WASHINGTON (5/21/08)--The U.S. Department of Justice charged 38 people in the U.S. and Romania in two separate indictments involving computer and credit card fraud with accounts at U.S. credit unions and banks. The alleged fraud involves charges of phishing--using e-mail to solicit personal information for illegal use--and smishing--using text messages to solicit personal information for illegal use (CMP TechWeb May 19). The ring allegedly procured credit card numbers and personal information that were stolen by “cashiers” through spamming phishing and smishing messages. The ring was linked to accounts at about 20 credit unions and 10 banks, but authorities said it targeted thousands of accounts from hundreds of financial institutions. The cashiers used hardware credit card encoding devices and software to imprint stolen card numbers onto magnetic strips of credit and debit cards, according to Deputy Attorney General Mark R. Filip. “Runners” then took the newly created cards and made unauthorized withdrawals. The amount stolen is estimated to be several million dollars, Filip said.