Local News

Cary Police Suspect Local Teens In Internet Fraud Case

Posted April 10, 2002 8:11 a.m. EDT

— Police believe two 16-year-old boys from Cary used their computer knowledge to bilk AOL users out of as much as $8,000.

"I would dare say that most kids know more about the ins and outs of the computers than their parents do," said Lt. Chris Hoina of the Cary Police Department.

Investigators suspect the teens sent AOL subscribers a message asking for credit card information and then used those numbers to buy electronic equipment online from Amazon.com.

"The boys are being cooperative," Hoina said. "It's imminent that charges will be filed in the state. They're aware of that, their families are aware of that."

Investigators said that the boys had their purchases mailed to friends' homes. A family who received a package notified police.

"These guys probably started when they were 5 or something and probably have as much experience as I do," said Chris Harper, an Internet security consultant.

Harper said he is not surprised that teenagers could pull something like this off.

"It's rudimentary, at best, to forge the 'From' field in an e-mail. So they could say it's from any legitimate source or any legitimate sounding source," he said.

Investigators said at least 20 computer users were victimized by the teens, but there could be many more.

"We suspect there are more and we also suspect that people were spammed and taken advantage of nationally," Hoina said.

Cary police are working with AOL and Amazon.com to unravel the case.