For years, crimes have followed the same age old mantra: wrong place at the wrong time. For someone to commit a crime against someone else, they had to be physically in the same area. But that’s no longer the case; it’s now easier than ever to be victim of a crime, particularly identity theft, without even realizing it.
Identity thieves snatch tens of billions dollars a year through credit card fraud, either outright, or by selling your card information to other crooks across the globe. The perpetrators come from a loosely organized international underworld working beyond the reach of the law and without limits.
“They can sit in an apartment in Kiev … and steal your identity and you’re going to be in a world of hurt,” said Dan Clements, founder of Card Cops, a company that has been tracking hackers who buy and sell people’s identities. “They blatantly … trade credit cards. They trade social security numbers. They trade debit card pin numbers.”
Card Cops has been tracking hackers’ activity for a decade. Crooks from all over the world meet in Internet chat rooms, in what almost looks like an underground stock market.