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US phishing ring members admit fraud charges

Earthlink investigation

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

Three members of an American phishing ring pleaded guilty in Connecticut today to fraud charges over spam emails and "aggravated identity theft".

The admissions, from Charlie Blount, Jr, of Branford, Connecticut, Thomas Taylor, Jr and Richard D'Andrea, both of West Haven, Connecticut, prompted an exuberant press release from Earthlink, revealing the Atlanta-based ISP's role in finding the "source of millions of phisher site spam emails".

Earthlink's abuse team set off in pursuit of the fraud ring in May last year, upon identifying rogue emails that "used a variety of methods including fake "greeting card" emails, bogus prize-winning announcements and account cancellation messages to trick consumers into providing credit card numbers and other personal information". EarthLink closed the accounts sending the fraudulent emails, and turned over evidence to law enforcement.

On 20 September, three other alleged members of the phishing ring - Michael Dolan of North Miami Beach, Florida, Keith Riedel of Winter Haven, Florida and Daniel Mascia of West Haven - were indicted on fraud charges by a federal grand jury in Connecticut. ®

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

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