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FBI nets huge phishing ring

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By Barry Collins

Posted on 8 Oct 2009 at 12:08

The FBI and Egyptian authorities have charged more than 100 people who took part in an international bank phishing scheme.

Operation Phishy Phry, which has seen 53 people charged in the States and a further 47 apprehended in Egypt, is being described as the biggest cybercrime investigation to date in the US.

The $2m scam saw Egyptian-based hackers obtain the account numbers and passwords of thousands of bank and credit-card customers through fake email messages. The Egyptians used the login details to hack into accounts at two US banks, and then transfer funds to newly-created accounts established by the team in the US.

The US ring - led by three men from California - allegedly recruited runners who set up the fake bank accounts, to where the money was transferred. A portion of the income was then diverted back to Egypt via wire services.

"The sophistication with which Phish Phry defendants operated represents an evolving and troubling paradigm in the way identity theft is now committed," says Keith Bolcar, acting assistant director of the FBI.

"Criminally savvy groups recruit here [in the US] and abroad to pool tactics and skills necessary to commit organised theft facilitated by the computer, including hacking, fraud and identity theft, with a common greed and shared willingness to victimise Americans."

The US defendants are facing a 51-count indictment including charges of bank fraud, aggravated identity theft and conspiracy to commit computer fraud.

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User comments


Sad to say, there are people like Raj Rajaratnam who even funded rebel group. Raj Rajaratnam had one of those stories – man moves to America to make his fortune. However, this one is ending on a bad note, because he's heading straight to the clink. Raj Rajaratnam, head and founder of Galleon Group hedge fund, has been arrested for insider trading, conspiracy, and securities fraud, as he solicited and sold insider trading info in a $20 million fraud scheme. He and his conspirators didn't pass go, didn't collect $200, and were taken straight to jail, and the suits aren't made by Brooks Brothers there. Well, Raj Rajaratnam can now see about the dividends from trading smokes, and he might need installment loans for bad credit after the lawyers get done with him.

By BetsyY on 24 Oct 2009

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