From 2001 to 2004 I was an identity thief and carder (credit card fraud). I primarily used hacked credit cards to buy goods that I’d resell for massive profits.
I started by selling fake IDs at college. I dropped out because I hated school and was making too much money to stay. I built up a small network of resellers at my school and others. When I found carding one of my resellers took over my ID business. Later he worked for me with the fraud stuff, eventually leading to my capture (more about that later). By the end I was printing my own credit cards and using them at retail stores to buy laptops, gift cards, etc which I resold on eBay.
I did a lot of other related crime too. I hacked a number of sites for their credit card databases. I sold my fake IDs and credit cards online. I was very active in carding / fraud forums, such as ShadowCrew (site taken down by Operation Firewall). I was working on getting into ATM skimming when I was caught. I had bought some electronics kits with the intention of buying an ATM and rigging it to capture data.
I was caught in December 2004. I had gone to a Best Buy with the associate mentioned above to buy a laptop. The manager figured out something was up. Had I been alone I would have talked my way out but my “friend” wasn’t a good social engineer like I was. He was sweating, shifting around, generally doing everything you shouldn’t do in that situation. Eventually the manager walked to the front of the store with the fake credit card and ID, leaving us behind. We booked it. The police ended up running his photo on the cable news network, someone turned him in and he turned me in.
After getting caught I worked with the secret service for 2 years. I was the biggest bust they had seen in western NY and they wanted to do an op investigating the online underground. They knew almost nothing. I taught them how the online underground economy worked, techniques to investigate / track / find targets, “hacker” terminology, etc.
I ended up getting time served (~2 weeks while waiting for bail), 3 years probation, and $210k restitution.
My website has some links to interviews and talks I’ve done. I do all my interviews and conference talks for free to help make up for what I did.
Go ahead, AMA. I’ve yet to find an on topic question I wouldn’t answer.
Watch The Lookout on ABC tonight, 10pm ET, to see an interview with me about skimming.
I will be answering questions off and on until midnight.
EDIT: Thanks for the questions, time for bed.