Secret Service agent Mike Adams used the identity of a grifter named Justin Todd Moss to sell criminals fake IDs and build a case against them. The story behind the Secret Service’s long con:
“From the Secret Service’s standpoint, selling fake IDs – ‘novelties,’ in the parlance of the underground – would have held a number of advantages. Unlike intangible commodities like credit card numbers or passwords, fake IDs must be shipped physically, which gives the agency an address to check out for every customer. And, being photo IDs, the customer had to provide their photos. It’s a rare law enforcement operation that lets the cops collect mug shots before they’ve made a single arrest.
“‘It’s a great idea,’ says E. J. Hilbert, a former FBI cybercrime agent who worked undercover in the Carder Planet days. Feds routinely get close to carders by selling ‘stolen’ credit card numbers that are actually provided by card issuers, then tracked. Shipping counterfeit driver’s licenses, he says, has the same advantages.
“‘In fact, it’s even better,’ says Hilbert, now a managing director at Kroll Cyber. ‘You have one name and one ID that you can put in the system and flag. … I tried to get approval for this myself, and they wouldn’t do it.’”