FBI sting busts 56 for buying, selling stolen credit card data

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Fifty-six people have been arrested for their unknowing association with an FBI-run online forum that traded stolen credit card information, authorities revealed on Thursday.

At its height, the DarkMarket forum counted 2,500 people as registered members, the FBI said in a statement. Authorities estimate the sting helped save $70 million in victim losses.

The statement did not say how the FBI got control of the forum, which was reportedly under the bureau's control for about two years. However, law enforcement said it worked with international partners to identify and track down culprits.

A German radio station was the first to unmask the sting, and the story was first reported in the United States by Wired. Published reports said the site was voluntarily shut down earlier this month by its site moderator, who used the handle “Master Splyntr.” In reality, Splyntr was FBI senior cybercrime agent, J. Keith Mularski, working out of the FBI's National Cyber Forensics Training Alliance in Pittsburgh.

Wired reported that the FBI used the site as a way to create profiles of DarkMarket users. The agency tracked users' IP addresses and their activity on the site, along with transaction records from the E-Gold electronic currency service.

The FBI said the sting also netted new leads into other cybercrime cases, which now are being investigated by the FBI and international partners.

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