Bank card theft by organized cybercriminals is alive and well. In fact, the organized crime groups are getting better at it and like their business counterparts are using computers to do so. And just as businesses improve their productivity by fine tuning and standardizing their work practices; organized crime groups are also following suit. It’s hard to believe that $30,000 could be withdrawn (stolen) from unsuspecting accounts in five minutes time. That happened in Montreal, Canada recently.
Canadian news reports published recently tell the story of “a theft allegedly carried out on a massive scale, with military precision” victimizing the holders of banking debit and credit cards. The theft involved the hacking of point of sale devices in retail stores and restaurants, modifying them overnight with communications capabilities that would transmit credit card numbers and pins to the criminal “headquarters” and then returning them to the place of business before the next business day.
These card numbers and pins were used to “clone” the cards onto blank cards with computer equipment heretofore only owned by bank card services companies. As you might expect, employees were bribed to gain access to the point of sale devices and the cloning equipment. In this case, 22,000 cards were stolen and cloned; which generated approximately $100 million in fraud. The next step was to have 24 runners go to ATM machines, usually in the wee hours of the morning, and on command, use the cloned bank cards to withdraw cash from 23 different cash machines generating transaction after transaction on multiple accounts until they filled their “quota” of funds for that day, then repeating the procedure multiple times each week.
This theft ring operates in Montreal Canada but others just like them, with the same level of precision, are operating throughout the world. This crime organization was found to be connected to groups “operating in countries such as Australia, New Zealand, Malaysia, Tunisia and England.” Canadian authorities have arrested 46 people and conducted 60 raids. More than a dozen others are still free with more arrests expected.
This type of cyber theft is spreading rapidly and there’s not much we can do to avoid being victims once our card numbers and pins have been stolen. What we can do is be vigilant in checking our banking card transactions and reporting discrepancies to our banks immediately.
As always, I appreciate your comments on this subject…so please do. And be careful out there…it’s extremely dangerous these days.
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Home computing is a blast…keep it safe, productive and enjoyable.