Another Identity Theft Ring Busted

Identity Theft Expert Robert Siciliano

The feds are getting better at busting criminals every day. Seventeen criminals, many from Eastern Europe, pilfered more than 95,000 stolen credit card numbers and $4 million worth of fraudulent transactions.

The New York Times reports the men were involved in a vast conspiracy known as the Western Express Cybercrime Group, which trafficked in stolen credit card information through the Internet and used it to create forged credit cards and to sell goods on eBay. They used digital currencies like e-gold and Webmoney to launder their proceeds.

Several of the scammers — Viatcheslav Vasilyev, Vladimir Kramarenko, Egor Shevelev, Dzimitry Burak and Oleg Kovelin — were charged with corruption. Vasilyev, 33, and Kramarenko, 31, were arrested at their homes in Prague, have been extradited to Manhattan. Shevelev, 23, was arrested in Greece last year, is still awaiting extradition. Burak, 26, a citizen of Belarus and Kovelin, 28, a citizen of Moldova have not been arrested

Vasilyev and Kramarenko recruited work from home employees to advertise and sell electronics on eBay. When someone would purchase an item, the two men would pocket the buyer’s payment, give a cut to their recruit, then use a stolen credit card number to purchase the item from a retail store and send it to the buyer. In essence, they used eBay to obtain a legitimate buyer’s credit card number through a legitimate channel and didn’t actually “hack” anything. They simply set up pseudo-fake auctions that, in most cases, delivered the product, but also obtained the victim’s credit card number and then made fraudulent charges.

Burak and Shevelev were “carders” who sold stolen credit card information on a website called Dumpsmarket and, probably, in chat rooms. “Dumps” is a criminal term for stolen credit cards and “carders” are the scammers who buy and sell them. Kovelin was a criminal hacker who stole victims’ financial information via phishing emails and more than likely used the victims’ own account information against them.

Protect yourself:

  1. Check your credit card statements often, especially after using an online auction site. Refute unauthorized charged within 60 days to be made whole by the issuing bank.
  2. Don’t just buy the lowest priced product on and auction site. Use auction sellers who have been approved my many and have a solid track record.
  3. Anytime you ever receive an email asking for personal information, credit information, banking etc, do not enter it. Just hit delete. Often victims will receive and email from a trusted source like eBay directly to their account because they have been actively engaging the fraudulent auctioneer. eBays system doesn’t recommend giving your credit card information outside their network in an email.
  4. Get a credit freeze. Go to and follow the steps for your particular state. This is an absolutely necessary tool to secure your credit. In most cases, it prevents new accounts from being opened in your name. This makes your Social Security number useless to a potential identity thief.
  5. Invest in Intelius identity theft protection and prevention. Not all forms of identity theft protection can be prevented, but identity theft protection services can dramatically reduce your risk.

Identity Theft Speaker Robert Siciliano discusses a study done by McAfee on mules bilked in work-at-home scams on Fox News

Identity Theft: Research May Support Decisions to Create Computer Security Alert System in Europe—Identity Theft Expert and Speaker on Personal Security

(BOSTON, Mass. – June 8, 2007 – News reports have indicated that a group of countries in the European Union made major strides in finalizing an alert system for business computer security. Robert Siciliano, a widely televised and quoted personal security and identity theft expert, welcomed the development as he pointed to a London-based computer security company’s research, which revealed that mobile employees, especially, display risky behaviors in their computer use.

“It may be that those who take computer risks with their employers’ equipment adopt an ‘it-can’t-happen-to-me’ attitude,” said Siciliano. “Or, they may simply believe it isn’t their responsibility. And when computer security risks remain abstract, these attitudes are easy to have. The solution might be to add third-party alerts that drive home the notion of individual responsibility.”

CEO of and a member of the Bank Fraud & IT Security Report’s editorial board, Siciliano leads Fortune 500 companies and their clients in workshops that explore consumer education solutions for security issues. A longtime identity theft speaker and author of “The Safety Minute: 01,” he has discussed data security and consumer protection on CNBC, on NBC’s “Today Show,” FOX News, and elsewhere.

As reported by InfoWorld on June 5, a group of 27 countries in the European Union have moved closer to forming a European Information Sharing and Alert System (EISAS). The EISAS will include means to notify small and medium-size businesses of IT security threats. According to the article, input from the countries’ delegates at the European Network and Information Security Agency (ENISA) conference this past week will become part of a related, final feasibility study to be published later in June.

“Computer security faces many hurdles,” said Siciliano. “One is the method by which computer users in business learn of threats. In many places, it seems like the news media function as the main channel for alerts—alerts that often come after much damage has already occurred. It’s a reactive system. Uniformity of response, like what the ENISA is working on, takes us a many steps closer to true, proactive response.”

Also on June 5, London-based SurfControl PLC, an Internet security company, posted a press release to announce findings of the firm’s new “Trust & Risk in the Workplace Study.” The report, which explored attitudes toward and behaviors surrounding computer security in the workplace, demonstrated that employees in all regions take security risks, and that mobile users take more risks than desktop users.

For instance, SurfControl’s study found that laptop users took more risks than their deskbound colleagues, and that some laptop users accessed the Internet through potentially insecure network. Risky activities included the use of USB keys and instant messaging, the downloading of music, and the sending of confidential information via email, and two thirds of the sample indicated that they would blame their employers if confidential data were stolen from their work computers.

“Even in business situations, with mobility comes the illusion of less need for security,” said Siciliano. “The exact opposite is the need. With a global alert system, a mobile employee who might otherwise feel free from needing the protection of his employer’s internal firewalls will receive those constant, third-party reminders that will prompt him remain vigilant and to exercise care.”

Readers may view a video of Siciliano at VideoJug, where he discusses identity theft and the security implications of laptop computer use in business.


Identity theft affects us all. Robert Siciliano, CEO of and member of the Bank Fraud & IT Security Report’s editorial board, makes it his mission to provide consumer education solutions on identity theft to Fortune 500 companies and their clients.

A leader of personal safety and security seminars nationwide, Siciliano has been featured on CNN, MSNBC, CNBC, “FOX News,” NBC’s “Today Show,” “The Suze Orman Show,” “The Montel Williams Show,” “Maury Povich,” “Sally Jesse Raphael,” “The Howard Stern Show,” and “Inside Edition.” The Privacy Learning Institute features him on its Website. Numerous magazines, print news outlets, and wire services have turned to him, as well, for expert commentary on personal security and identity theft. These include Entrepreneur, Woman’s Day, Mademoiselle, Good Housekeeping, The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Washington Times, The Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, United Press International, Reuters, and others.

Visit Siciliano’s Web site,; blog,; and YouTube page,

The media are encouraged to get in touch with Siciliano directly:

Robert Siciliano
Personal Security Expert
CEO of
PHONE: 888-SICILIANO (742-4542)
FAX: 877-2-FAX-NOW (232-9669)

The media may also contact:

Brent W. Skinner
President & CEO of STETrevisions
PHONE: 617-875-4859
FAX: 866-663-6557