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International card theft targets U.S. consumers

Summary

More than a million American consumer card accounts were compromised in an international card scam.

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More than a million American consumer card accounts were compromised in an international credit card scam.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) filed a number of court requests in an attempt to shut down an international credit and debit card scam that involved around 1.3 million U.S. consumers. The Commission reports the total amount of false charges processed by the thieves was close to $10 million over approximately a four-year period.

The scam involved charging small amounts on consumers’ credit and debit cards, ranging from 20 cents to no more than $10, processed by more than 100 fake merchant accounts set up to resemble genuine companies.

“It’s easier to steal one $1 from one million people than $1 million from one person,” stated the FTC in a June 28 press release about the thefts.

The money was collected by more than 16 dummy corporations the ring had set up in various Eastern European and Central Asian countries.

Although more than 1,000 consumers filed complaints with the FTC, which initiated the nine-month investigation, the majority of consumers took limited action in regards to their loss. The FTC speculates that because the amount of money was so small, consumers either failed to notice or simply didn’t bother to address the problem.

The identities of the overseas individuals who masterminded the scam are still not clear. It is also unclear exactly how they managed to acquire consumers’ debit or credit card numbers. FTC staff attorney Steven Wernikoff stated that during the course of the investigation, there was no discernable pattern between the type of card being abused and the scam.

Here is a list of some of the merchants whose name appeared on victims’ billing statements that have been identified in the case:

Fake merchants steal millions
ACMEurekaMARXSite Services
Adele ServicesExtra PathMeraSource Limited
Advanced Global TechForm LimitedMFGStandard Six
AEIFoto FastName ServicesSYS INC
Albion GroupGammaNETTSystem Development
Alpha CellGFDLNew EightTerra
ALSGLOBOOffice DevelopmentTHQ
ALS LLCGreen StoneOffice ServicesTIMO
BEIHarry DeanOM ExtraTLC Inc.
BITHBSONEUnion Green
BusinessWorksHome PortOnline GroupUnited Services
Center CompanyHomebasePrc ServicesVIVOS
Centr LimitedICH ServicesPresiWELLE
Centrum GroupIHSRasnaWill Services
CFMImage CompanyRSIPartnersWorld Trade
CFRImages ServicesRSS Inc.World Wide Services
COSIPSSafeworksYES
Data ServicesISSOSearch Company
Den EnterprisesIVASearch Group
DgenLang GroupSearch Management
Digest LimitedLight FlowSearch Services
Don PartnersLink GroupSFR
DwellTechLink ServicesSigma
EdgeList ServicesSite Group
ESTAMark SilverSite Management

 

See related:10 things you should know about identity theft, Nearly 100 charged worldwide in massive phishing scam bust, Haiti disaster brings out charity scams

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