Cyber Crime in Romania

The United States Embassy in Romania estimates that hackers in Romania steal $1 Billion a year by targeting computers located in the United States. Security investigators in the country state that 80 percent of all cyber attacks that originate in Romania target US citizens and businesses.

One common scam that targets American users is the creation of websites in order to skim financial information. The info would then be used to create ATM cards or credit cards. Another cyber crime by gangs in Romania involved running ads onf eBay and other car  selling sites. After posting ads for vehicles, the criminals would send fake invoices from PayPal or other online payment services. Money would be wired to Romania, yet no vehicle was transferred.

(Price to rent a botnet for cyber attacks.)

Police in Romania investigated around 1,000 cases of cyber crime in 2012.  The team that focuses on computer crimes has increased from a handful to 280 computer investigators in the past 7 years. The United States Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has helped train nearly 600 investigators in Romania.

With the amount of money to be made by hacking, many Romanians are turning the cyber crimes. In the town of Ramnicu Valcea, there are 120,000 residents. Yet, police arrest around 100 people each year for cyber crime charges.

One girl from the town told the media that she made up to $4,100 for a single scam. The annual per capital income in Romania is $13,000 a year.

(More income ranges from the underground economy.)

Source:  Viad Odobescu, “U.S. data thefts turn spotlight on Romania,” USA Today, January 13, 2014.