Fraudster Sentenced for Stolen ID Shopping Spree
A suspicious invoice for a limited edition rum worth almost $2,000 started an investigation that led to the arrest and recent sentencing of a man from Lucerne, Switzerland for several charges of identity theft and fraud. The man, investigators discovered as they investigated a trail of identity thefts and fake identities, had been purchasing stolen identities on the darknet as part of a fraud operation that lasted roughly one year. The total dollar value of damage the fraudster caused was not revealed during his sentencing at the Criminal Court in Lucerne.
According to the police in Switzerland who helped identify the fraudster and his conspirators, the fraudulent activity first began in February 2017. Through a series of attempted fraudulent transactions that ultimately failed, the police learned the fraudster’s pattern and his scope of operation. The victims of identity theft connected to the 24-year-old fraudster often found themselves stuck with bills for items they never purchased. Often, investigators revealed, the fraudster opened credit cards under the names and addresses of the identities he had purchased on the darknet.
The 24-year-old also took advantage of bank accounts or credit cards the victim had already created. In some cases the fraudster gained access to the victim’s email and leveraged email access into the access of bank accounts, financial information, or other pieces of information useful to a fraudster. With stolen accounts or newly created credit cards, the 24-year-old spent thousands of dollars on iPhones, Apple laptops, clothes, and even expensive alcohol.
Instead of shipping the packages to his own address or the address of his victims, the fraudster shipped the packages to Swiss Postâs My Post 24 automated terminals. As part of the operation, the fraudster signed his victims up for the service and used their unique My Post 24 IDs to have a package ship
ped to a terminal under the name of the card holder. When a package arrived at a terminal, the fraudster received a text message or email from Swiss Post with a unique QR code that allowed him to access the package at the terminal. As long as he had the QR code, his identity did not matter to the terminal.
As the fraudster expanded his operation, he grew paranoid. He sent co-conspirators to the terminals with the QR code to avoid interception by police or identification via nearby security cameras. The police apprehended many of the co-conspirators. It is not clear whether or not their arrests came after the 24-year-oldâs arrest.
The goods the fraudster purchased showed up for sale through local and internet platforms. His biggest mistake, though, was ordering clothes to his own house in a single occasion. He now faces jail time and owes the court a $10,000 fine. His final restitution amount has not been disclosed.