According to security researchers with McAfee, online hackers sell the log-in credentials for online banking accounts for a portion of the available balance.
For a United States bank with full log-in information, the account is sold for 2 percent of the total balance of money that is in the account. A European Union based account costs 4 to 6 percent of the balance.
Online money payment systems are also sold on cybercrime forums. The log-in details for accounts with PayPal or Moneybookers are sold for 6 to 20 percent of the balance that is in the account.
To launder cash through Western Union, hackers charge 10 percent of the amount to be transferred.
(More cybercrime and internet hacking prices here.)
Source (PDF): Raj Samani, Francois Paget, “Cybercrime Exposed: Cybercrime-as-a-service,” McAfee, White Paper, July 2013.
United States Federal investigators broke up a virtual kidnapping ring that was randomly targeting immigrants and telling them that loved ones were being held hostage.
The callers, based in Tijuana, Mexico, made up to 5,000 calls a day to numbers in the Washington DC area. That region was targeted due to its high number of Central American immigrants. The callers would tell the people that answered the phones that relatives were kidnapped, and that a ransom must be paid in order for the person to be released. The callers had no idea whether the victim actually had a loved one traveling, but simply played the odds that eventually someone will take the bait.
On average, the victims usually paid between $1,000 to $3,000. The money was sent to payment centers in San Diego and was then smuggled into Tijuana. Investigators state that this one group made at least $500,000 over six years.
In Latin America, cellphones are smuggled into prisons where prisoners are able to conduct these types of scams for their gang. Social media profiles are monitored in order to gain credible intelligence on their victims.
Couriers who pick up the money from payment centers are paid 10 percent of the ransom for their services.
(Potential earnings from black market activities.)
Source: Associated Press, “APNewsBreak: 4 Charged in ‘Virtual Kidnappings’,” ABC News, November 9, 2013.
On an average day in 2012, security agents in France seized $400,60 (€300,000) in cash that was being smuggled in order to avoid taxes. The amount seized in Franc in 2012 ws 50 percent higher than the amount of cash seized daily in 2011. In the first 3 months of 2013, customs agents in France seized $137 Million (€103 Million) in cash.
In Italy, $165 Million in bulk cash was seized at the country’s five main airports in 2012. In the first nine months of 2013, the security services of Italy were close to passing that figure for the year.
Between January and November 2013, Spanish enforcement agents seized $23 Million (€17.5) Million in cash.
The security services across the European Union state that the rise in cash smuggling seizures stems from the crackdown on tax evasion acticities. As countries such as Switzerland open up bank accounts to tax investigations, more people are attempting to move their assets by old-fashion means of trasnporting cash.
According to EU law, a traveler is allowed to carry up to €10,000 in cash.
Source: Doreen Carvajal and Raphael Minder, “European Borders Tested as Money Is Moved to Shield Wealth,” New York Times, November 3, 2013.
A report released by Human Rights Watch (HRW) states that the Indonesian government has lost over $7 Billion in revenue from 2007 to 2011 due to illegal logging activities and corruption.
In 2011 alone, the estimated lost revenue was over $2 Billion, which HRW stated is more than the government’s entire budget for the health department.
In an example of corruption in Indonesia, one policeman made nearly $1 Million by helping protect illegal loggers and fuel smugglers in the region.
Source: Berni Moestafa, “Forest Misuse Costs Indonesia $7 Billion in Revenue, Report Says,” Bloomberg, November 10, 2013.
In 2013, it was reported that the Mexican drug cartel Knights Templar was earning over $6 Million a month in various black market activities.
Based on intelligence agencies estimates, media organizations in Mexico stated that the cartel was earning $2.2 Million each month transporting illegal drugs. $1 Million was collected each month through extortion threats to local businesses, and another $1 Million raised from extorting local government officials. An addition $600,000 in illicit income was generated from car theft and kidnapping for ransom.
$1.3 Million in revenue was generated from legitimate businesses that the cartel operates. These businesses are also used as money laundering venues to launder the black market funds.
It should be noted that these funds are seperate from any profits that the drug cartel earns from illegal drugs sales in the United States.
Source: Charles Parkinson, “Mexico’s Knights Templar Earns $73 Mn Before US Drug Profits,” Insight Crime, November 8, 2013.
In the first six months of 2013, there were about 1.6 million identity theft victims in the United States who had their federal tax refunds stolen directly from the Internal Revenue Service. The number of victims in the first half of 2013 was more than the 1.2 million total taxpyers who had their refund stolen in all of 2012.
Although the number of total victims of ID theft is going up, the IRS reports that the amount stolen is decreasing. Based on the latest available data, the US governent lost $3.6 billion in fraudulent tax refunds in 2011, down from the $5.2 Billion in 2010.
According to an investigation, many of the stolen identifications are used in foreign countires to claim a person’s tax refund. One single addresss in Lithuania was found to have received more tax fillings than any address in the United States. The address in LIthuania received $220,489 in fraudulant IRS refunds using stolen identifites.
Source: Patrick Temple-West, “Tax refund ID theft is growing ‘epidemic’: U.S. IRS watchdog,” Reuters, November 7, 2013.
It was previously reported that up to 42,000 people were dying in Russia each year due to consuming counterfeit alcohol and other illegally made alcohol.
After increase monitoring and enforcement by Russian security services, the number of deaths dropped to around 12,000 in 2010.
In an example of the smuggling, one man stopped in 2013 had 800 bottles of counterfeit vodka and 220 bottles of counterfeit cognac in his truck.
Source: “Russian Tells Cops Huge Moonshine Trove For Personal Use,” RIA Novosti, November 7, 2013.
In a paper released by computer security company McAfee, a Visa Gold/Premier card with the pin included and a big balance available on the card is sold on internet black market forums for up to $250 in the European Union. In the United States, the price is $200.
On the lower end, a basic Visa Classic card without the pin number is sold for $15. A basic American Express card without the pin number is sold for $40, and increases to $50 for the Platinum card and $70 for the Gold.
(More cybercrime and online fraud prices here.)
Source: Robert Lemos, “Dark-Side Services Continue To Grow And Prosper,” Dark Reading, November 4, 2013.
Full paper (PDF): Raj Samani, Francois Paget, “Cybercrime Exposed: Cybercrime-as-a-service,” McAfee, White Paper, July 2013.
According to a study conducted by KPMG, 1,433 tonnes of illegal tobacco was smuggled into Australia in 2013, an increase of 154 percent from the previous year.
13.3 percent of all tobacco sales in Australia were of black market cigarettes.
With taxes and fees included, people in Australia pay nearly $20 Australian dollars for a pack of cigarettes. In the South East Asia region, where many of the cigarettes are smuggled from, the packs of tobacco can cost as low as $1.08 AUD.
It was previously reported that the Australian Government losses up to $2.1 Billion a year due to cigarette smuggling.
Source: Alan Howe, “Illicit tobacco funding gangs and increasing use,” News.Com.Au, November 3, 2013.
The Attorney General of Peru stated that $10 Billion in illicit funds was laundered in the country in 2012, double the estimated $5 Billion that was laundered in 2011. The money laundering activity that takes place in Peru accounts for 3.5 percent of the country’s GDP.
One new black market crime that is contributing to the funds is extortion. Gangs in a northern city collected over $900,000 in extortion fees between 2012 and 2013 from 14,000 taxi drivers. The funds were deposited into 150 different bank accounts.
According to Insight Crime, other major black market activities in Peru including drug trafficking, which generates up to $1.2 Billion a year, and illegal logging, a $500 Million industry.
Source: Marguerite Cawley, “Growth of Extortion a Major Concern for Peru: Official,” Insight Crime, October 31, 2013.