ELI5: How do hackers collect ransom money and not IMMEDIATELY get arrested?
Many of them are located on places with lax police and get payment through crypto or gift cards.
Pentester here: there's a couple of ways they do this:
1) they require payment in bitcoin. While not totally anonymous, they put it through a tumbler scheme to make tracing much more difficult.
2) they use stolen accounts to pay the money into and withdraw from, meaning the transactions are not associated with them.
3) they reside in countries that couldn't give less of a fuck about extradition requests from the west (eg: China)
They use crypto currency which can be transferred without the police having a way to find out to whom.
As mentioned, by using a form of payment that can't immediately be traced to any one specific recipient, thus at least temporarily evading the eyes of law enforcement.
not sure about regular laundering practices, but crypto is fairly straight forward. just convert it to monero and back. Its private transactions, so its all hidden.
Also stuff like samurai wallet exist to do that with bitcoin and stuff