"The firm’s chief executive Darren Innes, who lives in North Cornwall, said: “Criminals are running these operations like a professional . The figures show just how organised they really are.” Mr Innes, who has worked in online security for more than a decade, said they had infiltrated of personal information which had been put up for sale on the “dark web” – Internet content which is not listed by normal search engines.
They found email addresses and passwords of 18,000 people living in Cornwall, Devon and Somerset along with another 2,640 records of credit card numbers with their three-number security code. They also found 157 records of peoples’ “secret answers” to security questions.
Mr Innes said peoples’ names and addresses were being sold for nine US cents while credit card details and security numbers could command up to $50. Ironically, he said, fraudsters were using stolen bank accounts and cards to pay for the information as well as currencies to help avoid detection.
He said criminals were compiling databases through a variety of means including hacking large companies, “phishing” emails which trick users into divulging information and fake websites