According to several sources, US officials have raided a house in Minnesota of two exchange students suspected of card-based fraud, along with conning millions of dollars from retailers on sites like eBay and PayPal. The students are supposedly part of a Vietnam-based crime ring.
According to an affidavit filed supporting a search warrant request, Winona State University students Tram Vo and Khoi Van are suspected of participation in the scam that has hit Amazon, Apple and Rosetta Stone among others.
Both Tram Vo and Khoi Van are thought to have set up over 180 eBay, and over 360 PayPal accounts using stolen identities, which they would utilize to sell stolen goods like video games and iTunes gift cards. The pair are suspected to have raised $1.2 million through their endeavours.
Including those affected were online merchants including PayPal, Amazon, Apple, Dell, Verizon Wireless and translation software firm Rosetta Stone.
The accusations are part of a larger investigation, Operation eMule, by the DHS into cybercrime scams masterminded from Vietnam. The operation began in September 2009 to investigate online commerce and express mail courier operations, according to the Minnesota's Star Tribune. Investigators estimate that the rings contribute "hundreds of millions of dollars" to an underground economy in Vietnam, according to the affidavit.
The affidavit, filed by Daniel Schwarz, an agent with Homeland Security Investigations in Minnesota, also said in his affidavit that the rings involve an "elaborate network" of specialists, including computer hackers, vendors of stolen identities and financial information, fraud managers and facilitators, money mules and shippers.
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