January 26, 2006 6:55 PM PST

Feds arrest alleged Internet ID thief

A California man who allegedly duped America Online customers into disclosing their credit card information over the Web was arrested Thursday on wire fraud and other charges.

According to the charges, Jeffrey Brett Goodin of Azusa, Calif., used the fraudulently obtained information to make unauthorized charges using the credit and debit cards of his victims. He allegedly tricked his victims, all of whom were America Online subscribers, by sending e-mails urging them to "update" their AOL billing information or lose their service--a scam known as phishing.

As is typical with such schemes, the e-mails allegedly sent by Goodin appeared to have come from AOL's billing department, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office in Los Angeles that announced the arrest. The e-mails, which were sent by the thousands, directed recipients to phony Web sites operated by the sender, and prompted potential victims to enter personal information, including credit card and debit card numbers.

"Clearly, AOL is pleased by today's action," Nicholas Graham, AOL spokesman, said in a statement. "We worked cooperatively with law enforcement on this case as part of our successful ongoing efforts to crack down on phishing and identity theft."

Goodin, 45, is charged with wire fraud and the unauthorized use of an access device--in this case, a credit card. If convicted of both offenses, he faces a maximum penalty of 30 years in federal prison. The FBI, the Secret Service and police in Ontario, Calif., all helped investigate the case.

Phishers, who lure victims by posing as legitimate companies, have become a major scourge of the Internet along with spam, viruses and spyware. A recent study showed that online fraudsters launched a record number of phishing scams last year, with nearly 17,000 unique e-mail-based fraud attacks detected in November alone, according to the Anti-Phishing Working Group. Roughly one in four U.S. Internet users is a target of a phishing scam, according to another recent study.

The perpetrators are hard to catch, but efforts to bust them have intensified lately. Aided by Microsoft, Bulgarian police nabbed eight people last week who allegedly targeted MSN customers in an international phishing operation.

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24 comments

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Victims getting what they deserve
Ignorance of "this new digital age" is no excuse for being an absolute idiot. If someone came up to one of these victims on the street and said "The sky is going to fall if you don't tell 10 other people that it will happen and then they tell 10 more and so on and so on" the victim would look up, say "No its not" and go about their business. But, when the same information gets to them by email, they comply like mindless goons! Like getting the information via email makes it any more credible. There are so many signs that these things are fraudulent. Look at the links you are given to "update your information". Most of the time, they are nothing more than IP addresses. Others actually use the name of a real financial institution in the URL but look closer and its bogus. For example, I just got an email from "Chase" bank and it said that I needed to update my information. When I hovered over the link to update my info, it actually had a URL with chase in the URL but a bunch of other crap that made it obvious it was bogus. Not to mention, dear little brains (thats what smart people call you behind your back), FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS DO NOT ASK YOU TO UPDATE YOUR INFORMATION VIA EMAIL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! NO REPUTABLE COMPANY DOES!!!!!!!!!!!!! Learn it, live it, keep your money. Don't, and you get what you deserve.
Posted by thenet411 (415 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Are you kidding?
You can't blame any one except for the phishers. The internet is here to serves the customers, and not the customers to serve the internet. Average web users can't distinguish what is real or fake, especially, when the scam emails and websites look similar to the original.

If the government promotes that any one can use internet, then the "any one" web users shouldn't be the victims of internet crimes.
Posted by tony_z (32 comments )
Link Flag
What a load of crap
You assume that everyone who uses the Internet is a tower of
intellect, as in the way you portray yourself. Unfortunately, there
are many people who know little, if anything, about networking
and URL mysteries.

Maybe, instead of blaming the victims of Internet scams for
being for being idiots, you should use your towering intellect to
devise a solution.

Sadly, people who blame victims of crimes for their misfortune
are never there when it comes time to devise solutions. Given
you mentality, if you get hit by a car while walking across the
street, in the crosswalk, it is your fault because you should have
known that the driver of the car that hit you was incompetent.
Posted by Johnet123 (12 comments )
Link Flag
Bring back the pillory!
For the most part AOL'ers are not the most technically adroit of computer users, or they would not be with AOL in the first place. So to blame them for their ignorance is really quite elitist and arrogant.

This is akin to the seniors who are constantly being swindled by high pressure con artists. To take advantage of the weakest is truly despicable but then to blame them for being trusting is unconscionable.

I am not a violent person but this type of thing makes me see red. If ever there was a reason to have a good old public caning this (and other types predatory behavior) is it.

Harsh Huh?
Posted by Mister C (423 comments )
Link Flag
Victims getting what they deserve
Ignorance of "this new digital age" is no excuse for being an absolute idiot. If someone came up to one of these victims on the street and said "The sky is going to fall if you don't tell 10 other people that it will happen and then they tell 10 more and so on and so on" the victim would look up, say "No its not" and go about their business. But, when the same information gets to them by email, they comply like mindless goons! Like getting the information via email makes it any more credible. There are so many signs that these things are fraudulent. Look at the links you are given to "update your information". Most of the time, they are nothing more than IP addresses. Others actually use the name of a real financial institution in the URL but look closer and its bogus. For example, I just got an email from "Chase" bank and it said that I needed to update my information. When I hovered over the link to update my info, it actually had a URL with chase in the URL but a bunch of other crap that made it obvious it was bogus. Not to mention, dear little brains (thats what smart people call you behind your back), FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS DO NOT ASK YOU TO UPDATE YOUR INFORMATION VIA EMAIL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! NO REPUTABLE COMPANY DOES!!!!!!!!!!!!! Learn it, live it, keep your money. Don't, and you get what you deserve.
Posted by thenet411 (415 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Are you kidding?
You can't blame any one except for the phishers. The internet is here to serves the customers, and not the customers to serve the internet. Average web users can't distinguish what is real or fake, especially, when the scam emails and websites look similar to the original.

If the government promotes that any one can use internet, then the "any one" web users shouldn't be the victims of internet crimes.
Posted by tony_z (32 comments )
Link Flag
What a load of crap
You assume that everyone who uses the Internet is a tower of
intellect, as in the way you portray yourself. Unfortunately, there
are many people who know little, if anything, about networking
and URL mysteries.

Maybe, instead of blaming the victims of Internet scams for
being for being idiots, you should use your towering intellect to
devise a solution.

Sadly, people who blame victims of crimes for their misfortune
are never there when it comes time to devise solutions. Given
you mentality, if you get hit by a car while walking across the
street, in the crosswalk, it is your fault because you should have
known that the driver of the car that hit you was incompetent.
Posted by Johnet123 (12 comments )
Link Flag
Bring back the pillory!
For the most part AOL'ers are not the most technically adroit of computer users, or they would not be with AOL in the first place. So to blame them for their ignorance is really quite elitist and arrogant.

This is akin to the seniors who are constantly being swindled by high pressure con artists. To take advantage of the weakest is truly despicable but then to blame them for being trusting is unconscionable.

I am not a violent person but this type of thing makes me see red. If ever there was a reason to have a good old public caning this (and other types predatory behavior) is it.

Harsh Huh?
Posted by Mister C (423 comments )
Link Flag
Internet ID Thief
I'm glad someone is doing something about this problem. They almost got me over a year ago when I received an official looking ebay email asking for information. I got to the point of filling up and entering all sensitive information but before I sent it I had a nagging suspicion that I shouldn't be doing this. I can't really blame some of the people who fall prey to these scammers because not everyone is as savvy or quick to realize that there is something wrong. Although I hate chain emails, I wish someone would send one of them about "phishing" so a lot of people would be more aware of this problem.
Posted by JayPee43 (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Internet ID Thief
I'm glad someone is doing something about this problem. They almost got me over a year ago when I received an official looking ebay email asking for information. I got to the point of filling up and entering all sensitive information but before I sent it I had a nagging suspicion that I shouldn't be doing this. I can't really blame some of the people who fall prey to these scammers because not everyone is as savvy or quick to realize that there is something wrong. Although I hate chain emails, I wish someone would send one of them about "phishing" so a lot of people would be more aware of this problem.
Posted by JayPee43 (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
How dumb?
First of all if people get emails requesting their credit card information they should never fill it out. If AOL or EBAY email you about billing information, they will direct you to their official websites. DO NOT ENTER CREDIT CARD INFORMATION IN AN EMAIL, THAT IS STUPID. Go to aol.com or ebay.com and go to the billing station site.
Posted by ssovine (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
How dumb?
First of all if people get emails requesting their credit card information they should never fill it out. If AOL or EBAY email you about billing information, they will direct you to their official websites. DO NOT ENTER CREDIT CARD INFORMATION IN AN EMAIL, THAT IS STUPID. Go to aol.com or ebay.com and go to the billing station site.
Posted by ssovine (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
agreed
I totally agree with your sentiment.

I know many of them use known loopholes in IE security to even spoof the URL.

The scams prey on people with a good, trusting nature, the ones that want to pay their bills on time and not have their services cut off.

To blame the victims of phishing scams instead of the scammers themselves and is no better than blaming a robbery victim instead of the robber.

The bottom line is: these guys are criminals, and they should be punished appropriately for their crimes.
Posted by jamesmadison909 (3 comments )
Reply Link Flag
agreed
I totally agree with your sentiment.

I know many of them use known loopholes in IE security to even spoof the URL.

The scams prey on people with a good, trusting nature, the ones that want to pay their bills on time and not have their services cut off.

To blame the victims of phishing scams instead of the scammers themselves and is no better than blaming a robbery victim instead of the robber.

The bottom line is: these guys are criminals, and they should be punished appropriately for their crimes.
Posted by jamesmadison909 (3 comments )
Reply Link Flag
feds arrest internet id thief
America Online is constantly warning us about giving out our billing information. I cannot believe that any America Online subscriber would be so stupid to do so.
Posted by Sye230 (8 comments )
Reply Link Flag
feds arrest internet id thief
America Online is constantly warning us about giving out our billing information. I cannot believe that any America Online subscriber would be so stupid to do so.
Posted by Sye230 (8 comments )
Reply Link Flag
feds arrest internet id thief
America Online is constantly warning us about giving out our billing information. I cannot believe that any America Online subscriber would be so stupid to do so.
Posted by Sye230 (8 comments )
Reply Link Flag
feds arrest internet id thief
America Online is constantly warning us about giving out our billing information. I cannot believe that any America Online subscriber would be so stupid to do so.
Posted by Sye230 (8 comments )
Reply Link Flag
feds arrest internet id thief
America Online is constantly warning us about giving out our billing information. I cannot believe that any America Online subscriber would be so stupid to do so.
Posted by Sye230 (8 comments )
Reply Link Flag
feds arrest internet id thief
America Online is constantly warning us about giving out our billing information. I cannot believe that any America Online subscriber would be so stupid to do so.
Posted by Sye230 (8 comments )
Reply Link Flag
feds arrest internet id thief
America Online is constantly warning us about giving out our billing information. I cannot believe that any America Online subscriber would be so stupid to do so.
Posted by Sye230 (8 comments )
Reply Link Flag
feds arrest internet id thief
America Online is constantly warning us about giving out our billing information. I cannot believe that any America Online subscriber would be so stupid to do so.
Posted by Sye230 (8 comments )
Reply Link Flag
 

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