In an exclusive look into the growing connection between methamphetamine users and cybercriminals, USA Today says both Canada and the U.S. are seeing increasingly organized global identity theft operations with methamphetamine addicts carrying out the plans of the ringleaders.
Identity theft, the paper reports, has fast become the crime of preference among meth users for three reasons: It is non-violent, criminal penalties for first-time offenders are light – usually a few days or weeks in jail – and the use of computers and the Internet offers crooks anonymity and speed with which to work. Meanwhile, global cybercrime groups control e-mail phishing attacks, keystroke-stealing Trojan horse programs and insider database thefts that swell the pool of stolen personal and financial information. They also have ready access to hijacked online-banking accounts. But converting assets in compromised accounts into cash is never easy. That’s where the meth users come in. Sophisticated meth theft rings control local bank accounts – and underlings who are willing to extract ill-gotten funds from such accounts.