Feeds

Massachusetts' top prosecutor laughs off credit card fraud

Cheery news for would-be crooks

High performance access to file storage

Any would-be credit-card thieves will be cheered by the news that Massachusetts' chief prosecutor reckons the chances of catching crooks who steal credit card details to make purchases online are next to nil - even when they're attempting to defraud the attourney general herself.

Martha Coakley was a week away from being sworn into office, and about to go on a skiing trip, when she received a call from Dell saying that someone had ordered a $1,250 computer using her credit card details but to a delivery address in Texas. Coakley was able to cancel the transaction before the goods had shipped.

"I'm sure they didn't know she is the state's top prosecutor when they took the number," Coakley joked with the Boston Herald.

Crooks had somehow got their hands on Coakley's credit card details - it's unclear how. Unlike most victims of ID theft, Coakley was put through no more trouble than the minimal hassle involved in ordering a new card. Now she seems happy to laugh off the whole business. "There was no damage done," she said. "I was lucky to find out before someone went on a shopping spree."

Incredibly, Coakley reportedly went on to say that the chances of catching the crook - even for the state's top prosecutor - are slim to none. And even in the unlikely event they identified a suspect, Coakley is attributed as saying that jurisdictional issues would probably hamper any effort to prosecute.

Providing Coakley hasn't been misquoted, her blase attitude to credit card fraud is a bit surprising, but perhaps she doing us a favour in revealing an more-or-less open secret that low-level fraud rarely gets investigated.

The US Secret Service has a bottom limit of $2,000 before it bothers to investigate financial crime. Consumer watchdog the FTC has a similar limit. That still leaves it possible to local law enforcement agents to get involved, but if the crime originates from out of state, and involves a relatively modest amount, questions arise about whether they'd bother.

It all paints a rather depressing picture, especially when we consider that credit card fraud losses "are in the billions of dollars annually", according to industry sources cited by the US Secret Services. Credit card firms take account of these losses in constructing their business models so it's ultimately Joe Public who foots the bill. ®

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Parent gabfest Mumsnet hit by SSL bug: My heart bleeds, grins hacker
Natter-board tells middle-class Britain to purée its passwords
Obama allows NSA to exploit 0-days: report
If the spooks say they need it, they get it
Web data BLEEDOUT: Users to feel the pain as Heartbleed bug revealed
Vendors and ISPs have work to do updating firmware - if it's possible to fix this
Samsung Galaxy S5 fingerprint scanner hacked in just 4 DAYS
Sammy's newbie cooked slower than iPhone, also costs more to build
Snowden-inspired crypto-email service Lavaboom launches
German service pays tribute to Lavabit
One year on: diplomatic fail as Chinese APT gangs get back to work
Mandiant says past 12 months shows Beijing won't call off its hackers
Call of Duty 'fragged using OpenSSL's Heartbleed exploit'
So it begins ... or maybe not, says one analyst
NSA denies it knew about and USED Heartbleed encryption flaw for TWO YEARS
Agency forgets it exists to protect communications, not just spy on them
prev story

Whitepapers

Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
HP ArcSight ESM solution helps Finansbank
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.