Two men arrested in Tucson for phishing ID theft, Sophos reports

April 21, 2005 Sophos Press Release

Two men from Tucson, Arizona, have been arrested in connection with sending spam phishing emails pretending to come from online banks, credit card theft and fraud.

The men, 24-year-old Robbin Shea Brown and 19-year-old Joshua T. Breshears, are accused of having supported their expensive lifestyle by sending out emails asking recipients to confirm their credit card details.

According to police, the men coded blank credit cards with the information they had stolen and used them at automated-teller machines.

During a police search of the men's premises, officers found expensive furniture, artwork, plasma TVs and even a new stainless steel refrigerator with a built-in television. Half a dozen computers were also found, according to police reports, as well as devices to imprint data on the magnetic strips used on credit cards,

"Phishing can generate large profits for the criminals who mastermind the schemes, and all the signs indicate that the problem is growing," said Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant for Sophos. "Everyone needs to take care to secure their computer and to exercise caution about with whom they exchange sensitive data, such as their credit card numbers."

Police authorities in Tucson are now working closely with the Secret Service to determine if others, potentially overseas, could be involved in the scheme.