News & Insight 

White Paper – Online Underground Markets

Canadian Bank Accounts Sold on the Online Underground Markets

VIDOCQ’s on-going interest in protecting its financial industry clientele led us to investigate how bank account information ends up on the illicit dark web markets. To that end, this report compiles some findings from VIDOCQ’s March 15 through May 15, 2021, investigation into Canadian bank accounts being offered in these venues.

The takeover of bank accounts occurs when cybercriminals gain unauthorized access to legitimate customers’ accounts and use or sell them for illegal financial transactions.

A recent report2 suggests the volume of bank account takeover incidents has jumped in the U.S. by 282% between 2019 and 2021. And in the U.S., identity fraud losses were almost (US) $17 billion in 2019.

This report reveals the prevalence of compromised Canadian bank accounts offered on underground web markets.

Once compromising a victim’s bank account, criminals can make a large withdrawal, orchestrate money laundering schemes, or sell the compromised account credentials to other parties.

This report reveals the prevalence of compromised Canadian bank accounts offered on underground web markets. And it discusses an approach to finding bank account information on the dark web that is more thorough and actionable than most conventional methods.

Findings from our recent two-month case study reveal that 969 checking accounts, 540 saving accounts and 140 credits accounts owned by Canadian banks customers were offered for sale over online underground markets. Moreover, the average balance in the compromised Canadian checking accounts between the two months of data collection was $9,842 (all sums in Canadian dollars), $13,937 in compromised Canadian saving accounts and $15,970 in compromised credit lines.

We also observed an increase of 310% in the number of compromised Canadian checking bank accounts offered for sale on underground markets between March 15 and May 15, 2021. A similar increase was observed for the number of compromised Canadian saving accounts over the same period (a 305% increase), yet a higher increase was recorded for the number of compromised Canadian credit accounts (466% increase).

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