An investigation found criminal gangs using sham bank accounts and secret online marketplaces to steal from almost anyone – and little being done to combat the fraud. For The Conversation USA.
By David Maimon and Kurt Eichenwald.
With street gangs, the cycle of crime usually follows the same pattern. First comes the theft of the arrow key.
That is then turned over to another gang member, who uses the key to open public mailboxes and steal the contents. Those thefts can go on for days; one key opens as many as 600 boxes.
The mail thief then dumps the mail in the car and drives it to the gang members responsible for sorting. The piles of paper are separated, removing every check, credit card or other financial instrument as well as any document that can be used to steal an identity. Everything else is thrown away.
To open the drop accounts, others prepare IDs using the personal identity information stolen from the mail, hacked online, or purchased from a seller online.