FBI Op Targets Cyber Criminals Stealing Credit Cards

U.S. law enforcement officials say 24 suspected computer hackers have been arrested in a sting operation. The FBI set up a fake online forum for people interested in trading credit card numbers and other financial information.

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Two dozen people on four continents have been charged with trafficking in stolen credit cards and bank account numbers. Eleven of the defendants were arrested in the U.S. They were caught after allegedly using a website set up by the FBI as part of a sting operation.

NPR's Jim Zarroli reports.

JIM ZARROLI, BYLINE: FBI officials said the arrests yesterday amounted to the largest coordinated international law enforcement action in history. It involved 13 countries in North America, Asia, Europe and Australia.

The operation centered on what's called a carding forum that was set up two years ago by the FBI. It went by the name Carder Profit. Such forums are used by cybercriminals to trade stolen credit card and bank account information.

The defendants went by names such as Cubby and Oxiedox. One is said to have used the site to sell credit card information he got by hacking into a hotel website. Another allegedly used fake serial numbers and stolen credit card information to obtain replacement parts for Apple products. And a third is said to have sold malware that could steal people's financial information by attaching itself to their computers and recording their every keystroke. The malware sold for $50 a copy.

FBI officials said some of the defendants were accomplished hackers. One is said to have stolen information from a bank and online retailers and sold it to other people. He was caught after allegedly selling the information to an undercover FBI agent in exchange for a laptop. Another defendant, who went by the name Josh the God, is said to have obtained 50,000 stolen credit card numbers.

Jim Zarroli, NPR News, New York.

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