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Thoughts on credit card fraud

I know the title is weird, I promise I'm not *hic* drunk.

So yesterday late I was browsing classified ads, as one does at 1 AM and I noticed a strange ad. The description was just some Lorem Ipsum like quote and the pictures were overlaid with a link to an external site and some weird slogans. I thought it was just an odd occurrence and reported the ad, but browsing further, I realized that the site was under a spam attack. Hundreds of ads like that were added over and over, from different accounts, all in the same format.

I'm still salty at the site for that one time the moderator deleted my ad for updating the model name of the laptop I was selling, so I didn't bother with reporting all of those ads by hand, and instead I followed a link that kept appearing in the images.

The link took me to a thread on some weird forum that claimed to be a "pirate cove" of the "DarkNet" yada yada yada. What was more interesting however, was the content of the thread itself. The author claimed to have all kinds of import electronics, clothing and other goodies for at least 50% less the retailer price, and if you bought in bulk you could go up to 80-90% off. Personally I have no interest in buying brand new electronics, but I did want to read more.

The seller claims to have achieved this via an established network of automatic purchases, made using stolen credit cards. According to them, its no longer viable to withdraw cash, however, purchasing products online and having them delivered to associates is not as heavily monitored. Those associates then mail the produce to the warehouse, somewhere in Eastern Europe and then those products are redistributed as private sales.

Of course, tales of cyber crime, and insane earnings are often just a scam in itself - people trick others into cashing out with the promises of great discounts, but this felt different. The seller donated 5000 USD to the site, which didn't seem affiliated to them in any way. And the post itself was made around 2016. I'm not gonna go and test those claims out, last thing I want is to steal money from people, but this whole concept is pretty scary.

This article was meant to be just a couple ramblings about the topic. I don't like crime, it makes me anxious so writing about it would help alleviate the feeling. But this is also sort of a PSA: keep your data secure. Don't give John Wick your credit card information. No matter how much he needs it.

I hope this article was interesting, thanks for reading.