UK and US Authorities Shut Down 36 Black Market Websites

An ongoing investigation conducted by the UK’s Serious Organized Crime Agency (SOCA), working with the FBI and the U.S. Department of Justice, resulted in the arrest of multiple fraudsters and the closure of thirty-six web domains used to sell compromised card and payment account data.


Fraudsters have turned to the online black market for buying and selling large dumps of data for many years, but more recently fraudsters have increased the use of eCommerce platforms for selling stolen credit card and bank account data. Thirty-six domains seized by authorities in late April used eCommerce platforms know as Automated Vending Carts (AVCs) which enabled the efficient sale of large loads of data. The SOCA investigation led to the arrest of two fraudsters buying dumps of stolen data as well as an AVC operator based in Macedonia.


Websites such as CVVPlaza.com, ccstore.biz, freshcc.org and thirty-three others were shut down as the result of the SOCA investigation into fraudsters using AVCs to sell large quantities of identity and payment account information. Likely acquired through data breaches and malware, large quantities of credit card information, bank account numbers, Social Security numbers and other identity information are sold in bulk. Working with federal and law enforcement agencies of other countries, such as the U.S., Australia, Macedonia, Germany and the Netherlands, the UK’s SOCA has been able to go after people and servers hosting such black market sites. SOCA estimates that over the past two years they have recovered 2.5 million pieces of compromised data which they estimate may have prevented £500 million in international fraud.


The head of cyber operations for SOCA said that the recent takedown of online black market domains “is an example of the level of international cooperation being focused on tackling online fraud.” International cooperation is a key component in mitigating the global issue of credit card, bank account and identity fraud and is a trend we hope to see continue.


For more information: SOCA shuts 36 credit card fraud sites