By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent Worthy News
WASHINGTON/AMSTERDAM/BUDAPEST (Worthy News) – The U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has taken down one of the world’s biggest online criminal marketplaces where it was possible to clone the computer identities of millions of people for a small fee.
Website Genesis Market allowed criminals to plunder bank accounts and place orders online, prompting police raids worldwide.
Genesis Market sold individuals’ login details to enter websites and other online services, Internet Protocol addresses, and other data that made up victims’ “digital fingerprints.”
Often costing less than $1, the personal information lets fraudsters log into bank and shopping accounts, potentially emptying the victims’ bank accounts and using what is left on their credit cards.
The damage is astronomical, with the identities stolen of at least two million people, according to investigators, prompting global alerts.
There were hundreds of police actions and raids in the U.S., Netherlands, and other countries, Worthy News learned.
Law enforcement agencies from nearly 20 countries were involved in the raids, which began at dawn on Tuesday, officials confirmed.
The operation was led by the FBI and the Dutch National Police, working alongside the National Crime Agency in Britain, the Australian Federal Police, and agencies in nations across Europe.
Worldwide, some 200 searches were carried out, and 120 people were arrested, police said.
In Britain alone, the NCA said it detained Crime 24 people who were suspected users of the Genesis Market site.
They include two men aged 34 and 36 in Grimsby, Lincolnshire, who were held on suspicion of fraud and computer misuse, authorities explained.
In the Netherlands, known for its many data centers, at least 17 suspects were arrested, and drugs, weapons, and computers seized, police said.
The raids in one of the most extensive global cybercrime investigations so far underscored worries that online crime is running out of control, the raids suggested.
“Anyone can become a victim,” said team leader Ruben van Well of the Rotterdam cybercrime team.
“Even an eight-year-old child can be targeted. And through that child, the whole family. It’s a very sophisticated system.”
He said many have suffered in the scheme including at least 50,000 in the Netherlands. “As a person, you are basically traded for tens or hundreds of euros, only to become a victim for tens of thousands of euros.”
Ironically the U.S. part of the worldwide operation was code-named “Cookie Monster.”
If you are interested in articles produced by Worthy News, please check out our FREE sydication service available to churches or online Christian ministries. To find out more, visit Worthy Plugins.