Texas man gets 5 years in prison for massive PayPal ID scam

An Austin man was sentenced to five years in prison on Thursday for buying credentials for 38,000 compromised PayPal accounts and then using those credentials to steal money from the owners of the accounts, reports said. the Ministry of Justice.

Marcos Ponce, 37, was ordered to pay $1.4 million in restitution to victims after pleading guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud last October.

The scheme began as early as November 2015, when Ponce and his accomplices began buying stolen IDs from an illegal online marketplace.


“Ponce and his co-conspirators developed social engineering techniques in order to trick unwitting third parties into accepting money transfers from the compromised PayPal accounts and then transferring the money to accounts controlled by members of the conspiracy. “, explained the Ministry of Justice.

An Austin man has been sentenced to five years in prison for buying credentials for 38,000 compromised PayPal accounts and then defrauding users. (Photo Illustration by Rafael Henrique/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images/Getty Images)

Cybercriminals frequently buy and sell stolen credentials on the “dark web,” a section of the Internet that is prohibited from search engines and requires specific software like a Tor browser to access.

There are currently billions of stolen credentials on dark web markets, many of which are usernames and passwords for everything from bank accounts to music streaming services, according to a 2020 report by the digital risk company Digital Shadows.


The average account costs $15.43 on the dark web, but accounts associated with financial institutions can cost up to $500, according to Digital Shadows.

“Today’s sentencing sends the message that the FBI will prosecute cybercriminals around the world,” Deputy Director in Charge of the FBI’s Washington Field Office, Steven M. D’Antuono, said in a statement. “Hiding behind a computer doesn’t mean you can remain anonymous or out of the reach of law enforcement.”

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