Police break up New York fraud ring targeting Apple products

Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 2014
New York police announced on Friday that they have busted a massive crime network that used stolen credit card information to purchase Apple products and resell them overseas.



Reuters reports that 86 people are in custody, with a total of 111 people indicted, for participating in a New York-based international crime ring that has been described as "the largest identity fraud case in U.S. history." The complex network utilized a process of stealing credit cards numbers, printing counterfeit cards, purchasing Apple products or other high-value goods and then reselling them abroad.



"The schemes and the imagination of these thieves is mind-boggling," the report noted New York City Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly as saying at a press conference.



Officials identified more than 100 individuals allegedly connected to five criminal enterprises run out of Queens, New York during a two-year investigation codenamed "Operation Swiper."



According to the report, overseers received blank credit cards supplied by outfits in Russia, Libya Lebanon and China, then used "skimmers" who worked retail jobs in order to mine credit card numbers and personal information using special devices. The stolen credit card data could then be programmed onto the magnetic strips of the blank cards, while fake identification could be made to match the cards.



"Crew leaders" would then organize purchasing around the U.S., focusing specifically on Apple products. Finally, the goods were sent overseas to be resold.



"This is primarily an Apple case," said New York Police Department Deputy Inspector Gregory Antonsen. "Apple is a big ticket item and a very easy sell."



The report said "tens of thousands of dollars of Apple products, $850,000 worth of stolen computer equipment, $650,000 in cash, handguns and a truck full of electronics, designer shoes, watches, identity theft equipment and other goods" had been seized by police. Officials estimate that the crime ring stole over $13 million over a 16-month period.



The robust resale value of Apple's products, as well as, in some cases, their mobility, has for years made the company a prime target for theft and fraud. For instance, the company's retail stores have repeatedly fallen victim to smash-and-grab burglaries.



In addition to battling fraudulent purchases, Apple also has to combat counterfeit products. Chinese police recently arrested five suspects believed to be part of a sophisticated iPhone counterfeiting gang. The iPhone maker has also taken legal action against stores in New York that were selling counterfeit products and accessories.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 13
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    This seemed very impressive until I got down to "stole over $13 million over a 16-month period." When I compare it to the crooks on Wall Street this starts looking like petty theft.
  • Reply 2 of 13
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by solipsism View Post


    This seemed very impressive until I got down to "stole over $13 million over a 16-month period." When I compare it to the crooks on Wall Street this starts looking like petty theft.



    True, but the New York police aren't the ones who will investigate and arrest Wall Street. The FBI, SEC and others deal with that big dog.
  • Reply 3 of 13
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by mdriftmeyer View Post


    The FBI, SEC and others deal with that big dog.



    Be that that would be true!
  • Reply 4 of 13


    deleted

  • Reply 5 of 13
    Pay cash. Credit cards are the problem.



    Credit cards were supposed to get rid of the problems of handling cash instead they have brought in a raft of greater problems. Identity theft, debt, big brother surveillance and more.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by kellya74u View Post


    Technology exists today that would allow a video snapshot of every transaction, integrating the register, transaction info , method of payment & either a still pic of the customer or a 30 second video of the person signing the credit card receipt. Again, it would be a non-event unless there was later a problem, such as fraud using someone else's identity. The picture could then be scanned with facial recognition & placed into a crook database. That way, if someone used your name to purchase $8000 worth of Apple computers, iPad2's & iPhones at 3 different stores, the evidence collected could clear your name, & allow the bank to credit back your account, quickly. The system would be very valuable if the same crook used 3 different names. Better yet, if the instant the pic was taken, it would check the database to see if the customer is already wanted for committing fraudulent purchases, & would flash on the register screen, & alert security. My favorite stores already have me in their good customer database, know my phone #'s, etc. Just like a address-contact card in your computer, I wouldn't mind them having my picture on the record as well, which would prevent fraud on the spot.



    Those who would object to such a plan are already shopping at stores that have area cameras in them, including the Apple Stores. Everyone is paying higher prices for goods to make up for the huge dollar loss in theft/fraud outlined in the article. Many merchants are worried they will offend customers, so continue to make it easy for the crooks to do their thing. I would gladly have my picture taken if I could pay $100 less for a Mac Air, & it meant they could catch the bad guys before they run up a $13 million dollar tab. That doesn't count the hidden costs to society of the police investigation, court drama, incarceration & parole. They use to do this in the late 60's with grocery store checks, called Telecheck, where they took a pic of your check & ID with you, which helped to keep prices low by deterring theft/fraud.



  • Reply 6 of 13
    Quote:

    Officials identified more than 100 individuals allegedly connected to five criminal enterprises run out of Queens, New York during a two-year investigation codenamed "Operation Swiper."



    Swiper no swiping!



    (sorry)
  • Reply 7 of 13
    mstonemstone Posts: 11,510member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Beauty of Bath View Post


    Pay cash. Credit cards are the problem.



    Credit cards were supposed to get rid of the problems of handling cash instead they have brought in a raft of greater problems. Identity theft, debt, big brother surveillance and more.



    I can't really see myself traveling internationally with $10,000 in $20 bills. Paying for big ticket items in cash is not really that great either. Being seen pulling out your roll of cash to peel off bills is a good way to get mugged in today's society. Although I agree with your premise. I always try to use my debit card.
  • Reply 8 of 13
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by mstone View Post


    I can't really see myself traveling internationally with $10,000 in $20 bills. Paying for big ticket items in cash is not really that great either. Being seen pulling out your roll of cash to peel off bills is a good way to get mugged in today's society. Although I agree with your premise. I always try to use my debit card.



    Take hundred dollar bills instead.



    The only real advantage paying with credit cards is the extra 1-2 years of warranty.
  • Reply 9 of 13
    jragostajragosta Posts: 10,473member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by emulator View Post


    Take hundred dollar bills instead.



    The only real advantage paying with credit cards is the extra 1-2 years of warranty.



    And the ability to buy things without carrying wads of cash.



    And reduced risk of being beaten up and robbed



    And the convenience of not having to go to your bank to withdraw cash all the time
  • Reply 10 of 13
    rhowarthrhowarth Posts: 144member
    A "sophisticated" scheme? All they did was skim credit cards in a restaurant or somewhere, make a copy of the magnetic strip, and purchase some high value goods. Triviially easy to do in the USA. The only unusual thing was the size of the operation.



    The only thing that's amazing about the story is that USA still uses a simple magnetic strip and signature for verification, both of which are trivial easy to duplicate and forge. Most of the rest of the world have been using smartcards for at least 5 years (10 years if you're in France), which is infinitely more secure and has virtually eliminated point of sale fraud overnight.
  • Reply 11 of 13
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 30,837member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by solipsism View Post


    This seemed very impressive until I got down to "stole over $13 million over a 16-month period." When I compare it to the crooks on Wall Street this starts looking like petty theft.



    Here is a little recommended viewing. "Occupy Wall Street" needs a little help redirecting their ire.
  • Reply 12 of 13
    nasseraenasserae Posts: 3,153member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by emulator View Post


    Take hundred dollar bills instead.



    The only real advantage paying with credit cards is the extra 1-2 years of warranty.



    If someone steals your credit card or debit card you will not lose anything and you are not responsible for any purchases as long as you report it stolen. If someone steals your cash then it's gone. For the credit card holder there is the peace of mind of not worrying anything if your credit card is lost or stolen. This also applies to Visa debit cards.
  • Reply 13 of 13

    deleted

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