Europol and several national law enforcement agencies have teamed up to disrupt trade in stolen credit card data on the dark web, ultimately preventing around €40 million (US$48 million) in losses for both consumers and financial organizations.
The operation, dubbed Carding Action 2020, was carried out over a span of three months and involved an analysis of 90,000 pieces of credit card information. It was led by law enforcement authorities from Italy and Hungary and supported by their peers from both the United Kingdom and Europol. It’s not immediately clear if any arrests were made.
Europol chalked up the operation’s success to the close cooperation between the various police authorities and partners from the private sector, with the EU’s law enforcement agency acting as a go-between and helping with the coordination of the efforts and exchange of data.
“With more than €40 million in losses prevented, Carding Action 2020 is a great example of how sharing information between private industries and law enforcement authorities is a key in combating the rising trend of e-skimming and preventing criminals from profiting on the back of EU citizens,” said Edvardas Šileris, head of Europol’s European Cybercrime Centre, praising the success of the collaborative effort.
Detective Chief Inspector Gary Robinson of the UK’s Dedicated Card and Payment Crime Unit also commended his team for the work on the operation: “Acting as a gateway, the unit facilitated the sharing of data with the card schemes involved to stop the criminals behind these callous activities and protect the public from card payment fraud.”
In fact, it has been a busy week for law enforcement agencies cracking down on cybercrime. Europol’s press release came hot on the heels of an announcement by Interpol that it apprehended three individuals in Nigeria on suspicion of being members of a gang that has compromised government and private organizations across more than 150 countries. The group is thought to be responsible for the distribution of malware, phishing attacks, and for running Business Email Compromise (BEC) fraud, which sits atop the list of the costliest types of fraud. Although the investigation is still ongoing, Interpol and its partners have been able to identify some 50,000 victims of the gang’s schemes.