Europol busts crooks buying fancy goods with stolen cards

With Black Friday shopping madness around the corner, Europol busts dozens of crooks that used stolen credit cards for flashy goods online.

A month-long operation took place in 19 countries and resulted in the arrests of 59 scammers across the continent, Europol said in a statement.

The operation targeted criminal networks using stolen credit card data to buy high-value goods from online shops. By purchasing goods online, crooks try to distance themselves from countries where the card was issued to avoid capture.

According to Europol, law enforcement agencies in 19 countries prepared for months and started striking throughout October. Merchants, logistic companies, banks, and payment card scheme operators assisted the authorities in uncovering the people behind the scam.

“Law enforcement authorities in participating countries raided the locations where illegally purchased goods had been delivered, arresting the suspects and confiscating the fraudulently purchased goods,” Europol said.

The authorities note that primary methods for e-commerce fraud involve phishing attacks, account takeover fraud, and triangulation fraud. Phishing attacks involve scammers tricking victims into revealing their payment data. Account takeover attacks often result from cybercriminals buying or stealing passwords to enter the victim’s e-commerce account for a specific store.

Meanwhile, triangulation fraud happens when crooks set up fake websites, enticing victims with cheap goods or massive discounts. Users are duped twice during these attacks because they lose payment data and don’t receive purchased goods.

Europol advises users never to send card numbers or PIN via email to anyone, never send money to unknown people and always save all the documents related to online purchases. Users should immediately contact the bank if they note unusual activity on their bank accounts.

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