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Security Response

Scammers make friends with charities

Created: 06 Jul 2007 07:00:00 GMT • Updated: 23 Jan 2014 18:48:09 GMT
Yazan Gable's picture
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Symantec has observed an interesting trendin the world of Internet-based credit card fraud: fraudsters aredonating money to charity. How could this happen? In the world ofcarding, where stolen credit card information is bought and sold,carders need to know if the credit cards they are buying or selling canactually be used. It is sometimes difficult for them to verify thiswithout raising any alarm bells and risking that their cards will beidentified as stolen and disabled. As a consequence, a new trend isappearing.

Carders attempting to verify that a stolen credit card is legitimateand active have begun donating money to charity. By attempting to paysmall amounts of money to various charities, including well knowncharities such as the Red Cross, carders can determine if a stolencredit card is valid depending on the success or failure of thetransaction.

There are likely a number of reasons that this method may bebecoming more popular. For instance, bank behavior monitors may be lesslikely to pick up on donations to charities. Legitimate charitabledonations are not daily transactions for anyone with a credit card, andso it would be difficult to determine if they are out of the norm. Assuch, it wouldn’t be too surprising to see this trend grow. I guess theone thing to note here though is that at least some of the stolen moneyis going to a good cause.