Here's How Hackers Can Make the Most Money Off Stolen Credit Cards

Wealth management is all about reinvestment and diversification. You can't just sit on billions of stolen login credentials, or credit card numbers, and expect to magically build equity. Do you want to be pushing 70 and still haggling over zero-day exploits in some Czech darknet forum? Good. Now: Listen to the pros.

There are a lot of things one could purchase quickly with stolen credit card info that might grow wealth, but with so much speculation and volatility in the market these days, even seemingly sound investments can become risky. Here's how today's best hackers and cyber criminals nearly double their stolen credit card income: reinvesting in high-end Western electronics and luxury goods for resale in countries like Russia and Ukraine.

It sounds easy, but how do you ensure that your ill-gotten purchases aren't nabbed in transit by the increasingly savvy major shippers like FedEx and the U.S. Postal Service? According to this recent piece from Krebs on Security, you turn to "white label" shipping:

Many fraudsters use stolen credit cards to pay for U.S. Postal Service and FedEx shipping labels — a.k.a. "black labels" — but major shipping providers appear to be getting better at blocking or intercepting packages sent with stolen credit cards (at least according to anecdotal evidence from the cybercrime forums).

As a result, crooks increasingly are turning to a more reliable freight: So-called "white label" shipping services that are paid for with cybercrime-funded bank accounts via phony but seemingly legitimate companies in the United States.

Here's How Hackers Can Make the Most Money Off Stolen Credit Cards

Another benefit to "white label" services is simply their convenience. In the past, cyber criminals have had to locate and manage a stable of "mules"—recruiting them with those "earn $6,999 a day working from home!" spams—entrusting multiple strangers with the task of personally shipping the fenced goods. Even with all that work, there were still frustrating snags: sometimes, large shipping firms would start simply refusing to ship to nations that are well-known destinations for luxury items bought with stolen credit cards. Here's where the new crop of white label services really shine, with "reshipping" packages that pass their bulk-rate shipping discounts on to you:

Enter LabelCity, a "white label" service that advertises "corporate rates" for shipping Priority Mail International through the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) — rates that come in slightly below the rates that the USPS charges retail on its shipping calculator.

"Our service provides 100% guarantee on delivery of the goods. Return of funds to 30 days," the proprietor of LabelCity promises in an online advertisement. "We started doing white labels (i.e., cash disbursed-for)! Our labels are made automatically through the admin panel, and automatic replenishment! Our corporate rates will surprise you, minus 15-20% of the price of USPS!"

Services like LabelCity explain why reshipping operations remain among the most popular methods of cashing out many different forms of cybercrime: Buying luxury goods that can be resold overseas at a significant markup amplifies the fraudster's "profit."

A lot of hackers have resigned themselves to the idea that financial prosperity and retirement security are somehow distant extravagances, affordable only to well-connected oligarchs who enjoy easy access to mineral, petroleum, and natural gas land-use contracts and are friendly with former Soviet-intelligence officials.

But, that's just not the case anymore.

Work smarter, not harder, and start living your life of crime!

[image by author; h/t Krebs of Security]

To contact the author, email matthew.phelan@gawker.com, pgp public key.