From foreign exchange student to Cyber-crime Millionaire
"There's plenty for everyone"
Business case scenario of Cyber-criminals recorded by associates of Ultrascan-AGI.
December 2, 2005 It's Friday night in a southern European coastal town. Peter, a 17 years old IT foreign exchange student is for the first time invited to come along with his friends to place skim equipment on ATM's nearby.
In the months before, he was chatting and mailing in the local internet cafe, getting initiated into "the carding business" on the Internet. So he knew how and where all skimming devices and cards were traded.
They attach the skimmers with cameras to ATM's for one day and two nights. Before they leave, they are checking the wireless connection between the camera and the laptop which they leave behind in the parked car. Now they have to wait until Sunday to see whether their skimmers get a good loot.
During his initiation period Peter heard very high amounts, but for this first time "shadowing" he is promised 500 Euro if the operation succeeds. For Peter this is a significant amount, more than he is making with cleaning yachts in the marina. His companions promised him that there is no risk.
After placing the equipment his friends take him to a club and treat him to drinks, drugs, "girlfriends" and success stories. They party until early Sunday morning.
The two ATM's are in the busy main street with a lot of shops, tourists and passers-by. The boys hope for some heavy ATM traffic, at least 500 cards with up to several dozen in the upper segment, cards with high limits and balances.
Sunday morning just after five AM the boys collect the skim equipment and cameras from the ATM's and drive quickly to the campus, where they organize the data from the skimmer with the PIN numbers of 603 cards all together. There are 12 cards with very high limits and they decide to keep five of those for personal use. 598 are encrypted and sent via the internet to Romania, Italy and England.
Through many detours, e-banking, money mules, prepaid credit cards and money transfers, the boys receive a total of 556.140 Euro. They invested about 8000 Euro for the equipment including two laptops, software, mobile phones and not to forget a weekend partying. Peter's friends explained that they also have to pay an even 30% protection money to a local Mafia boss. The total damage amounts to over 1.2 million Euro.
The Wednesday after, Peter receives his 500 Euro and his friends ask if he wants to come along on another round of skimming in a nearby village. But Peter was really shocked by the results and contacts with the local Mafia boss and he says "this kind of contacts do not belong in my future".
Two weeks later, the criminal career of Peter starts.
He finds anonymously his contacts through the now familiar internet forums and to begin with he orders an ATM skimmer, pays for it with a Western Union transfer to an unknown Chinese woman in Malaysia (a money mule).
The next morning he received a confirmation from the seller and the tracing and tracking number with which he can follow the one-day shipment via the website of the carrier. He installs a mini-camera into a strip that fits inconspicuous to "his" bank machine.
On Friday morning December 23, 2005, he borrows a car and places the skimmer and camerastrip on an appropriate ATM in the local mall. In the first week of 2006, his first own ATM skimming-job returns with some small hiccups a total of 179.200 Euro. Peter now has a problem, he never expected to really have so much real money .............. so easy.
In the period 2006 and 2007 Peter earns more than 8 million Euro in seven European and one North African country. His business is paused with a short period in jail, which was reduced and the criminal record deleted due to a payment to a corrupt official of only $100,000.
Nowadays Peter is travelling between the moorings of his 3 sophisticated yachts were he meets and discusses global cyber crime strategies, research and local projects with crime bosses from four continents. He always wanted to travel, for his large family is divided over two countries and his anonymous cyber crime org. over 70 countries.
When he meets his old friends from his carding ecosystem, it is usually at airports. Often he comes a few days or sometimes weeks late to conceal his activities, but his friends like to wait.
He is now a hero, a leading example for a crowd of thousands of anonymous participants in his criminal virtual network that perpetrate every thinkable cyber crime, its members are proud to be among the best and some of them, like in a computer game, see them self as enemy of the state! A state that says we can't find them and therefore we can't stop them.
Peter does not know how many others in his network are better or richer but that does not matter to him because: "there's plenty for everyone."