Sunday, September 10, 2006

Romanians on Internet , beware

Romanians have a great appetite in the last 3-4 years for Internet. Statistics say that the number of Internet users since 2002-2003 till now grow up with 300%. Not bad, the net is pretty cheap around here and has a decent quality, each city with a population over 20,000 citizens has networks inside neighborhoods and share it with everyone for prices starting from 10$ a month for broadband. They love to sit all day long and chat on Yahoo Messenger, chat on mIRC or write posts in forums with misc themes.

Many romanians become famous in Romania because of Internet and computers. Many students who graduated were hired at Microsoft's empire, Google, IBM occasionally NASA too because of their high skills in technology! Although the universities don't benefit of a decent technology to teach their students and practice, they start learning on their own at home surfing the net for info's, you must have ambition otherwise no one can help you out. Of course, the school costs, the hardware costs too and it's pretty hard to handle all, here is the moment when ambition interferes and gets you the power to advance.

The second category of romanians (who disgrace Romania online and International) we the people who have their principal occupation STEALING FROM THE PEOPLE ! Let me tell you about these guys, most of them have no future and are members of disordered families. The rest of the people who participate in this branch often have a decent material situation and do this stealing job just to get easy money and look cooler, they call themselves "carders".

Until 2 or 3 years ago their main occupation was to scam people on auctions (eBay auctions, Yahoo auctions and ... other site who offer that service). I saw a few articles on the net a few years ago posted by people who got scammed online by romanians and they were saying: "Where is Valcea country located?" Wow, Valcea is a relative small city located in Romania, not so rich, where the main job of the teenagers is to steal online. Every teenager there learns how to steal online from their older friends. It seems funny but it's not.

Many times the people who used to scam people online were being helped by other people who worked inside Western Union offices for a bribe, helping them to withdraw money without having the full info of the transfers. That's not unusual here, bribe is everywhere and you can do almost everything you want if you offer someone a bribe. They have large networks in their apartments where their conduct their business. Imagine 10-15 computers in a large apartment where each computer is used to scam people online... that is a big profit for them working in teams. In other larger cities it's a real mafia where other mob's get kids to work for them and get them big profits from scamming.

That auctions scamming business is almost gone in Romania now because nobody falls to it when they are asked to wire money via Western Union, Money Gram or other online money sending service. So the guys were being helped by the law. In 2002 the romanians didn't need a visa to enter for 90 days in each european country (except UK). They moved with their gangs there and continued to scam people. This happens the moment I write now too. Nobody can stop this phenomenon since newbies are on the Internet everyday and they enjoy very much when they found a once in a lifetime offer listed on eBay. They don't read any tips and advices before and the fall into it. That's bad...

Anyways, since ... 2003 till now (and continues) romanians have a new national job in stealing money from Internet. Almost all concentrated to carding business. They started back in 2003 creating fake site copies of US banks and started to send untargeted emails got from Internet with all kind of software to people asking them to complete online their personal info's like credit card number, expiration date, cvv and PIN used in ATM transactions. It's been a total success that time, thousands of cards were coming everyday and the people's accounts were being voided in a few minutes ! You've probably saw tons of news at TV, newspapers and online with tips how to protect yourself from phishers. Using tools bought online from the web to counterfeit the cards they cash out the cards right here in Romania. After a year or so Romania was banned from having ATM transactions with some banks in US. But the people again relocated into western european countries and continued their business. It works now too, from time to time I read in newspapers articles about romanians who got caught in misc european countries for illegal activities regarding credit cards fraud.

Romanians are so called "masters" in ATM fraud too. They designed many atm skimmers (a skimmer is some sort of device mounted on ATM machines in order to copy the magnetic stripe on the back of your card). Helped by a tiny camera mounted above the keypad they can clone your card in a matter of minutes and empty your account. The operate in every european countries, but also in Romania lately. Some of them had the luck to get fraudulent in USA, Australia and in Asia countries. This activity can bring them million dollars a year. It's not something to be proud with, it's a shame for Romania but we can't do almost nothing to stop it. We hope they get caught and ... that's it.

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