Authorities bust global credit card fraud network targeting POS terminals and ATMs in Europe

The criminal group rigged POS devices in European shopping centers with rogue card readers and malware, Europol said

A global credit card fraud network was shut down on Thursday as the result of an international police operation called "Pandora-Storm" that saw the participation of 20 law enforcement agencies from Europe, America and Australia, Europol announced,

The organized crime group stole credit and debit card details and PIN codes by manipulating point-of-sale (POS) terminals in big shopping centers across Europe using sophisticated methods, the European law enforcement agency said Thursday in a press release.

Members of the group used the stolen data to create counterfeit payment cards that were then used for illegal transactions outside of Europe, in countries like the U.S., Argentina, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Japan, Mexico, South Korea, Sri Lanka and Thailand.

The credit card fraud network was primarily controlled from Romania and affected around 36,000 card holders from 16 European countries, according to Europol. In addition to physically manipulating POS terminals and rigging them with rogue credit card readers, the group also used malicious software developed for such systems and engaged in online fraud activities, the agency said.

Illegal electronic equipment, stolen financial data, cloned cards and cash were seized during house searches in Romania and the U.K., Europol said. Two illegal workshops for producing hardware and software designed for POS manipulation have been discovered and shut down, the agency said.

The investigation was run by the Romanian Cybercrime Unit and a specialized division of prosecutors from the Romanian Directorate for Investigating Organized Crime and Terrorism (DIICOT) with support from law enforcement agencies from other countries that collaborated through Europol.

Eighty-five house searches were conducted across multiple Romanian counties, DIICOT said Thursday in a press release. At the same time, property searches were also being conducted in the U.S., Germany, U.K., and the Dominican Republic, the agency said.

Seventy people have been detained in Romania and have been brought in for questioning at the DIICOT central headquarters. The agency has identified four individuals who are believed to be the leaders of several criminals groups that formed the credit card fraud network. Combined, these groups have over 100 members, DIICOT said.

The groups did not only target POS terminals, but also ATMs with the use of skimming devices, DIICOT said. The fraud losses are estimated at over €2 million (US$2.5 million).

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags Criminalsecurityphysical securitylegalmalwarecybercrimefraud

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Lucian Constantin

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Essentials

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?