Some 36 websites offering credit card details and other private information for sale have been taken down in a global police operation.
The Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA) says raids in Australia, Europe, the UK and US are the result of two years work. The sites, identified by SOCA as specialising in selling stolen payment card and online bank account details, used e-commerce type platforms known as Automated Vending Carts (AVC’s) allowing criminals to sell large quantities of stolen data quickly and easily.
Visitors trying to access these sites are now directed to a screen indicating that the web domain has been seized by law enforcement. Credit card numbers or bank account details of millions of unsuspecting victims were sold for as little as £2.
Two Britons and a man from Macedonia were arrested, with 36 sites shut down. Some of the websites have been under observation for two years. During that period the details of about two-and-a-half million credit cards were recovered – preventing fraud, according to industry calculations, of at least £0.5bn.
Lee Miles, Head of Cyber Operations for SOCA says that the operation is an excellent example of the level of international cooperation being focused on tackling online fraud: “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.”