Police Celebrate Arrest of 59 Suspected Scammers

A recent month-long anti-fraud crackdown across Europe resulted in the arrest of 59 suspected scammers, according to Europol.

The operation ran all through October as part of the 2022 e-Commerce Action (eComm 2022) initiative. It saw 19 countries come together in a bid to root out criminal groups that use stolen card data to order high-value goods from online shops before selling them on at a profit.

Europol’s European Cybercrime Centre (EC3) and the Merchant Risk Council led the operation, with assistance from merchants, logistic companies, banks and payment card schemes.

Police in participating countries tracked the locations where fraudulently purchased goods were delivered before arresting individuals at those addresses and confiscating the items.

“Investigations are still ongoing in various countries, with more arrests expected in the coming weeks,” Europol warned.

Online fraud can be a double blow for merchants as it not only results in chargeback costs that they have to pay to the defrauded cardholder, but also the loss of any items purchased with stolen card details.

Although Strong Customer Authentication (SCA) recently became mandatory across Europe under the revised Payment Services Directive (PSD2), fraudsters are always looking for ways to circumvent merchant verification systems.

Europol highlighted the following as the three main threats to e-commerce:

  • Phishing, vishing and smishing where card details are stolen by fraudsters impersonating legitimate businesses in emails, texts or phone calls
  • Account takeover fraud, which is often enabled by phished or brute-forced account credentials. With access to accounts, criminals can use stored cards for payments
  • Triangulation fraud where unsuspecting consumers are lured to fake sites by ads or phishing emails. If they attempt to buy the non-existent goods listed on these sites they’ll also be handing over their card details to the scammers

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