Monday, 22 November 2010

Airline ticket scam

I've just heard about a complicated website scam that basically launders stolen credit cards through airlines. The scam goes as follows: criminals use stolen credit cards to purchase airline tickets, which they sell at discounted prices for cash through a website (using "mule" bank accounts to transfer the money). Victims who purchase the tickets can even call and confirm their flights, but once the credit card is reported as stolen and the charge reversed, the ticket is canceled, the money is gone via its intermediate route and they have no real recourse. It's fairly clever in that the victims get real products, the criminals get cash and the money trail (thanks to the mules) is hard for victims to follow up.

Now, how would you investigate this? First I'd want to get as many of the mule account details as possible, and track any common transfers they've made to third parties. Chances are, however, that the end points are dead ends, another mule (who withdraws cash to transfer in person) or far outside local police jurisdiction.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - I'm not sure what they'll end up doing.
PPS - I hope it catches these guys, though.

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