Payment card processors hacked in $45 million fraud

US federal prosecutors indicted eight people accused of running a vast carding scheme

A vast debit card fraud scheme that allegedly netted $US45 million has been linked to the hacking of credit card processors in the US and India.

Federal prosecutors in New York indicted eight men on Thursday whom they accuse of a scheme centered on raising the limit on prepaid debit cards and then withdrawing the cash from ATMs.

"In such operations, hackers manipulate account balances and in some cases security protocols to effectively eliminate any withdrawal limits on individual accounts," the indictment reads.

"As a result, even a few compromised bank account numbers can result in tremendous financial loss to the victim financial institution," it said.

Payment card processors are typically expected to comply with the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI-DSS), a code of best practices created by the card industry designed to prevent hackers from obtaining card details.

In one example, the hackers raised the limit on 12 accounts at the Bank of Muscat, based in Oman. The account details were obtained through a U.S. credit card processor, which handles Visa and MasterCard prepaid debit cards. It was not identified in the indictment.

The account numbers were distributed to people in 24 countries, who encoded the account details onto dummy payment cards that could then be used in ATMs. Around Feb. 19, the Bank of Muscat lost $40 million in less than 24 hours as the people made withdrawals.

A single card's details was used around New York City for an astounding 2,904 withdrawals, amounting to $2.4 million, according to the indictment. The same number was used in other withdrawals worldwide for another $6.5 million.

The Indian credit card processor, which was also not identified, held the details for prepaid Visa and MasterCard debit accounts with the National Bank of Ras Al-Khaimah PSC in the United Arab Emirates.

The limits for five of those accounts were increased, and the card details send to people in 20 countries. More than 4,500 ATM withdrawals were made, causing $5 million in losses, the indictment said.

The defendants are charged in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York with conspiracy to commit access device fraud, money laundering conspiracy and two counts of money laundering.

Those arrested are Jael Mejia Collado, Joan Luis Minier Lara, Evan Jose Pena, Jose Familia Reyes, Elvis Rafael Rodriguez, Emir Yasser Yeje and Chung Yu-Holguin.

An eighth defendant, Alberto Yusi Lajud-Pena, is believed to have been murdered in the Dominican Republic on April 27.

Send news tips and comments to Follow me on Twitter: @jeremy_kirk

Join the CSO newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags CriminalBank of Muscatsecuritydata breachlegalIdentity fraud / theftcybercrime

More about Visa

Show Comments

Featured Whitepapers

Editor's Recommendations

Solution Centres

Stories by Jeremy Kirk

Latest Videos

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: Will your data protection strategy be enough when disaster strikes?

    Speakers: - Paul O’Connor, Engagement leader - Performance Audit Group, Victorian Auditor-General’s Office (VAGO) - Nigel Phair, Managing Director, Centre for Internet Safety - Joshua Stenhouse, Technical Evangelist, Zerto - Anthony Caruana, CSO MC & Moderator

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: The Human Factor - Your people are your biggest security weakness

    ​Speakers: David Lacey, Researcher and former CISO Royal Mail David Turner - Global Risk Management Expert Mark Guntrip - Group Manager, Email Protection, Proofpoint

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: Current ransomware defences are failing – but machine learning can drive a more proactive solution

    Speakers • Ty Miller, Director, Threat Intelligence • Mark Gregory, Leader, Network Engineering Research Group, RMIT • Jeff Lanza, Retired FBI Agent (USA) • Andy Solterbeck, VP Asia Pacific, Cylance • David Braue, CSO MC/Moderator What to expect: ​Hear from industry experts on the local and global ransomware threat landscape. Explore a new approach to dealing with ransomware using machine-learning techniques and by thinking about the problem in a fundamentally different way. Apply techniques for gathering insight into ransomware behaviour and find out what elements must go into a truly effective ransomware defence. Get a first-hand look at how ransomware actually works in practice, and how machine-learning techniques can pick up on its activities long before your employees do.

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: Get real about metadata to avoid a false sense of security

    Speakers: • Anthony Caruana – CSO MC and moderator • Ian Farquhar, Worldwide Virtual Security Team Lead, Gigamon • John Lindsay, Former CTO, iiNet • Skeeve Stevens, Futurist, Future Sumo • David Vaile - Vice chair of APF, Co-Convenor of the Cyberspace Law And Policy Community, UNSW Law Faculty This webinar covers: - A 101 on metadata - what it is and how to use it - Insight into a typical attack, what happens and what we would find when looking into the metadata - How to collect metadata, use this to detect attacks and get greater insight into how you can use this to protect your organisation - Learn how much raw data and metadata to retain and how long for - Get a reality check on how you're using your metadata and if this is enough to secure your organisation

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: How banking trojans work and how you can stop them

    CSO Webinar: How banking trojans work and how you can stop them Featuring: • John Baird, Director of Global Technology Production, Deutsche Bank • Samantha Macleod, GM Cyber Security, ME Bank • Sherrod DeGrippo, Director of Emerging Threats, Proofpoint (USA)

    Play Video

More videos

Blog Posts

Market Place