COURT DOC: Cybercriminal Network Fueling the Global Stolen Credit Card Trade Is Dismantled

Defendant is charged with running an international “card-checking” platform that generated tens of millions of dollars in revenue.

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May 4, 2023

“A four-count indictment was unsealed today in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York charging Denis Gennadievich Kulkov with access device fraud, computer intrusion and money laundering in connection with his operation of Try2Check, the primary service offering ‘card-checking’ to cybercriminals in the stolen credit card trade.”

“The Try2Check platform catered to cybercriminals who purchased and sold stolen credit card numbers in bulk on the internet, offering criminals the ability to quickly determine what percentage of the cards were valid and active. As such, Try2Check was a primary enabler of the trade in stolen credit card information, processing at minimum tens of millions of card numbers every year. Today, the U.S. government worked with partners in Germany and Austria to take offline Try2Check’s websites, thus dismantling the defendant’s criminal network. Along with the indictment and global website domain takedown, the State Department has announced a $10 million reward for information leading to the capture of Kulkov, who resides in Russia.”

“Breon Peace, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York and Patrick Freaney, Special Agent-in-Charge, United States Secret Service (USSS), New York Field Office, announced the charges.”

“’Today is a bad day for criminals who relied on the defendant’s platform as the gold standard to verify that the credit cards they stole from hard working individuals living in the Eastern District of New York and across the world had value,’ stated United States Attorney Peace. ‘Today’s indictment and global takedown of the Try2Check website demonstrates that the Office, together with our partners, will disrupt cybercrime operations no matter where they are based.’”

“’The individual named in today’s indictment is accused of operating a criminal service with immeasurable reach to fund further illicit activity with global impact,’ said U.S. Secret Service Special Agent in Charge Patrick J. Freaney. ‘Our exceptional partnerships know no borders, and thanks to the cooperation and dedication of our global law enforcement community, Try2Check can no longer serve as a vehicle for continued criminal activity or illicit profits.’”

“As alleged in the indictment and other court filings, Kulkov created Try2Check in 2005, building it into a primary tool of the illicit credit card trade. Cybercriminals who acquired large batches of stolen credit cards (for example, by hacking into credit card readers at stores) ran the cards through Try2Check to determine what percentage of the stolen credit card numbers remained active. These cybercriminals then used the resulting data to show prospective buyers of the stolen credit card numbers what percentage of the cards retained their value. Try2Check victimized not only credit card issuers and holders, but also a major U.S.-based payment processing company whose systems Try2Check misused to perform the card checks.”  

“Try2Check ran tens of millions of credit card checks per year and supported the operations of major card shops that made hundreds of millions in bitcoin in profits. Over a nine-month period in 2018, the site performed at least 16 million checks, and over a 13-month period beginning in September 2021, the site performed at least 17 million checks. Through the illegal operation of his websites, the defendant made at least $18 million in bitcoin (as well as an unknown amount through other payment systems), which he used to purchase a Ferrari, among other luxury items.” 

“In coordination with the unsealing of the charging documents in this case, Try2Check’s websites were taken offline and the State Department issued a $10 million reward for information leading to the defendant’s capture. If convicted, Kulkov faces 20 years’ imprisonment. The charges in the indictment are allegations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.” (Source: U.S. Department of Justice)

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