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Bold bank robbers use modern methods to steal millions digitally

There was a time when a bank robber living in India would be unable to rob a bank in Wisconsin, but a recent bank heist demonstrates that technically talented thieves can find ways to steal funds from banks anywhere in the world. An international ring of cyber crooks were able to steal more than $40 million from two banks using a band of accomplices in the U.S. and 26 other countries, all without setting foot inside of a bank or using a weapon.

The first step in this series of Internet crimes involved hacking into the records for thousands of prepaid credit cards and upping the credit limits before making off with the relevant card info and PIN numbers. Then the enterprising criminals used credit card programming equipment to encode the stolen information from the prepaid cards onto other cards with magnetic strips, such as hotel keys or library cards.

Once the cards were programmed, thieves all around the world went from one ATM machine to another withdrawing money. The first day's haul for this scheme was around $5 million. Months later, the robbers struck again for $40 million. Because the stolen information was from unissued prepaid credit cards, the losers in this case were two banks, one based in Oman and the other based in the United Arab Emirates. The plot was ultimately unraveled when one of the accomplices purchased an airline ticket using one of the stolen credit cards.

If you are facing criminal charges resulting from your activity on the Internet, don't try to navigate the often confusing world of cyber crime alone. Consulting an attorney specializing in crimes such as cyber stalking or online solicitation of a minor is an important first step towards getting the best possible resolution to these serious criminal charges.

Source: ABC, "Bloodless bank heist impressed cybercrime experts", COLLEEN LONG and MARTHA MENDOZA, May 10, 2013

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