Fraudsters test credit cards with charity donations

Cyber criminals are using stolen credit cards to donate to charity, according to research by an anti-virus company.

Yazan Gable, a researcher with Symantec's Security Response Team said that far from hackers suddenly becoming modern-day Robin Hoods, the scammers are sending their victim's money to charities in order to verify the card numbers are valid.

Gable came across this activity when monitoring IRC channels set up on the internet by scammers to discuss stolen credit cards.

"Carders attempting to verify that a stolen credit card is legitimate and active have begun donating money to charity," said Gable. "By attempting to pay small amounts of money to various charities, including well known charities such as the Red Cross, carders can determine if a stolen credit card is valid depending on the success or failure of the transaction."

Gable predicted that this new technique of credit card validation will continue to proliferate. The researcher said that there were a number of reasons behind the move.

"For instance, bank behaviour monitors may be less likely to pick up on donations to charities," said Gable. "Legitimate charitable donations are not daily transactions for anyone with a credit card, and so it would be difficult to determine if they are out of the norm."

IT PRO contacted the British Red Cross for a statement but it was unable to make any comments at the time of writing.

Rene Millman

Rene Millman is a freelance writer and broadcaster who covers cybersecurity, AI, IoT, and the cloud. He also works as a contributing analyst at GigaOm and has previously worked as an analyst for Gartner covering the infrastructure market. He has made numerous television appearances to give his views and expertise on technology trends and companies that affect and shape our lives. You can follow Rene Millman on Twitter.