BBCTechnology

Cyber-loot clean-up

Turning virtual cash into real money without being caught is a big problem for successful cyber-criminals.
They often have to get creative when “cashing out” or laundering the money they have stolen, according to a security expert.
Ziv Mador, head of security research at Trustwave SpiderLabs. told the BBC that credit card thieves, for example, have limited time to profit, because at some point the victim will put a stop on their card.
Tens of thousands of stolen card numbers are traded daily on the underground markets that Mr Mador and his colleagues monitor, with details taken from compromised websites or databases.
“They can try to sell the card, which is not big money because they only get a few dollars for each one,” he said.
Instead, he added, they are more likely to use them to buy more valuable assets like iPhones or Macbooks, which are popular because they tend to hold their value when resold.
“They do not buy 100 or so iPhones at once,” he said. “They use a lot of different cards at different times.”
Mr Mador said the crooks use randomisation tools to thwart anti-fraud systems that would spot if all the purchases, even those made with different cards, are being done on the same computer.
Another “cashing out” technique uses gift cards from big retailers such as Amazon and WalMart.
This technique involves buying the gift card with the stolen credit card and then offering it for sale at a big discount.
For example, a customer may be able to buy a $400 (£312) card for half price, although they face the risk of it being cancelled if a retailer notices it was originally bought with a stolen credit card.
Then there are the more creative scams that seek to use Uber and other ride-hailing firms to launder cash.
Mr Mador, and others, have seen adverts seeking drivers who can take part, with Spain and the US both popular locations for the fraud. Other places like Moscow and St Petersburg were “temporarily unavailable”.
“They are looking for Uber drivers for fraudulent payments, people who can register for Uber and do fake rides,” said Mr Mador.

Source: BBC
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