re:Reloadable cards. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26553079)

Actually you can do this with PayPal. They have an plugin that plugs in to your browser and you can get a one time use number for the amount of your purchase as long as your PayPal account is set up for these transactions.

Re:Reloadable cards. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26553105)

Your idea of reloading a debit card is something you can do today, granted you need more than one account. Have one account tied to your debit card, while a second account, one that's not tied to your debit card, acts as a repository for your cash. Just transfer money from your secondary account to your primary account when needed. I do this all the time.

Re:Reloadable cards. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26553237)

Wrong - debit cards have a daily limit anywhere from $300 to $500.

Re:Fencing (4, Informative)

samkass (174571) | more than 5 years ago | (#26552243)

I think you're right here in the US. When I visited London last year, though, it seemed like every single person had chips in their cards. I felt like a Luddite asking the guy to actually swipe the magnetic strip on a card (and him having to try a couple times before it took), then go find a pen, sign it, then find a place to put the paper signature. Us old-fashioned Americans.

Re:Fencing (4, Interesting)

atamido (1020905) | more than 5 years ago | (#26552353)

I had an experience nearly identical to this in London when a shop clerk asking if we had a card with a chip in it to use. The friend I was with didn't even know what he was talking about. I explained things to her, and then told the clerk we didn't, but could wander off and find an ATM to use instead. He dug around some and found a card reader, but it was obvious he hadn't used it in a while.

Re:Fencing (3, Insightful)

pjt33 (739471) | more than 5 years ago | (#26553233)

The problem with that system is that it protects the banks and not the customers. Before you could contest the signature: now all they have is a PIN, and there's no way of proving who typed it in. It would be better to use chip, PIN and signature, but people will usually choose convenience over security.

Re:Fencing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26553311)

Too bad you voted for Obama. Sarah Palin would have fixed that and we'd all be shopping in Wasilla using our magic cards.

Re:Fencing (1)

SuperG (83071) | more than 5 years ago | (#26552533)

Actually, Visa USA was big into trying to roll out smart cards as well. I used to work for a start-up company that had a loyalty application to be used on the smart card, though we never got out of the pilot phase (for Target most notably). Visa USA's big push was because of the increased security, and hoped that loyalty would be the killer app to get it out in the marketplace.

Re:Fencing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26553025)

I try to avoid using a card for anything else than an atm. It isn't really that bothersome and is probably the safest solution...
-dreen

Re:Fencing (1)

gtbritishskull (1435843) | more than 5 years ago | (#26551883)

I have eaten at places that get mobile credit card readers and swipe it at your table. This way, the card never leaves your sight. You can suggest this to the managers of your favorite places to eat at. And, I worked at a restaurant where a guy got fired for having a card reader hidden in his pocket and stealing credit card info. It is very easy to do and very unobtrusive.

Re:Fencing (2, Interesting)

ericlondaits (32714) | more than 5 years ago | (#26551987)

There's a very cool british TV program called "The Real Hustle" in which they perform popular cons with a hidden camera and then explain them.

In one episode they show how a waiter can hide a card reader stuck to the side of their leg or under an apron and swipe it after purposely dropping it to the floor and then either picking it up or cleaning it. In this cases the waiters were using the portable reader that goes to your table, and they still were able to steal data.

Re:Fencing (4, Interesting)

Creepy Crawler (680178) | more than 5 years ago | (#26552327)

Or if you hand your CC to a drive-thru to pay for food/drink.. Our receipt paper is thin enough to easily take an imprint of a CC. All you'd need to do is remember 3-4 numbers, the CVV2.

I found out this accidently, while holding a customer CC while rubbing it: it indented the CC, expr, and name perfectly.

Good thing im honest in dealings... They wouldnt catch me if I wasnt. I know decent stat to calculate my danger, and how to mitigate any possible repercussions.

Re:Fencing (1)

Zironic (1112127) | more than 5 years ago | (#26552751)

Actually most people that copy CC's tend to get caught since it only takes 2 cards to be able to notice that both bought things from the same place and then the employer can check who's was on shift.

Re:Fencing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26553053)

So you're really good with stats, yet you work at the drive thru? Perhaps you can use your stats-fu to figure out whether you are getting the most for your time.

Re:Fencing (2, Interesting)

Applekid (993327) | more than 5 years ago | (#26551995)

I have eaten at places that get mobile credit card readers and swipe it at your table. This way, the card never leaves your sight.

Sure... they'll just swipe over at the server those mobile readers upload to instead. :)

I've wondered if people with photographic memories get involved with crimes like these since all they'd have to do is glance at a card in passing and they'll catch it.

Re:Fencing (1)

Cramer (69040) | more than 5 years ago | (#26553037)

Right. And you're certain of the security of that wireless device? And the device to which it's transmitting? And the dialup link it's using to talk to the bank?

All it takes to obtain a CC# is to simply SEE. THE. CARD. I don't need a card reader. And I don't even need to handle it. If I can see both sides of the card, it's even better because then I have the verification number as well.

I know enough about the banking and credit card industries to laugh when they talk about security. If you knew what I do, you'd probablly keep all your money in cash stuffed inside rabid ferrets.

Re:Fencing (1)

thewils (463314) | more than 5 years ago | (#26552451)

I read that corrupt retailers and waiters use portable card readers to steal all mag data on the card. How would you protect yourself against that kind of attack?

Er, pay with cash?

Re:Fencing (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26552649)

Easiest defence is to put a sticker over the 3-digit CVS number on the back of your card.

One of the most effective ways to pull off a card-not-present fraud is to get the card number and expiry date from the receipt. Some terminals *** out part of the number on the receipt, but a lot don't (especially in Chip-enabled locations such as Europe). The fraudster doesn't need to double swipe anything - just memorize the CVS when they 'check your signature', and then copy down the card number/expiry off the merchant's copy once you've left.

Re:Fencing (2, Informative)

Cramer (69040) | more than 5 years ago | (#26553161)

According to Visa and Mastercard policies, it is illegal for the terminal to record the number -- either in print or memory. If you see anyone still printing the card number on your receipt, report them immediately. Once the transaction is processed, they have a transaction ID and authorization code and no longer need the card number.

I'd recommend writing the verification number down somewhere else and removing it from the card.

This is SOOO cool. (1)

Forge (2456) | more than 5 years ago | (#26551641)

It's like being an undercover mob boss. Except you don't get to: Bang models on their way to the street, Drown rats or wear a cool ring.

Here is my question: Now that Darkmarket is all busted and closed, will this cop just enjoy a 2nd honeymoon before starting again with a new alias and hitting on a different set of crooks.

Hell, if he plays his cards right he could enter the private sector and make millions off the MPAA and RIAA.

Re:This is SOOO cool. (4, Informative)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 5 years ago | (#26552017)

He probably wants a new assignment that involves less time at a computer. Did you RTFA? He was spending 18 hours a day on his computer, and was online every day of the week. His relationship with his wife was strained because he had to be available on his computer as often as possible to avoid suspicion and to keep his credibility up. He had to report his vacations to the people he was trying to bust weeks ahead of time, to keep up that reputation. To me, that sounds like the sort of assignment that you only participate in once, if only to keep your heart healthy.

Re:This is SOOO cool. (1)

Hork_Monkey (580728) | more than 5 years ago | (#26552139)

Actually, this sounds like the average [married] slashdotter.

This was actually for some sort of productive reason, however.

Re:This is SOOO cool. (1)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 5 years ago | (#26552189)

Average married slashdotter sounds like a very small sample set...

Re:This is SOOO cool. (1)

Nethead (1563) | more than 5 years ago | (#26552321)

I would think that a married slashdotter would be above-average.

Administrators don't sleep (1)

troll8901 (1397145) | more than 5 years ago | (#26552505)

Actually, this sounds like the average [married] slashdotter.

You've reminded me of an old BlueWave tagline:
... Sleep? I'm a SYSOP!

lol @ Master Splynter (1)

agent (7471) | more than 5 years ago | (#26552043)

I would like to suggest "Visa Valentine" as that new alias.

Re:This is SOOO cool. (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 5 years ago | (#26552137)

It's like being an undercover mob boss. Except you don't get to: Bang models on their way to the street, Drown rats or wear a cool ring.

Also the risk of being shot and your body left in the Everglades for the alligators to eat is significantly lower.

Try Again (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26551933)

Who's to say that Agent J. Keith Mularski is not one of the stolen identities?

Re:Try Again (1)

geoffrobinson (109879) | more than 5 years ago | (#26552065)

Maybe I'm a brain in a vat.

Re:Try Again (0, Troll)

twitter_sockpuppet (1408775) | more than 5 years ago | (#26552709)

And I am a sock around a hand.

great relationship with the financial institutions (1)

davidsyes (765062) | more than 5 years ago | (#26552271)

"They have a direct personal relationship with industry people in all areas, but specifically a great relationship with the financial institutions,"

Well, hell, no shit! But, for those who are curious as to why i say it that way, check out:

www.visualanalytics.com

They've been around since before 2002, and i've found them to have some really cool products, based on screen shots and explanations. As far as i'm concerned, the railing bush did on the NYT reporter who outed an ongoing investigation tool probably though along the lines of VisualAnalytics, and i bet VA was the tool used. Or, some in-house FBI/CIA modification of it.

See:

http://www.visualanalytics.com/products/visualinks/index.cfm [visualanalytics.com]

http://www.visualanalytics.com/products/visuaLinks/details/vlComparisonChart.cfm [visualanalytics.com]

http://www.visualanalytics.com/products/visuaLinks/vlPreview.cfm [visualanalytics.com]

Now, imagine if MySql, Postgres, and OpenOffice and other tools could be fused, but toned down for non-intelligence/spying, but for companies mining their own hepta-wheta-peta-quad data wharehouses, or for small businesses something less powerful...

As for anti-terrorism and money laundering, they have (or in 2002 had) slides showing how the bank or federal agency using the tool can interoperate and flag activities by monitoring the target's/targets' phones (any known), contacts' phones, any or all parties' banks transactions, credit cards, deposits, money orders and transfers to or from their names, addresses, and so on, and so on. Heck, if you get access to publishers and libraries, utilities, charitie, and more, HUGE or SMALL networks can be sleuthed/sussed out.

It's a mind-bogglingly powerful and impressive tool.

Re:great relationship with the financial instituti (1)

davidsyes (765062) | more than 5 years ago | (#26552643)

Replying to my own thread... FTA:

"One hacker who called himself Theunknown swore at Mularski, "You piece of crap fed... you're never going to catch me."

"Why don't you turn yourself in. It beats living the rest of your life on the run," Mularski wrote back. A week later, Theunknown followed his advice."

LOL!

rarely asked for my ID (1)

mbannonb (262682) | more than 5 years ago | (#26552517)

even though I have written on the back of the credit card in the signature space, 'Ask for ID'.

Fraud/corruption is clearly a cost of doing business, another line item, an overhead already accounted for.

Re:rarely asked for my ID (1)

Cramer (69040) | more than 5 years ago | (#26553221)

Like an ID cannot be forged as well? If the person doesn't know you, then They. Don't. Know. You. No amount of "photo id" can *prove* who you are.

Internet Rule #1 (1)

arthurpaliden (939626) | more than 5 years ago | (#26552621)

Just goes to show you cannot trust anyone you meet online. They may not be who they claim to be.
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