In what may be the crime of the century cells of people called ‘cashiers’ used prepaid cards with limits removed to empty ATMs around the world in just hours of more than 45 million dollars.
The good news is that the stolen money did not belong to individual accounts so no one who has a prepaid card has to worry. It was stolen from two middle Eastern banks, Rakbank and Muscat Bank, both banks racked in millions in net profit in 2012. The demographic that uses prepaid bank cards, poor people, includes trans folk who suffer incredible job discrimination.
Here’s how it worked according to the associated press:
“Hackers got into bank databases, eliminated withdrawal limits on pre-paid debit cards and created access codes. Others loaded that data onto any plastic card with a magnetic stripe — an old hotel key card or an expired credit card worked fine as long as it carried the account data and correct access codes.”
Source USA Today “After penetrating the processor’s computer network, the hackers fraudulently manipulated the balances and withdrawal limits on Rakbank prepaid debit card accounts. Then, teams of so-called cashers allegedly launched carefully timed attacks that caused more than $5 million in criminal losses from more than 4,500 ATMs in about 20 countries.”
“In just two hours and 25 minutes, the thieves allegedly conducted 750 fraudulent transactions that withdrew nearly $400,000 from approximately 140 New York City ATM locations, according to prosecutors and the indictment.”
“The alleged second unlimited operation unfolded between the afternoon of Feb. 19 and the pre-dawn hours of the following day. This time, the gang’s hackers allegedly compromised computers of the processor of prepaid debit cards for the Bank of Muscat, located in Oman.”
“In approximately 10 hours, casher cells in 24 countries conducted approximately 36,000 ATM transactions worldwide, withdrawing an estimated $40 million, the indictment charged. The haul included $2.4 million withdrawn by the alleged New York crew.”
Modern day Robin Hoods? Not. But at least they didn’t steal from the poor. They stole from the filthy rich.