Feds charge Vietnamese suspect with slurp'n'flog of half-a-million Americans' ID data

'Fullz' sold included social security, bank account and bank routing numbers


A Vietnamese man has been charged in connection with a long-running scam involving the theft and resale of what the DoJ rather hiply refers to as the "fullz”* (personal information) of hundreds of thousands of Americans.

Hieu Minh Ngo, 24, a Vietnamese national, was hit with a total of 15 charges, including conspiracy to commit wire fraud, substantive wire fraud, conspiracy to commit identity fraud, substantive identity fraud, aggravated identity theft, conspiracy to commit access device fraud, and substantive access device fraud, according to a Department of Justice statement on the case.

From 2007 until 2012 Ngo, allegedly operating under the alias “hieupc”, conspired with others to sell "personal information packages" of more than 500,000 people, according to prosecutors.

Many of these sales were carried out on carding forums or cybercrime marketplaces operated by the suspects, claims the DoJ. Higher prices were charged for more recently updated information, while the illegal trades also involved stolen payment card data, the Feds said. Payments for the illicit info was through a "digital currency service".

Ngo was arrested upon his entry into the United States in February 2013. The charges, filed in November 2012, were unsealed on 18 October. The full indictment against Ngo can be found here (PDF).

Investigative blogger and cybercrime specialist Brian Krebs reports that the business was run through an underground service called Superget.info.

Krebs claims that cybercrooks posing as US-based private investigators bought the information from Experian. The credit reference agency had acquired a smaller information agency, Court Ventures, whose US Info Search product Superget.info had previously slurped some of its data from. Access was paid for by monthly wire transfers from Singapore, it is alleged.

An Experian spokesman said: “The data from US Info Search was never mixed with Experian data, and to be clear, Experian’s credit files were not accessed. Experian acquired Court Ventures in March, 2012 because of its national public records database. After the acquisition, the US Secret Service notified Experian that Court Ventures had been and was continuing to resell data from US Info Search to a third party possibly engaged in illegal activity. Following notice by the US Secret Service, Experian discontinued reselling US Info Search data."

"Because of the ongoing federal investigation, we are not free to say anything further at this time,” the spokesman added. ®

* An individual's "fullz", according to a press release by the US Department of Justice, include their name, date of birth, social security number, bank account number and bank routing number.

Broader topics

Narrower topics


Other stories you might like

  • Zuckerberg sued for alleged role in Cambridge Analytica data-slurp scandal
    I can prove CEO was 'personally involved in Facebook’s failure to protect privacy', DC AG insists

    Cambridge Analytica is back to haunt Mark Zuckerberg: Washington DC's Attorney General filed a lawsuit today directly accusing the Meta CEO of personal involvement in the abuses that led to the data-slurping scandal. 

    DC AG Karl Racine filed [PDF] the civil suit on Monday morning, saying his office's investigations found ample evidence Zuck could be held responsible for that 2018 cluster-fsck. For those who've put it out of mind, UK-based Cambridge Analytica harvested tens of millions of people's info via a third-party Facebook app, revealing a – at best – somewhat slipshod handling of netizens' privacy by the US tech giant.

    That year, Racine sued Facebook, claiming the social network was well aware of the analytics firm's antics yet failed to do anything meaningful until the data harvesting was covered by mainstream media. Facebook repeatedly stymied document production attempts, Racine claimed, and the paperwork it eventually handed over painted a trail he said led directly to Zuck. 

    Continue reading
  • Florida's content-moderation law kept on ice, likely unconstitutional, court says
    So cool you're into free speech because that includes taking down misinformation

    While the US Supreme Court considers an emergency petition to reinstate a preliminary injunction against Texas' social media law HB 20, the US Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals on Monday partially upheld a similar injunction against Florida's social media law, SB 7072.

    Both Florida and Texas last year passed laws that impose content moderation restrictions, editorial disclosure obligations, and user-data access requirements on large online social networks. The Republican governors of both states justified the laws by claiming that social media sites have been trying to censor conservative voices, an allegation that has not been supported by evidence.

    Multiple studies addressing this issue say right-wing folk aren't being censored. They have found that social media sites try to take down or block misinformation, which researchers say is more common from right-leaning sources.

    Continue reading
  • US-APAC trade deal leaves out Taiwan, military defense not ruled out
    All fun and games until the chip factories are in the crosshairs

    US President Joe Biden has heralded an Indo-Pacific trade deal signed by several nations that do not include Taiwan. At the same time, Biden warned China that America would help defend Taiwan from attack; it is home to a critical slice of the global chip industry, after all. 

    The agreement, known as the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF), is still in its infancy, with today's announcement enabling the United States and the other 12 participating countries to begin negotiating "rules of the road that ensure [US businesses] can compete in the Indo-Pacific," the White House said. 

    Along with America, other IPEF signatories are Australia, Brunei, India, Indonesia, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, New Zealand, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. Combined, the White House said, the 13 countries participating in the IPEF make up 40 percent of the global economy. 

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022