U.S. seizes credit card fraud Web sites

April 26, 2012 at 4:54 PM
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WASHINGTON, April 26 (UPI) -- U.S. officials said Thursday they have seized 36 domain names of Web sites carrying out the illegal sale and distribution of stolen credit card numbers.

A U.S. Justice Department statement said the seizures are due to Operation Wreaking hAVocC, an FBI and department effort targeting the sale of stolen credit card numbers over the Internet. During Wreaking hAVocC, law enforcement officials made undercover purchases of credit card numbers, including those issued by the Bank of America, SunTrust and Capital One.

The seizure warrant was issued by a federal magistrate in Alexandria, Va.

The effort was coordinated with international law enforcement agencies, including Britain's Serious Organized Crime Agency.

Visitors to the Web sites now will find a seizure banner saying the domain name has been seized by federal officials, the statement said.

The seized Web sites are commonly called "automated vending carts," the department said. An AVC is a site that issues an open-ended invitation to buy stolen credit card numbers. AVCs allow a user to buy stolen credit card data, even using an online "shopping cart," like a traditional online retailer.

Some AVC sites let a buyer pick the type of credit card number to purchase, the account's country of origin, and in some cases even the state in which the account holder lives, the department statement said.

AVCs allow the sellers of stolen credit card data to do business without talking directly to online buyers, the statement said.

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