Over 30 website domains used to sell stolen debit and credit card details have been shut down following an international operation targeting online criminals.
The operation, an initiative by the UK’s Serious Organised Crime Agency (Soca) working with the FBI and US Department of Justice, targeted websites specialising in selling stolen payment card and online bank account details. They also moved against websites known as ‘automated vending carts’ (AVCs) which allow criminals to sell large quantities of stolen data quickly and easily.
Two men were arrested on suspicion of making large-scale purchases of compromised data from such sites. In addition, the UK’s Dedicated Cheque & Plastic Crime Unit (DCPCU) seized a number of computers suspected of being used to facilitate Fraud Act offences, while an AVC operator based in Macedonia has also been arrested.
Cyber criminals sell details to online fraudsters
For several years, cyber criminals have been stealing large volumes of compromised financial information including bank account, credit and debit card details and selling them in bulk to a growing market of online fraudsters.
Soca, with the help of international partners, has recovered more than 2.5 million items of stolen personal and financial information over the past two years and that data has been passed to financial institutions to help prevent potential fraud taking place against those accounts.
Lee Miles, Soca’s head of cyber operations, said: ‘Our activities have saved business, online retailers and financial institutions potential fraud losses estimated at more than half a billion pounds and at the same time protected thousands of individuals from the distress caused by being a victim of fraud or identity crime.’
Avoid becoming a victim of card fraud
Steps you can take to avoid becoming a victim of debit or credit card fraud include:
- don’t let anyone else use your card
- never give out your Pin details
- only shop with well-known websites that display a secure padlock logo and have both a landline phone number and a real address (not a PO Box)
- tear up, or, better still, shred, receipts you no longer need
Read our guide to debit and credit card fraud for more fraud-busting tips.
- How to spot if you’ve been a victim of card fraud – expert tips to beat the fraudsters
- How to prevent debit and credit card fraud – tips to protect yourself against card fraud
- Online banking security – how does your bank’s online security measure up?