Fuel card industry meets at Europol to tackle payment card fraud

18 December 2014
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Europol's European Cybercrime Centre (EC3) recently hosted an international meeting to address payment card fraud at motorway tolls and petrol stations across Europe.

The fuel industry and their customers are affected by the criminal misuse of fuel cards or 'skimming', which occurs when a fuel card is put through an illegal skimming device attached to an outdoor payment terminal (OPT) or point of sale (POS). The device copies data from the card's magnetic strip in order to make a clone of the card, which is used to illegally pay for refuelling, motorway tolls or other services. This kind of fraud has resulted in losses of several million euros every year.

The meeting between representatives from the fuel industry[1] and law enforcement authorities from several EU countries gave experts the opportunity to create an overview of the criminality seen in 2014 and to prepare for threats in 2015. These meetings also help provide valuable insights into the activities of international organised crime groups and help industry to respond appropriately. Joint efforts and cooperation between police forces and industry, with support from Europol, is the only effective way to increase security standards across Europe and to conclude successful investigations on a national level.

The festive season sees thousands of people refuelling and travelling to spend time with their loved ones. It is also a time when people are likely to use their cards in unfamiliar locations and may be therefore more vulnerable to fraud.

Europol's Payment Card Fraud Prevention Alert provides advice on how to avoid becoming a victim of payment card fraud and how to spot skimming devices. 

[1] The Fuel Industry Card Fraud Investigation Bureau (FICFIB) was set up to address the increasing cross-border payment fraud problem at petrol stations. Members of the working group are: BP Aral, ConocoPhillips, DELEK Europe, DKV, ENI, Exxon Mobil, IDS Kuwait Petroleum, Fleetcor, REPSOL SOLRED, Shell, Statoil ASA, Statoil Hydro, TOPAZ, TOTAL, UTA and UK Fuels.