Whenever we present about the underground and mention that fraudsters often post compromised credit cards for free we often get the question “Why would they do that?” Considering that unlike the hacker communities of years past, the underground economy is all about the money (and not bragging rights), this is a very legitimate question. After all, if the fraudsters’ goal is to maximize profit, why would they give away stuff they can otherwise sell? The answer is pretty straightforward.
Giving credit cards away doesn’t conflict with the vendor’s desire to make money – in many cases it supports it. The focus of the underground economy, maximizing one’s profits, is not exclusive to it but is the focus of every capitalistic market – and that’s not where the similarities end. Just like free samples and promotions exist in any market, so does it exist in the underground economy, with stolen credit cards being the product. However, these free sample promotions are not the result of some sleek underground marketer, but a necessity in some areas of the underground where these vendors operate.