By Allan Lengel
Fourteen Romanian citizens apparently banked on the gullibility of mankind.
Federal authorities in Connecticut last week announced charges against the 14 for allegedly getting personal information from people on the Internet through a scheme known as “phishing.”
The indictment includes allegations that one or more of the defendants in June 2005 sent a spam e-mail to people, including a resident of Madison, Conn., which purported to be from Connecticut-based People’s Bank, authorities said in a press release.
“The e-mail stated that the recipient’s online banking access profile had been locked and instructed recipients to click on a link to a web page where they could enter information to ‘unlock,” the U.S. Attorney’s Office wrote.
Authorities said the web page looked as if it was from People’s Bank. In reality, it was hosted on a compromised computer unrelated to People’s Bank.
Authorities alleged that the defendants shared thousands of e-mail messages that contained credit or debit card numbers, expiration dates, CVV codes, PIN numbers, and other personal identification information such as names, addresses, telephone numbers, dates of birth and Social Security numbers.
The defendants then allegedly used the information to access bank accounts and lines of credit to withdraw funds without authorization, often from ATMs in Romania.
In addition to People’s Bank, authorities said the group targeted financial institutions and companies including: Citibank, Capital One, Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase & Co., Comerica Bank, Regions Bank, LaSalle Bank, U.S. Bank, Wells Fargo & Co., eBay and PayPal.
Charged in the indictment are CIPRIAN DUMITRU TUDOR, MIHAI CRISTIAN DUMITRU, BOGDAN BOCEANU, BOGDAN-MIRCEA STOICA, OCTAVIAN FUDULU, IULIAN SCHIOPU, RAZVAN LEOPOLD SCHIBA, DRAGOS RAZVAN DAVIDESCU, ANDREI BOLOVAN, LAURENTIU CRISTIAN BUSCA, GABRIEL SAIN, DRAGOS NICOLAE DRAGHICI, STEFAN SORIN ILINCA and MIHAI ALEXANDRU DIDU, all residents of Romania.