DarkMarket, a leading online cybercrime website, has been exposed as an FBI front, designed to trap identity thieves and fraudsters.
The DarkMarket.ws site has been closed down, but has been exposed by the Südwestrundfunk German radio station as an FBI front operated from Pittsburgh.
It is believed that those using the site to sell on fake IDs, bank card Pins, rogue code and other essential items linked to the phishing trade and general fraud will now be hunted down by the authorities.
The sting has reportedly already been used to track down an alleged German credit card forger.
The FBI Pittsburgh site is home to the National Cyber Forensics Training Alliance, which is funded by banks, internet companies and the US federal government.
It is believed the FBI had controlled the DarkMarket site since November 2006, although it was operational as a site before then.
After the FBI took control of the site, after an agent managed to gain the main administrator role, a rival cybercrime site had publicly claimed it was being controlled by the FBI, after it tracked down a server linked to the site located in the FBI Pittsburgh building.
However, it is thought the FBI got away with this exposure as it was seen by many fraudsters as sour grapes from a rival cybercrime site.
The DarkMarket site was closed on 4 October, with the main site administrator - the FBI agent - saying this was because the site was attracting too much attention from the authorities - a clever exit strategy.