Online ring for trading in stolen credit card data busted

The conspirators based in Vietnam allegedly had data on over 1.1 million cards

Law enforcement agencies in the U.S., Vietnam and the U.K. have disbanded a ring that allegedly sold online credit card details since 2007.

The ring, which sold the credit card information through two websites, is said to have caused over US$200 million in fraudulent charges on credit cards issued in the U.S. and Europe.

Charges have been brought in a federal court in New Jersey against Duy Hai Truong, 23, of Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam. Truong, who was arrested on May 29 in Vietnam, is suspected to be one of the ring leaders. Law enforcement officials in the U.K. have arrested three men in London, while another eight persons including Truong were arrested in Vietnam.

The conspiracy, based in Vietnam, obtained personal identifying information provided to retailers who sold goods and services online and received online credit card payments, according to a statement Wednesday by the office of the U.S. attorney for the district of New Jersey.

The data on over 1.1 million cards was obtained through hacking of commercial entities, the U.K.'s Serious Organized Crime Agency said. The persons charged are alleged to have obtained illegally a variety of personal information, including purchasers' names, addresses, credit card information, and Social Security numbers, including from victims in New Jersey, according to U.S. authorities.

People wanting to purchase victims' credit card information either accessed the fraud websites - www.mattfeuter.biz and www.mattfeuter.com - or sent the hackers an email, requesting data, according to the complaint of the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation in U.S. District Court for District of New Jersey.

Data was sold by the "dump" which included data on a single, identifiable victim, according to the FBI. The fee varied from about $1 to $300 per dump, depending on the victim's country of origin and information sought, according to the complaint.

If convicted, Truong, who is charged with conspiracy to commit bank fraud, faces a maximum of 30 years in prison and a fine of at least $1 million.

Enforcement agencies in the U.S. and other countries have been cracking down on online crime recently. Last month, the U.S. Department of Justice said it indicted online payment processor Liberty Reserve for allegedly laundering $6 billion in a series of global transactions. The agency said the indictment could be the largest international money laundering prosecution in history.

John Ribeiro covers outsourcing and general technology breaking news from India for The IDG News Service. Follow John on Twitter at @Johnribeiro. John's e-mail address is john_ribeiro@idg.com

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