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Russian Man Pleads Not Guilty to Theft of 160 Million Credit Cards

Christine DiGangi

A Russian man pleaded not guilty last week to stealing more than 160 million credit card numbers as part of the largest cybercrime ring ever prosecuted in the U.S., Reuters reported.

Dmitriy Smilianets, along with other alleged hackers in Russia and the Ukraine, is accused of engaging in a series of attacks that cost companies more than $300 million. Companies breached include NASDAQ, JetBlue, J.C. Penney, Dow Jones, Wet Seal, 7-Eleven and Heartland Payment Systems Inc.

Smilianets, 29, of Moscow, is also accused of selling the credit card numbers — $10 for an American number, $50 for a European number, according to Reuters.

In September 2012, Smilianets was extradited to the U.S., and he entered his not-guilty plea on Aug. 12 in federal court in Newark, N.J.

He faces decades in prison if convicted: 30 years for conspiracy to commit wire fraud, 30 years for wire fraud, five years for conspiracy to gain unauthorized access to computers and five years for gaining unauthorized access to computers.

Consumers should monitor their financial accounts regularly in order to identify suspicious activity, because not only is credit card fraud a pain, it can negatively impact your credit scores. Victims of a data breach should re-set user credentials on an affected site and contact the companies that manage their financial accounts immediately.

Many consumers choose to monitor their credit after a possible identity theft in order to spot fraud as soon as it happens.

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