Tracking Credit Card Thieves

from the go-get-'em dept

MSNBC has an article about some guy who put up a page of faked stolen credit cards and then passed the URL on in chat rooms frequented by credit card thieves. He then proceeded to record all of the IP addresses of anyone who visited the site – which he hopes will be useful in tracking these people down. While I have nothing against tracking down credit card thieves, I didn’t realize it was illegal to even look at pages that have credit card numbers on them. Just because someone went to the page, it doesn’t mean they’re necessarily a credit card thief.

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Comments on “Tracking Credit Card Thieves”

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Bill says:

Not sure I see the issue

You’re saying that it’s not a crime to simply look at the numbers and I agree with you but if you work in law enforcement, do you think it more or less likely that someone who found and checked out that page is going to commit credit card fraud in the future? If you answered correctly, more likely, then would it not make sense to at least keep those people under a more watchful eye? It’s not saying that they’re arresting anybody, just that the information is being turned over to law enforcement which is perfectly within the rights of the site owner as long as he didn’t violate any privacy agreement. This happens all of the time in the offline world. Locksmith’s report people who attempt to buy locksmithing tools if they feel concerned that the person isn’t quite on the up and up. Neighbors call the police when they see someone sitting outside a house looking like they might be casing it for a future robbery. Casing and trying to purchase locksmithing tools are not illegal but the behavior is suspicious and in many cases is enough to warrant a visit from law enforcement to “clarify” your actions. The hope is that simply knowing that the law is watching you with a more careful eye, you will be less likely to commit an illegal act.
In terms of the previous reply by wklink, I think that IP tracking is getting better and better. There are several companies who have been mapping IP addresses for several years now. They use IP addresses to determine geographic orgin of the person. For instance, if I run an ecommerce site and I only sell in the US, and you’re coming in from an IP address that’s registered to an ISP in the Ukraine, then I may require you to call in and confirm your order and provide me with a viable reason why you’re placing an order using a Ukraine ISP. It’s my right not to do business if I feel that I won’t receive payment so many merchants are now implementing procedures similar to what I’ve described as a way to circumvent fraud losses. While it will never be defacto proof it can be used in conjunction with other evidence to build a case.

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