TUCSON, AZ – Authorities from Special financial Investigation recovered $28,000 in a criminal dark web phishing scam, funds stolen from a Tucson woman.
According to Mark Brnovich, the Attorney General in Arizona, his office committed to the fight against dark web cybercrimes and fraud currently is increasing the work involved.
“My Office organized a team of cybercrime professionals who joined hands with the Special Investigation Section (SIS) and the Financial Remedies Section in conducting the investigation leading to the recovery of $28,000 stolen from a woman in a dark web phishing scam,” said Mark Brnovich.
The Victim, a 72-year-old Tucson Woman, met the scammers on Facebook who promised to remove her name from the dark web where it had appeared for days. She paid $28,000 only to realize that she had been scammed.
Business in the dark web involves hacking and sale of illegal products and services, as well as, the sale of identity which is currently in demand. Unfortunately, cybercriminals on the dark web are adopting new methodologies and technologies, making it extremely difficult for law enforcers to trace them or determine the identities behind the dark web transactions. The identities are then used in phishing scams.
Using communication messages and bank records, the investigating team was able to track down the money and the bank account. The account is located in Ghana where the money was deposited. The investigating team was able to successfully recover the money which was given back to the victim. The criminals behind the scam are still being pursued.
“Just like in this case, civil forfeiture should be used as a critical strategic tool in recovering stolen funds from victims of cybercrime, fraud, and scams,” said the Attorney General.
With proper investigation and interagency collaboration, it is easier to often get victims of scams and fraud their money back quickly enough before the money is misused. The criminal case can then later be issued and prosecuted.
The demand for personal credentials such as medical data, Social Security numbers, names, home addresses, email addresses, phone numbers, ID numbers, usernames, Facebook accounts, and passwords are currently in highest demand on dark web marketplaces. Once on the dark web, the information is susceptible to misuse through fraud or impersonation which leads to mistaken identities in crime scenes, such as voter fraud, and social security fraud. Moreover, hacking and phishing became easier with such important information.
The question of how easy or difficult it is to retrieve leaked data from the dark web forms the basis of another trap of getting scammed by criminals who claim to be in a position to remove data from the dark web but only waiting to get paid. The task depends with the understanding one has in the technology involved and hence anybody who has mastered the SQL injection hacking technique can access data on the dark web. However, it is hard to remove the already leaked data since most transactions on the dark web marketplaces do not leave any digital footprint that can be traced.
Cybersecurity vigilance and awareness in today’s life is vital in handling cybercrimes and dark web phishing scams. Vulnerability to fraud and cyber attacks can be minimized by small but critical cyber practices such as avoiding reusing passwords, keeping backups of important data and using two-factor authentication. Organization and institutions can additionally perform security assessments regularly.