Finnish law enforcement authorities, working closely with the European Cybercrime Centre (EC3) at Europol, have dismantled an Asian criminal network responsible for illegal internet transactions and purchasing of airline tickets.
As a result of this successful operation, two members of the criminal gang, traveling on false documents, were arrested at Helsinki airport. In addition, around 15 000 compromised credit card numbers were found on the criminals’ seized computers.
The criminal network had been misusing credit card details stolen from cardholders worldwide. In Europe alone, over 70 000 euros in losses were sustained by cardholders and banks. In addition, there is evidence of further criminal activities in large-scale international payment fraud and illegal immigration.
Coordinated investigative measures on an EU level, international operational meetings, forensic examination of seized electronic evidence and the valuable support from the financial services industry were key to the successful outcome of this investigation.
Investigations into sophisticated online scams are extremely challenging for national police forces in Europe. ”In this case, the commitment of the Finnish Border Guard and National Police, coupled with the close international cooperation facilitated by Europol’s EC3, has been crucial for investigating this sophisticated scam. As the central point in Europe for tackling cybercrime, EC3 will continue to proactively support other investigations of this nature.” said Troels Oerting, Head of the European Cybercrime Centre.
The European Cybercrime Centre has been established to support EU Member States in combating all forms of cyber and online crime. As part of this, EC3 and Visa Europe recently initiated international cooperation between law enforcement agencies and industry, to specifically reduce the level of fraud cased by illegal internet transactions. According to Europol’s recent Situation Report, losses caused by payment fraud in Europe are estimated to cost 1.5 billion euros a year.