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Are Criminals Using YouTube to Sell Stolen Credit Cards?

Digital Citizens Alliance

A new Digital Citizens Alliance investigation has found that rogue operators are selling credit cards, bank logins, and social security numbers on popular websites such as YouTube. Digital Citizens Alliance made this announcement today, June 17.

The Digital Citizens report, entitled, “Breach of Trust: How the Online Market for Stolen and Bogus Credit Cards is Eroding Confidence in the Internet,” found dozens of videos promoting the sale of either stolen or fraudulent credit cards.

And it says in one instance after making contact with a rogue operator it taped a conversation in which the dealer offered to sell hundreds of stolen credit cards, a machine to make new credit cards, and a how-to manual on scams.

The report comes as new polling by Digital Citizens shows that consumers are increasingly hesitant to give credit card information online in light of the recent breaches of retailers’ customer records.

[ Also Read: Digital Citizens Alliance Reports Illegal Activities on YouTube ]

Digital Citizens found videos offering credit cards for as little as $7 a card. Just as startling, it found advertisements next to these videos from major corporations.

In what has to be an awful irony, Digital Citizens found ads for MasterCard and the Discover Card next to videos hawking stolen credit cards, according to the report.

It found a YouTube video offering credit cards for sale accompanied by an ad for the retailing giant Target, the subject of a massive hacking scam that took millions of credit cards from Target’s severs and put them onto the open market.

It is highly doubtful that MasterCard, Discover Card or Target were aware that their advertising was being posted next to videos selling stolen credit cards.

[ Also Read: Moms Demand Action to End Gun Sales on Facebook ]

“The sad takeaway from the report is that YouTube continues to be used by rogue operators to conduct criminal acts, and not only does Google allow it to continue, but they profit from it by selling ads,” said Tom Galvin, executive director of Digital Citizens. “We’d expect this on Silk Road or other dark corners of the Internet, but not by Google.”

The investigation found YouTube is a popular place for those selling credit cards or scamming unwitting consumers with fake deals.

Digital Citizens says it found thousands of results when searching for terms – like “how to get credit card numbers that work 2014” – that could lead researchers to credit card sellers.

Videos found during these searches led Digital Citizens to direct contact with sellers, who offered explanations on how to use the cards most effectively and to even make fraudulent cards.

One vendor agreed to talk over the phone and offered tips on how to get around retailers fraud alerts. Digital Citizens claims it taped that call, which can be heard on the organization’s website.

The report also contains new polling results done for Digital Citizens by Zogby Analytics. Almost half (48 percent) of those surveyed said that credit card theft or fraud have made them more reluctant to make an online purchase. In addition, 37 percent said their credit card has been stolen or compromised.

“If you know the search terms, you pull up enough pages to find a small community of criminals selling credits and offering comments on the quality of their services,” said Galvin. “If we want the Internet to continue to flourish with consumer confidence, we need as a community to address this important issue.”

Digital Citizens has taken dozens of screen shots of YouTube videos selling credit card. As it’s done in the past, it says, Google will certainly scrub YouTube of these videos while declaring there is no problem. That is what Google has done after previous news stories reporting Digital Citizens’ research on YouTube and criminal activity on the site’s pages has been released.

“We need Google to start to treat this as an Internet safety issue, and find a more permanent solution, as opposed to treating it as a PR problem and scrubbing the video simply to avoid criticism,” said Galvin.

The Digital Citizens Alliance is a nonprofit organization focused on educating the public and policymakers on the threats that consumers face on the Internet and the importance for Internet stakeholders—individuals, government, and industry—to make the Web a safer place.

Based in Washington, DC, the Digital Citizens Alliance counts among its supporters: private citizens, the health, pharmaceutical and creative industries as well as online safety experts and other communities focused on Internet safety.

Photo courtesy: Digital Citizens Alliance

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