Uber Drivers Knowingly Accepting Fraudulent Journeys For Share Of Cash, Says Security Expert.

Turning virtual cash into real money without being caught is a big problem for successful cyber-criminals.

They often have to get creative when "cashing out" or laundering the money they have stolen, according to a security expert.

Ziv Mador, head of security research at Trustwave SpiderLabs said that credit card thieves, for example, have limited time to profit, because at some point the victim will put a stop on their card.

Tens of thousands of stolen card numbers are traded daily on the Dark Web's underground market that Mr Zador and his colleagues have monitored, collating details taken from compromised websites or databases.

"They can try to sell the card, which is not a big money earner because they only get a few dollars for each one," he said.

Instead, he added, they are more likely to use them to buy more valuable assets like iPhones or Macbooks, which are popular because they tend to hold their value when resold, or turn into cash using fraudulent journeys with crooked Uber drivers.

"They do not buy 100 or so iPhones at once," he said. "They use a lot of different cards at different times."

Mr Mador said the crooks use randomisation tools to thwart anti-fraud systems that would spot if all the purchases, even those made with different cards, are being done on the same computer.

Another "cashing out" technique uses gift cards from big retailers outlets . 

This technique involves buying the gift card with the stolen credit card and then offering it for sale at a big discount.

Then there are the more creative scams that seek to use Uber and other ride-hailing firms to launder cash.
Mr Mador, and others, have seen adverts seeking Uber drivers who can take part in the scam.

"They are looking for Uber drivers to take the fraudulent payments, from people who register with the Uber app using stolen credit card details and do fake rides," said Mr Mador.

The driver's account is used to launder the cash generated when stolen credit cards are used to pay for the fictitious journeys. Drivers then get a cut of the money as a payment.

It's worrying that the company (Uber) doesn't pick up on what's happening and when card holders complain, Uber support help dissipates, telling victims their Terms and Conditions relinquish Uber from any responsibility over the fraud. They advise victims to take it up with the drivers.

It's this Uber market that forms the backbone of the cyber-crime world, said Dr Mike McGuire, a criminologist from the University of Surrey, who has studied this shadowy community.

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