Cybercrime: The Business of Fraud

Cybercrime has become an increasingly prevalent threat in today’s society. As more people around the world turn to online shopping, remote work, online dating, and banking, cybercriminals continue to gain the necessary knowledge to create a lucrative enterprise.

In The Business of Fraud: An Overview of How Cybercrime Gets Monetized,  Recorded Future by Insikt Group outlines the 11 methods of fraud currently used:

  • Fraud tutorials and courses: Provides information on vulnerabilities and scheme methods used by threat actors.
  • Drops and mules: Requires a physical human presence to carry out carding operations.
  • Dating scams: Creating fake profiles to convince victims to send money, or use them as money mules.
  • Online retail fraud: Use of stolen information for gift card and refund fraud.
  • SIM swapping: Use of two-factor authentication (2FA) to gain access to victim’s online accounts.
  • Money laundering services: Transferring of cryptocurrency into virtual currency or sending funds to a bank account.
  • Use of botnets in dissemination of malware: Use of malware to exfiltrate information to financially motivated threat actors.
  • Travel and loyalty (hospitality) fraudCollecting of personal information through fraudulent travel and hospitality services.
  • Sales of personally identifiable information (PII) and protected health information (PHI)Use of PII gained through leaked databases and compromised networks for fraudulent activity.
  • Tax return fraud: Illegal filing of tax returns with the end goal of collecting the victim’s tax refund.
  • Bank fraudIncluding online banking, credit card, and wire transfers fraud.

The document highlights the growth and maturity of fraud services in 2021 and beyond through the further use of automation.


For more information, check out articles on HSDL related to cybercrime, or view Featured Topics on Cyber Crime & National Security. Please note an HSDL login is required to view some of these resources.

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