In January, a 21-year-old man stood in front of judges at a juvenile court in Bad Segeberg, Germany. The prosecution accused the man of so-called “professional fraud” using the darknet, eBay, and stolen PayPal accounts. The type of fraud is not a new one, but it is one of the first times an individual has faced similar fraud charges in Bad Segeberg that involved use of darknet markets.
According to the indictment, the 21-year-old—who the spokesperson for the prosecutor’s office chose not to identify—had allegedly purchased stolen PayPal accounts on the darknet. He purchased PayPal accounts on a routine basis from darknet data brokers and false identity vendors, such as the recently sentenced Alphabay vendor Courvoisier. Darknet market vendors have always sold PayPal accounts for very little. Provided a buyer has a method of properly cashing out potentially locked PayPal accounts, many users can buy them in bulk for almost nothing at all.
For example, one Dream market vendor is currently selling PayPal accounts with various balances that start at $77 for a PayPal account with a $200 balance. Accounts cost far less on forums or without a guaranteed account balance. The 21-year-old also purchased hacked DHL accounts that belonged to the PayPal account owners, the spokesperson said. DHL accounts are similarly cheap; one Dream vendor is currently selling hacked or stolen accounts for $10 each.
German officials reported that law enforcement had dealt with an increasing number of internet fraud cases in 2017, and many of them resembled the case of the Bad Segeberg 21-year-old. Some of them are more bizarre than others. In a simple fraud example, a Munich District Court heard a case that involved a 35-year-old who made a living through 21 fraudulent internet shops. He charged customers for cell phones, gaming consoles, and even coffee pots but never shipped any of the products. During his trial, the court heard that he had made a total of $482,000. A more unusual case focused on a 21-year-old who made a living through selling his carding services on the darknet. He also swatted people, spread rumors about internet bullies, and even purchased pig intestines (on the darknet) and sent them to his enemies.
Using the stolen PayPal and DHL accounts, the suspect allegedly made purchases on eBay. The prosecutor charged the man for buying iPhones on several occasions. He purchased the phones under the names of his victims and had the packages shipped using the victim’s DHL account. He used DHL Packstation addresses in order to avoid having packages sent to his front door. After buying an iPhone with funds from the stolen accounts, the man picked up the parcels and resold the iPhones online. The spokesperson did not reveal the details surrounding the suspect’s arrest, but these cases usually follow similar patterns. The crime is old and predictable.