A 23-year-old man of Avignon, Vaucluse, France was arrested by law enforcement authorities for carrying out a fraud operation on the dark web, in which he used the financial information, such as the credit cards and banking details, of the victims to order products with a mysterious partner.



The 23-year-old was arrested on the afternoon of June 20 in Montfavet, France after law enforcement authorities carried out a joint operation between the investigators of the regional police and police officers of the Central Office for Combating Crime Related to Information and Communication Technologies (OCLCTIC). The latter department is the special service of the Cybercrime Branch (SDLC) of the Central Directorate of the Judicial Police.

A few days prior to the law enforcement operation, the Avignon department of the police was informed by their Parisian colleagues that a delivery was going to take place in Montfavet and that the recipient of the parcel was a man wanted for the crimes of bank fraud. At approximately 14:30 on June 20, the police set up a surveillance system in the area of the delivery. The 23-year-old was arrested while he was loading a table in a vehicle.

Law enforcement authorities were alerted of the illegal activities of the 23-year-old when a UN official stationed in Geneva reported that his credit card was used for an internet purchase he did not authorize. Investigators followed the trail back to the 23-year-old defendant. However, this was not the only case when the suspect committed fraud.

In the course of a few weeks, working with a hacker on the dark web, the 23-year-old had purchased nearly 27,000 euros worth of products on the internet from online e-commerce shopping sites, including CDiscount, Carrefour, Zalando, and many others. The suspect mostly bought televisions, refrigerators and beds using stolen financial information with the help of the hacker he met on the darknet.

In a short span of time, the mysterious dark web hacker managed to steal data from 82 credit cards. Once the orders were placed, the hacker printed the invoices and passed them onto the 23-year-old. Thanks to false identities and the supporting documents corresponding to his picture, he could quietly recover the purchases. For privacy reasons, the 23-year-old contacted the hacker through various public phone booths in Avignon. Neosurf coupons were also used to retrieve purchases from different delivery points. After the carded products arrived, the criminals sold them with profit margins of 10 to 15 percent.

When law enforcement authorities searched the home of the 23-year-old, in addition to the carded furniture and electronic devices, the police found five fake IDs, 55 pieces of financial information, including stolen credit card and banking data. Investigators tried to trace back the dark web hacker the 23-year-old worked with to commit the fraud, however, they did not manage to identify the cybercriminal. Therefore, the 23-year-old will appear before the Criminal Court of Avignon in November.