Eleven people were arrested in a joint Dedicated Card and Payment Crime Unit (DCPCU - UK) and Visa Europe operation proactively targeting remote purchase fraud, which saw the banking industry and retailers share live data for the first time. Europol supported the operation that was led by the United Kingdom.
The Retail Week of Action saw the DCPCU and Visa work with Europol and a range of merchants and banks and card companies, on the intelligence-led project, last week. Information shared by the organisations involved was used to target individuals suspected of using stolen card details to purchase high value goods. Items seized by officers included a cinema system, computers, mobile devices, designer clothes, kitchen equipment, gaming goods and two machetes. The total value of fraudulent activity was more than EUR 280.000.
The 11 people arrested during the operation have been released on police bail pending further investigation. Similar proactive operations are planned for the future.
Det Chief Insp Kerrie Gower, head of the DCPCU, said: "Remote purchase fraud has a significant impact on the card payments industry and retailers. These results show what can be achieved through collaborative working and sends a message to fraudsters actively engaged in this crime that they will be prosecuted. I would like to thank everyone who has been involved in this ongoing project."
eCommerce fraud is a growing phenomenon which causes huge losses and affects consumers across Europe. This action marks an important step in close cooperation of law enforcement and the private sector to disrupt online-based criminal organisations and activity. The results of this operation demonstrate that virtual criminals are not beyond this reach. Steven Wilson, head of the European Cybercrime Centre (EC3), Europol
Europol, in cooperation with law enforcement agencies from member states, payment sector and emerchants have set up a working group to tackle the eCommerce phenomenon. Mr Wilson added: "Europol will continue to actively assist member states in both their investigations and operations against organised criminal activity within this forum."
Peter Bayley, Executive Director, Risk Management, Visa Europe, said: "The Retail Week of Action is another example of what can be achieved when financial institutions, merchants and law enforcement join together to tackle a common problem. Visa continues to deliver a safe and efficient payment solution for its customers and I am delighted that we were able to play a principal role in bringing people together and co-ordinating activities, which has resulted in arrests and seizure of goods."