Secret Service operations hit ID, credit card theft rings

The US Secret Service has worked with local authorities to arrest ID thieves in Canada and France

The U.S. Secret Service has cracked down on an international ID theft ring that is responsible for more than US$14 million in fraud losses, the agency said Monday.

On June 12, French National Police arrested four on online fraud charges, acting on information provided by the Secret Service, the agency said in a statement.

The arrests were part of an undercover investigation into the activities of an online criminal known by the alias, "Lord Kaisersose," who is "associated with Internet sites known for identity theft and financial fraud activities," the Secret Service said.

Investigators found more than 28,000 stolen credit- and bank-card numbers as a result of this operation, the Secret Service said. "Fraud losses associated with this investigation have exceeded US$14 million," the Secret Service said.

At the same time the Secret Service, working with local authorities, closed down an illegal credit card-selling activity based out of Canada and France.

This action, called Operation Hard Drive, led to the arrest of two suspects, who are allegedly behind more than US$1 million in credit card fraud.

French police arrested an unnamed man, who went by the alias THEEEEL on credit card-selling Web sites, on charges relating to ID theft.

The second man, Nicholas Joehle, of Calgary, Alberta is alleged to have sold fake credit card readers, known as "skimmers" over the Internet. These devices are often illegally used by employees at legitimate businesses that accept credit cards and are becoming a growing problem in the U.S.

Calgary Police recovered 100 such skimmers, a skimmer-making lab, and US$30,000 in U.S. and Canadian currency, the Secret Service said.

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Robert McMillan

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