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 newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags fraudcybercrimemalwarelegalCriminal

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

Lucian Constantin

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Tom Pope

Dynabook Portégé X30L-G

Ultimately this laptop has achieved everything I would hope for in a laptop for work, while fitting that into a form factor and weight that is remarkable.

Tom Sellers

MSI P65

This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.

Lolita Wang

MSI GT76

It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.

Jack Jeffries

MSI GS75

As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr

MSI PS63

The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Featured Content

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?