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60 arrested in connection with e-commerce fraud

e-commerce fraud

Advisory Group on Financial ServicesA joint law enforcement operation, coordinated by Europol’s European Cybercrime Centre (EC3) and  supported by 19 countries, led to the arrest of 60 people suspected of e-commerce fraud. The main aim of the 2019 e-Commerce Action (eComm 2019) is to target criminal networks suspected of online fraud through coordinated law enforcement action within the European Union, followed by an awareness-raising campaign.  The operation ran from 23 September to 4 October 2019.

E-commerce fraud includes illegal or false transactions made on online platforms, apps and services or over the internet: fraudsters simply use stolen card information to purchase goods on webshops.  The suspects arrested during the operation were responsible for almost 6,500 fraudulent transactions with compromised credit cards, with an estimated value exceeding €5 million.

Europol supported national competent authorities during the operations in their respective countries with analytical support and information exchange. In order to protect customers from fraudulent payments and assure a safe online environment, Europol also collaborated with banks, payment card schemes European retailers and logistics companies. The private sector supported the action cooperating with national law enforcement authorities, by reporting fraudulent activity. This collaboration between law enforcement and the private sector has proven beneficial and led to the development of best practices.

To protect consumers and provide them with more information, the Payment Service Directive 2 (PSD 2) came into effect in September 2019. One important aspect of the PSD 2 is described as Secure Customer Authentication (SCA), a secure process for customers when paying online.


It is always better to prevent a crime, rather than solve a crime. This operational action was followed by a prevention and awareness-raising campaign, #BuySafePaySafe. There are a number of guidance measures you can follow to avoid becoming a victim of fraud:

  • make sure the device you are using to make online purchases is properly configured and the internet connection is safe;
  • using a card is a safe method of payment online as long as you exercise the same care as in other shopping;
  • there are simple warning signs that can help you identify scams. If you are a victim of online fraud, report it to the police. If you bought the product with a credit or debit card, report it to your bank as well;
  • check your online banking service regularly. Notify your bank immediately if you see payments or withdrawals that you have not made yourself.​

Read more about safe online shopping on e-Commerce: tips and advice to avoid becoming a fraud victim. and watch the below video to see how making the wrong choice can be very costly.

The EAST Payments Task Force (EPTF) is focussed on security issues affecting the payments industry, such as e-commerce fraud.


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