Cybercrime Credit Card Hub ‘Try2Check’ Taken Down, Creator Indicted by U.S.

The U.S. indicted a Russian national for allegedly creating and managing the Try2Check platform, a cybercrime hub that allowed criminals to verify the validity of stolen credit cards before making luxury purchases at the expense of their owners.

Credit Card HippopxRussian national Denis Kulkov has been indicted for his alleged role in creating the Try2Check marketplace, which dealt in stolen credit card numbers. (Photo: Hippopx, License)Denis Gennadievich Kulkov was on Wednesday charged with fraud and money laundering for the online "card-checking" service where tens of millions of checks were conducted each year.

Through offering these services, Kulkov allegedly made at least US$18 million for himself in bitcoin, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office of the Eastern District of New York.

The Try2Check platform catered to a criminal clientele dealing in bulk volumes of stolen credit card numbers on the internet. Using this platform, a person could quickly determine which credit cards they had purchased illicitly were still active and thus could be exploited for personal gain at the expense of their true owners.

Kulkov allegedly created Try2Check in 2005. It gradually grew in popularity and by 2018, it was used to conduct at least 16 million checks in a period of only nine months.

According to the indictment, cybercriminals steal millions of credit card numbers every year, causing tens of billions of dollars in losses to their holders.

Sellers of credit cards on online black markets can have a hard time selling their stolen goods if potential buyers can’t verify whether the cards are still active.

Given that a given batch may contain thousands or even millions of stolen numbers, customers would want to ensure that they were getting their money's worth before making a purchase.

Try2Check solved this problem and gave cybercriminals peace of mind, according to Richard Pena-Ariet, a Special Agent with the U.S. Secret Service.

Not only that, but the service was offered to clients for next to nothing, with the corresponding bitcoin amount for a mere $0.14 at the time of purchase.

With well over a hundred million checks later, Kulkov had allegedly netted himself $18 million, which he used to purchase a Ferrari and other luxury items.

Kulkov now faces several counts of device fraud and money laundering, but remains at large. The U.S. State Department has offered a $10 million reward for information leading to his capture.

If convicted, he faces a potential sentence of 20 years in prison.

The U.S., in collaboration with Germany and Austria, has taken the marketplace offline.

"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 hardworking individuals living in the Eastern District of New York and across the world had value," said U.S. Attorney Breon Peace.