How a crook defrauded an online crime BBS

HackBB is a popular underground BBS for computer criminals; last March it went down after a prominent user and administrator called Boneless stole all the funds in an escrow service used by criminals to pay each other for services; destroyed part of HackBB's database; and sent blackmail notes to many of the site's users. Prior to the theft, Boneless had been a sterling member of the community, posting well-written, useful guides to using stolen credit cards, defrauding online bookmakers, and going underground anonymously. After two years' worth of winning the community's trust, he raided them and took the site down. But it didn't last long — today, HackBB is back up and running.

The HackBB brand was damaged. But hacking and fraud forums have always been vulnerable targets, and their users understand this. Old and new members slowly made their way back to the forum and started making good business again. By July, thousands of dollars was changing hands every week on the site, largely driven by credit card fraud. (One of the most popular credit card vendors on HackBB, Pking0, told the Daily Dot he makes upwards of $5,000 per week.)

Today, over 15,000 member accounts power a reinvigorated marketplace selling credit cards, bank accounts, forgeries and entire identities to willing buyers. Wanted ads for ATM thieves and vicious bounties are posted like they're personal ads on Craigslist. The wiki library has been replenished to include guides to subjects such as phishing, hacking, carding, malware for phones, and how to deal with curious cops.

The blockbuster heist that rocked the Deep Web [Patrick Howell O'Neill/The Daily Dot]

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