05 Jan 2011

Authorities bust scam focused on eBay, PayPal

A pair of foreign exchange students from Vietnam were recently apprehended by authorities for allegedly participating in a scam that used stolen credit card numbers to purchase items before they were sold on eBay. The students, who were enrolled at Winona State University in Minnesota, have not been charged as of yet nor are they the only targets of the investigation.

"The criminal ring makes online purchases from ecommerce merchants using stolen credit card information and then utilizes an elaborate network of mules based in the United States," wrote Daniel Schwarz of the United States Department of Homeland Security.

According to a Department of Homeland Security affidavit, stolen credit card numbers were used to purchase the items after people won the auctions on eBay. Throughout 2010 and into 2011, internet security professionals have warned web users to secure their information with reliable antivirus software. However, once a cyber criminals has stolen information, it can be difficult to prevent him from quickly running up charges.

The Identity Theft Resource Center reported last year that 87 percent of consumers engaging in ecommerce purchases were concerned about the threat of identity theft, even though they take security precautions and only purchase from legitimate vendors.