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'Operation eMule' feds bust duo with 500+ eBay, PayPal accounts

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Federal investigators on the trail of a multi-million dollar identity theft ring have raided the homes of two Vietnamese exchange students in Minnesota.

The duo are suspected of selling discounted goods such as video games and Apple gift cards, which were purchased using counterfeit credit cards, through online marketplaces such as eBay. Online marketplaces are left holding the can after the legitimate owners of abused credit cards object.

Online merchants including PayPal, Amazon, Apple, Dell, Verizon Wireless and translation software firm Rosetta Stone have also been left out of pocket as a result of the scam.

The two Winona State University students ran more than 180 eBay accounts and 360 PayPal accounts that were established under false names, according to an affidavit by federal investigators from the Department of Homeland Security.

Investigators reckon as much as $1.25m in illicit funds passed through the compromised accounts, the Minneapolis Star-Tribune reports.

These funds were allegedly wired from the US-based money mules to the masterminds behind the scam, based in Vietnam and Canada.

The raid against the suspects - Tram Vo and Khoi Van, both 22 - is part of a larger investigation, Operation eMule, by the DHS into cybercrime scams masterminded from Vietnam. ®

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