Online marketplace for stolen data seized; founder indicted

Federal authorities say they have seized a website that served as a marketplace for hacked data, and its founder now faces criminal charges.

In a statement Tuesday, the Justice Department said authorities seized three domains associated with the RaidForums website: “Raidforums.com,” “Rf.ws” and “Raid.lol.”



From 2016 until February of 2022, RaidForums served as an online marketplace to buy and sell hacked or stolen databases of sensitive personal and financial information, “including stolen bank routing and account numbers, credit card information, login credentials and Social Security numbers,” the Justice Department said.

Members used the platform to sell hundreds of databases of stolen data, comprising over 10 billion unique records.

Prosecutors also allege that when the website was founded in 2015, it served as a “venue for organizing and supporting forms of electronic harassment.”

A six-count indictment also has been unsealed against its founder and chief administrator. Diogo Santos Coelho faces charges of conspiracy, access device fraud and aggravated identify theft.

The indictment alleges that the 21-year-old sold stolen data on the website and served as a paid middleman to facilitate illicit transactions. It also details how he allegedly profited off the website even further, by charging “escalating prices for membership tiers that offered greater access and features.”

Coelho, a Portuguese citizen, was arrested Jan. 31 in the United Kingdom and awaits extradition proceedings.

The indictment of Coelho and the website’s seizure are the result of a joint investigation involving the FBI, the U.S. Secret Service, Europol and other international law enforcement agencies.

“Our interagency efforts to dismantle this sophisticated online platform — which facilitated a wide range of criminal activity — should come as a relief to the millions victimized by it, and as a warning to those cybercriminals who participated in these types of nefarious activities,” said Jessica Aber, the U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia.

Jack Pointer

Jack contributes to WTOP.com when he's not working as the afternoon/evening radio writer. In a previous life, he helped edit The Dallas Morning News and Chicago Tribune.

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