FBI nabs 24 in card-fraud forum sting

Feds had been having tips-and-tricks with fraudsters for YEARS


Updated An FBI sting operation against an underground carding forum has resulted in 24 arrests.

The Carder Profit forum had been run by undercover Feds for the last two years, yielding intelligence that resulted in arrests in eight countries.

The sting - dubbed "Operation Card Shop" - began in June 2010 when the FBI itself set up the Carderprofit.cc forum, which enabled discussion between members relating to the trade in credit card details and compromised personal information. The underground site was set up by the Feds to attract users of similar forums and thereby allow monitoring of their criminality. According to a canned statement from SOCA, the website had approximately 2,000 registered members when it was taken offline last month.

Those arrested include a man purported to be "JoshTheGod", leader of the UGNazi black-shirt hacking crew. According to the allegations in the complaint – which has been unsealed by the court – Federal investigators charge that Mir Islam, of Manhattan, was JoshTheGod. The FBI says that Islam, who is alleged to have founded Carders.Org – another carding forum – was arrested after he attempted to withdraw funds from an ATM using counterfeit credit cards supplied to him by an undercover FBI agent posing as a fellow cybercrook.

The FBI seized the web server for UGNazi.com, and seized the domain name of "Carders.org" – taking both sites offline, following the arrest on Monday.

In total, 11 arrests were executed in the US while a further six arrest warrants were served in the UK. Two further suspects were arrested in Bosnia, and others were cuffed in Bulgaria, Norway, and Germany.

Two additional defendants were arrested in Italy and Australia.

Prosecutors charge that the suspects plotted on Carder Profit to run a "breathtaking spectrum of cyber schemes and scams". Individuals sold credit cards by the thousands as well as casually offering "every stripe of malware and virus to fellow fraudsters", according to Manhattan US Attorney Preet Bharara.

Other frauds included buying and selling stolen identities, counterfeit documents, sophisticated hacking tools and other contraband. Feds describe the operation as the biggest ever international crackdown on carding crimes to date.

Access to the Carder Profit Forum, which was taken offline in May 2012, was limited to registered members. Various membership requirements were imposed to restrict site membership to individuals with established knowledge of carding techniques. For example, at times, new users were prevented from joining the site unless they were recommended by two existing users, unless they paid a registration fee.

A DoJ statement on the case can be found here. ®

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