Fake passports are big business in underground markets: report

Bogus international passports – including Australian ones – can be bought for US$200, finds Dell SecureWorks report

New identities, fake passports and social security cards have emerged on the hacker market in 2014 as criminals look for more ways to commit fraud, according to a new report by Dell SecureWorks.

The report, Underground Hacker Markets, assessed hacker products/services and compared the findings with data from 2013.

A big trend in 2014 was fake international passports – including Australian ones – which could be acquired for US$200-$500.

“For this price, you typically receive a scan of the passport, primarily because most businesses will accept a scan of a passport as proof of one’s identity, and it is easier for the scammer to produce,” read the report.

A scanned passport can be used for credit card fraud or government assistance fraud, said the report.

In 2014, sellers on the underground market were offering identity packages, including a matching utility bill.

If someone is in search of a new identity, scammers will provide them with a scan of a working social security card, name and address for US$250.

"For another $100, they will throw in a utility bill for additional identity verification. These credentials, along with a matching drivers’ licence, would allow a person to apply for government assistance programs and commit other types of fraud,” the report said.

Also emerging this year on the underground hacker markets were fake US social security cards. These are sold for between $250 and $400 and can be used to file fraudulent tax returns or open bank accounts.

Turning to credit cards, the report found that the price of some stolen credit cards had gone up since 2013. For example, American Express cards from Australia, the United Kingdom and Canada had increased in price from $13 to $15.

Verified by Visa (VBV) cards from Australia, the UK, Canada, European Union and Asia had risen from $17 to $28.

According to the report, the reason for the price increases was because these countries use PIN and chip technology; it's harder to get credit card information from cards that use chip and PIN security.

Follow Hamish Barwick on Twitter: @HamishBarwick

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