Host of Credit Card Data Selling Websites Shut Down

Young man in handcuffs - copyright Fotolia

SOCA helps stop data-selling fraudsters spread in a major global operation

A major international police operation has closed 36 websites selling personal information and credit card details.

The websites were located in Germany, the Netherlands, Ukraine, Romania, Macedonia, UK and US. The two-year operation involved UK’s Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA), which estimates it helped recover 2.5 million credit cards and prevent the loss of at least £500 million.

Making them pay

During the operation, SOCA was working with the FBI, the BKA in Germany, the KLPD in the Netherlands, the Ukraine Ministry of Internal Affairs, the Australian Federal Police, and the Romanian National Police.

Two men suspected of making large scale purchases of compromised data from sites were arrested in the UK. Another man has been arrested in Macedonia, and the police expects more arrests as the evidence is processed.

“This 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,” said Lee Miles, the head of SOCA’s cyber crime unit.

SOCA is also calling on ISPs  to stop individuals registering websites anonymously, according to the BBC, as this makes it difficult to establish the owners of the sites used for criminal purposes.

The impact of the illegal personal data market is widespread and affects not only the individuals whose financial details are stolen, but also the businesses that have the frauds perpetrated against them and the financial institutions that provide the services.

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