Three Charged With Phishing After Sears Investigation

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Three men have been arrested on phishing charges after local police got a tip that somebody was sending boxes filled with computer equipment to abandoned houses in Lake Charles, Louisiana.

The men were arrested Tuesday after a tipster spotted the strange UPS shipments last week and reported them to police, said James Anderson, a sergeant with the Louisiana State Police.

After setting up surveillance on the houses and investigating further, police discovered that the men were running a phishing scam, where victims are spammed in hopes of tricking them to enter sensitive information into fake websites, Anderson said. "They were obtaining the credit card numbers fraudulently by phishing, then they were shipping the packages to vacant residences," he said. "Then someone was coming by and picking up the packages."

Tuan Anh Nguyen, 25, Giang Vang Nguyen, 20, and Tri Van Le, 22 were arrested and face felony theft charges.

Investigators from Sears Holdings and U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement participated in the investigation. Anderson said police are still looking into whether other brands were phished and how many victims were hit by the alleged scam. A Sears representative was unable to immediately comment for this story.

The total number of phishing attacks dropped this year, after the world's worst phishing gang -- known as Avalanche -- stopped the practice. The Avalanche gang is now making money by installing the malicious Zeus password stealing software on victim's computers, according to the Anti-Phishing Working Group. At one point last year Avalanche accounted for two-thirds of all phishing attacks.

Robert McMillan covers computer security and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Robert on Twitter at @bobmcmillan. Robert's e-mail address is

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