Examples of fake websites set up by the scammers

Researchers have uncovered a widespread credit card scheme that has gone undetected since 2019.
Amazon Web Services, Mastercard, and Visa could potentially be unknowingly participating in the scheme, the firm says. 
The company’s cofounder says people should be proactive in checking their credit cards for unfamiliar charges.

Cybersecurity researchers say they have uncovered a massive, multi-million dollar credit card scheme, and major companies like Amazon Web Services, Mastercard, and Visa are all potentially unwitting participants.

Consumer-facing cybersecurity firm ReasonLabs uncovered the scheme, which they said has flown under the radar for years by charging small enough monthly subscription fees for generic-sounding services to go undetected by scores of victims in the US. 

ReasonLabs says the scheme has been operating without notice since 2019 and has reaped fraudsters between $10 million to $50 million per year. 

How the scheme works

The operation appears to have gone undiscovered largely due to its complexity. Scammers allegedly created a network of more than 200 fake dating and adult websites that are functional but have no real users or website traffic, ReasonLabs said. 

The firm says these cybercriminals used hundreds of stolen credit card numbers, likely purchased from the dark web, and charged the cards monthly. Typical of many sites in the adult dating industry, the charges showed up on credit card bills with generic or official-sounding names, obscuring their origin.

The charges usually range from $29.95 to $49.95, ReasonLabs cofounder and chief technology officer Andrew Newman, told Insider. 

In addition to the adult dating sites, the fraudsters allegedly set up a network of functional customer support sites to service complaints and issue legitimate refunds. Newman said the scammers processed refunds in order to avoid raising alarm bells with legitimate credit card companies. 

He says he believes the scheme is operated from the middle of Europe …read more

Source:: Business Insider


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