Monday, March 30, 2009

Romanian Phisher Sentenced to 50 Months in U.S. Prison

David Kravets writes on Threat Level:

The first foreigner convicted of phishing in the United States was sentenced to 50 months in federal prison Monday.

Defendant Ovidiu-Ionut Nicola-Roman is a Romanian citizen arrested two years ago in Bulgaria and extradited to the United States. Nicola-Roman, who pleaded guilty last year to one count of U.S. computer access fraud, was part of an overseas phishing group the authorities said was responsible for ripping off more than $1 million from Americans.

The 2005 to 2007 plot was simple: send unsolicited e-mails posing as various banks. The messages informed e-mail recipients there was a security problem with their account. The e-mails requested recipients to forward credit card information, dates of birth, Social Security numbers, phone numbers and PIN numbers. Hundreds responded, leading the group to reproduce credit cards and ATM cards.

While those with a minimal level of online sophistication understand the perils of phishing and can recognize when they are a target, the general populace does not. Gartner estimates that, in 2007, about $3.2 billion was stolen via phishing in the United States alone.

More here.


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