At least two dozen people have been arrested both in the United States and other countries after a coordinated crackdown on financial cybercrime, U.S. officials said on Tuesday. All of the suspects had been under investigation for the past two years in an operation known as “Operation Card Shop”.
These people allegedly stole credit card and banking data and exchanged that information, including credit card numbers, with each other online.
The FBI isn’t releasing much information, but it did say the investigation spanned four continents and was due to its continued commitment to “rooting out rampant criminal behavior on the Internet,” Janice Fedarcyk, assistant director at the FBI’s New York field office said via press release. She said the investigation found
sophisticated, highly organized cyber criminals involved in buying and selling stolen identities, exploited credit cards, counterfeit documents and sophisticated hacking tools.
What was revealed is that there were twenty-four suspects arrested in eight countries. Of those twenty-four, eleven were in the United States and two minors were arrested as well. Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said cyber crime is growing fast and on an international level.
The response, he said, “must be global and forceful”. He went on to say the crackdown was
the largest coordinated international law enforcement action in history directed at criminals who use the Internet to traffic in stolen credit cards and bank account data.
He also said some of those arrested were involved as small time operators.
Of the twenty four arrests, six people were arrested in the United Kingdom, two in Bosnia, and one each in Bulgaria, Norway, Germany, Italy and Japan. A number of other countries also aided in the investigation, the Bharara said.
A few more details in the arrests were disclosed, without revealing the identities of those accused. A twenty-one year old Massachusetts man arrested in the sting is being accused of helping use stolen credit card information to purchase at least five Dell laptop computers, various jewelry and even synthetic marijuana.
Another male, this one 19-years-old and from Georgia stands accused of picking up an iPad and a handful of other Apple products from local retailers after another criminal he was working with bought them with stolen card data.
A San Diego TV station is saying Mark “Cubby” Caparelli was taken into custody in San Diego on Tuesday morning. He was part of the sting. Caparelli allegedly engaged in a so-called “Apple call-in” scheme in which he used stolen credit cards and social-engineering skills to fraudulently obtain replacement products from Apple Inc., which he then resold for profit. Caparelli faces charges of wire and access-device fraud, and could be sentenced to a maximum of 30 years in prison if convicted, according to the station.
There remains at least four more arrests to be made; those suspects remain at large, said law enforcement officials. The communication between the criminals was accessed by police in an undercover forum known only as Carder Profit.
Whenever alleged criminals logged on to the forum, law enforcement officials were able to not only see what those messages were in real time, but it also allowed them to track the users down. The FBI has notified any affected credit card networks about the 411,000-plus compromised credit and debit cards. It also said it believes it prevented more than $200 billion in losses.
Finally, there were more than 47 companies, schools and government offices whose networks were breached.
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