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Online Criminals Sell Stolen Ids For A Pittance

Sale of stolen personal data of Britons including credit card details, residential addresses and system passwords is being undertaken through Russian websites for a tiny amount of 1 pound each. Criminals are routinely extracting confidential data from home-based computers to withdraw money from the users' bank accounts and conduct transactions on their credit cards. During the past five years identity theft has increased six times and is expected to cost U.K. economy nearly 1.7 billion pounds per annum.

According to United Kingdom's 'National Hi-Tech Crime Unit' the magnitude of ID fraud can be shaky. 28 people from seven countries were arrested in October for trading nearly 2 million stolen credit card numbers online. The sites, which were hacked by as many as 4,000 criminals appeared to have links with crime groups in Eastern Europe, Argentina and Sweden.

An investigation by 'The Sunday Times' over a sample of 13 British identities that were stolen, poses serious questions about online security. 'The Sunday Times' reporter requested the online users of the Russian site www.carder.info for a sample and was given a list of names, passwords, e-mail ids and credit card numbers. This was stolen information from HSBC, Lloyds TSB, Nat West and Barclays and sold to the reporter for $2 to $5 each.

One of the targeted individuals named Cheryl Lambert, 38, from Helston; Cornwall said he was horrified about the whole thing for he posted his profile on the Internet, which could be used by anyone.

The crooks tap every keystroke that the victim makes on secure sites. They employ Trojan software to do this, which the victim unknowingly downloads from the website or e-mail. The criminals then discover the victim's codes and personal data, which they sell to third parties. They even trade the information online under fake names.

While lawmakers think about protections, they should also make mandatory notification to consumers to let them freeze access to their confidential records when their data may be compromised.

As British police are carrying on the investigation of the case, Russian police though not willing to comment specifically on the case are co-operating with British counterparts.

Related article: Online Card Fraud Shows Greater Tendency Than Chip and Pin

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