European Money Mule Action (EMMA 5) leads to 228 Arrests

The 5th European Money Mule Action (EMMA 5) resulted in 228 arrests.  3833 money mules were identified alongside 386 money mule recruiters. 1025 criminal investigations were opened, many of them still ongoing.  Money mule schemes rope in victims who are often unaware that the money they are sending is part of an elaborate money laundering scheme.

EMMA 5, which ran from September to November 2019, was driven by Law enforcement authorities from 31 countries, supported by Europol and Eurojust.  Supported by the European Banking Federation (EBF), over 650 banks, 17 bank associations and other financial institutions helped to report 7520 fraudulent money mule transactions, preventing a total loss of €12.9 million.

Europol and Eurojust organised various operational and coordination meetings in The Hague to discuss the unique approach of each Member State to tackle money muling in their respective country. During the three-month action, Europol supported the operations by assisting the national authorities with cross-checks against Europol’s databases and intelligence gathering for further analysis, while Eurojust contributed to the swift forwarding and facilitation of the execution of European Investigation Orders.

WHAT ARE MONEY MULES?

Money mules, unlike their drug-trade counterparts, are not shuffling illicit goods over a physical border. Instead, they take part – often unknowingly – in money laundering activities by receiving and transferring illegally obtained money between bank accounts and/or countries. Recruiters of money mules are coming up with ingenious ways to lure in their candidates. This year, cases involving romance scams were reported on the rise, with criminals increasingly recruiting money mules on online dating sites, grooming their victims over time to convince them to open bank accounts under the guise of sending or receiving funds. Criminals are also more and more turning to social media to recruit new accomplices through get-rich-quick online advertisements. This technique is particularly popular when it comes to targeting students and young adults.

DON’T BE A MULE!

Even if money mules act unwittingly, they are committing a crime. Law enforcement will turn first to whoever’s name features on the bank account, and the legal consequences can be severe. Depending on the country’s legal framework, mules may face lengthy imprisonments and acquire a criminal record that could seriously affect the rest of their lives, such as never being able to secure a mortgage or open a bank account.

Raising awareness of the issue is vital and the Europol website provides key information on Money Muling and how to prevent it.  The Europe-wide money muling awareness campaign #DontbeaMule started yesterday. With awareness-raising material, available for download in 25 languages, the campaign informs the public about how these criminals operate, how they can protect themselves and what to do if they become a victim.

Following on from EMMA 5, and for the next week, international partners from law enforcement and judicial authorities, together with financial institutions, will be supporting the campaign at national level.

Do you think you might be used as a mule? Act now before it is too late: stop transferring money and notify your bank and your national police immediately.


The EAST Payments Task Force (EPTF) provides a public/private sector platform which focusses on raising awareness of payment crime issues and related factors such as money muling.

 

Europol publishes German language version of ATM Logical Attack Guidelines

EuropolATM has just published a German language version of guidelines to help industry and law enforcement counter the ATM Logical Attack threat.  The English version of the document was officially launched in January 2019 at the 17th Meeting of the EAST Expert Group on All Terminal Fraud (EAST EGAF).  The document is now available in EnglishFrench, German, Spanish and Russian.

The production of this document was coordinated by EAST EGAF.  It has three sections:

  1. Description of Modi Operandi (Beschreibung Der Vorgehensweise)
  2. Mitigating the risk of ATM Logical and Malware Attacks, Setting up Lines of Defence (Risiken Für Logische System-Angriffe Und Malware-Attacken Auf Geldautomaten Verringern, Abwehrmechanismen Etablieren)
  3. Identifying and responding  to Logical and Malware Attacks (Logische Systemangriffe Und Malware-Attacken Erkennen Und Darauf Reagieren)

The Guidelines were first published in 2015 and this latest version provides clearer definitions and greater clarity of the criminal methods and techniques encountered in these attacks, along with more detailed recommendations on how to mount a robust and effective response to them.  The recent fall in ATM malware and logical attacks, as reported by EAST in the latest European Payment Terminal Crime Report published in October 2019, reflects the work that has been put into preventing such attacks by the industry and law enforcement.

Circulation of the document is restricted to Law Enforcement and to the banking and payments industry, which includes EAST Members (National and Associate).

GAAD cracks down on airline CNP fraud with 79 arrests

GAADThe 12th Global Airline Action Days (GAAD), which ran from 18 – 22 November 2019 and resulted in the arrest or detention of 79 individuals suspected of travelling with airline tickets bought using stolen, compromised or fake credit card details. GAAD was coordinated from Command Posts at Europol in the The Hague, INTERPOL Global Complex for Innovation in Singapore, Ameripol and Colombia in Bogota, Canada and NCFTA (with the US Secret Service) in the US.

Some of the reported cases were linked to illegal immigration, where the arrested passengers were in possession of counterfeited IDs or valid documents from other persons from different nationalities.  Card-not-present (CNP) fraud, the purchase of physical goods with compromised cards, has significantly increased throughout the EU and across many sectors such as, airline tickets, car rentals and accommodation. Tens of thousands of crimes are reported in many EU countries and volume is increasing every year.

Airline companies are among the most affected by CNP fraud.  It is estimated that losses for the airline industry globally have reached close to 1 billion USD per year, as a result of the fraudulent online purchases of flight tickets. These online transactions are highly lucrative for organised crime and are often linked to more serious criminal activities including irregular immigration, trafficking in human beings, drug smuggling and terrorism.

Eurojust assisted during the action days, together with the European Border and Coast Guard Agency (Frontex), which deployed officers to 28 airports. The Airport Communication Project (AIRCOP), implemented by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) in partnership with INTERPOL and the World Customs Organization (WCO) and counting the European Union as its main donor, also took part in law enforcement activities at airports in Africa, by deploying one officer at the main Command Post in Europol HQ.

Representatives from airlines, online travel agencies, payment card companies, the International Air Transport Association (IATA), European Airline Fraud Prevention Group and Perseuss, collaborated with Europol’s experts to identify suspicious transactions and provide confirmation to law enforcement officers deployed in the airports.  Europol’s European Migrant Smuggling Centre (EMSC) joined this year’s operation to provide better support to EU Member States and partners for fighting migrant smuggling networks. The GAAD operation was further supported by the Taskforce Travel Intelligence (TFTI).

Wil van Gemert, Europol’s Deputy Executive Director Operations, said “Airline ticket fraud is borderless by nature. This operation was the culmination of many months of meticulous planning between Europol, law enforcement, judiciary and border agencies, airlines and credit card companies, and is a perfect example of how our combined forces can make distinctive contribution in the fight against these criminal syndicates operating across borders”.

Paul Stanfield, INTERPOL’s Director, Organized & Emerging Crime, commented “The Global Airline Action Day operation is an excellent example of how collaboration between the agencies as well as the public and private sectors serves to tackle and prevent crime such as credit card fraud. The operation was underpinned by professional commitment and mutual support across borders between national, regional and international police organizations”.

Cooperation and information exchange between the public and the private sector is the most efficient way of fighting tickets fraud and all other forms of organised crime, such as irregular immigration, trafficking in human beings, drug trafficking.  The EAST Payments Task Force (EPTF) provides a public/private sector platform which focusses on driving down CNP fraud.

Europol publishes Russian language version of ATM Logical Attack Guidelines

ATM Logical Attack GuidelinesEuropol has just published a Russian language version of guidelines to help industry and law enforcement counter the ATM Logical Attack threat.  The English version of the document was officially launched in January 2019 at the 17th Meeting of the EAST Expert Group on All Terminal Fraud (EAST EGAF).  The document is now available in English, French, Spanish and Russian.

The production of this document was coordinated by EAST EGAF.  It has three sections:

  1. Description of Modi Operandi (ОПИСАНИЕ CПОСОБОВ РЕАЛИЗАЦИИ АТАК)
  2. Mitigating the risk of ATM Logical and Malware Attacks, Setting up Lines of Defence (МИНИМИЗАЦИЯ РИСКА ЛОГИЧЕСКИХ АТАК И АТАК С ПРИМЕНЕНИЕМ ВРЕДОНОСНОГО ПО, УСТАНОВКА ЛИНИЙ ЗАЩИТЫ)
  3. Identifying and responding  to Logical and Malware Attacks (ИДЕНТИФИКАЦИЯ И РЕАГИРОВАНИЕ НА ЛОГИЧЕСКИЕ АТАКИ)

The Guidelines were first published in 2015 and this latest version provides clearer definitions and greater clarity of the criminal methods and techniques encountered in these attacks, along with more detailed recommendations on how to mount a robust and effective response to them.  The recent fall in ATM malware and logical attacks, as reported by EAST in the latest European Payment Terminal Crime Report published in October 2019, reflects the work that has been put into preventing such attacks by the industry and law enforcement.

Circulation of the document is restricted to Law Enforcement and to the banking and payments industry, which includes EAST Members (National and Associate).

Europol’s AG-Financial Services meets in The Hague

EAST Development Director Rui Carvalho participated in and presented at a meeting of Europol’s Advisory Group on Financial Services (AG-Financial Services) on 20th November 2019 in The Hague.  The AG-Financial Services advises the Programme Board of the European Cybercrime Centre (EC3) at Europol. Its purpose is to:

  • bring knowledge and expertise to the Programme Board on the impact of cybercrime on financial services and on how this sector and law enforcement can cooperate in the prevention and combating of cybercrime;
  • update and share all relevant information and expertise on developments in the area of cybercrime that affect financial services;
  • assist the Programme Board in defining priorities for the work of EC3 in this area, including by advising on the cooperation with the financial services and on developing concepts for enhanced prevention;
  • advise the Programme Board on increasing the sharing/exchange of information between law enforcement and financial services

Rui Carvalho is also Chair of the EAST Payments Task Force (EPTF) which has great synergy with AG- Financial Services in that its remit, as a public-private sector expert working group, covers the impact of cybercrime on financial services.

EAST Publishes European Fraud Update 3-2019

European FraudEAST has just published its third European Fraud Update for 2019. This is based on country crime updates given by representatives of 16 countries in the Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA), and 4 non-SEPA countries, at the 49th EAST Meeting held in London on 8th October 2019.

Payment fraud issues were reported by seventeen countries. Social engineering is a key concern. Seven countries reported phishing attacks. One of them stated that fraudsters are using phishing to get targets for fake web campaigns where consumers can win money, and another reported fake web surveys aimed at getting consumer data. In one country the quality of vishing calls is improving, where the people making the spoof calls are very believable and often have local accents from the customer’s home area. Impersonation fraud was reported by four countries – in one of them police officers are impersonated, and another reported spoof calls being received by customers from bank call centres.

Card Not Present (CNP) fraud was reported by six countries. One of them reported CNP fraud at digital media players. Contactless fraud was reported by two countries – in one of them it is related to lost and stolen cards, and in the other card present (CP) transactions are being made at small merchants up to the allowed limit. To date in 2019 the EAST Payments Task Force (EPTF)  has issued five related Payment Alerts.

ATM malware and logical attacks were reported by five countries – one reported a new way of getting malware onto an ATM, that did not succeed, and four reported the usage (or attempted usage) of ‘black-box’ devices to allow the unauthorised dispensing of cash. To date in 2019 the EAST Expert Group on All Terminal Fraud (EGAF) has published seven related Fraud Alerts.

Card skimming at ATMs was reported by thirteen countries. Overall skimming incidents in Europe continue to decline. Three countries reported the usage of ‘M3 – Card Reader Internal Skimming devices’, and the most recent variants continue to be made of transparent plastic. To date in 2019 EAST EGAF has published thirteen related Fraud Alerts. Year to date International skimming related losses were reported in 41 countries and territories outside SEPA and in 4 within SEPA. The top three locations where such losses were reported remain Indonesia, India and the USA.

Four countries reported card trapping attacks, one of them reporting such attacks at fake terminals, designed to resemble lobby door opening devices at bank branches.

Ram raids and ATM burglary were reported by nine countries and twelve countries reported explosive gas attacks. After one such attack collateral damage of over €200,000 was reported. Six countries reported solid explosive attacks. The usage of Triacetone Triperoxide (TATP) for solid explosive attacks is increasing across Europe. This explosive is also known as the ‘Mother of Satan’. Mixing TAPT is a complicated procedure that requires good knowledge of the chemicals, as there is a danger of setting off an unexpected explosion.

The spread of such attacks is of great concern to the industry due to the risk to life and to the significant amount of collateral damage to equipment and buildings. To date in 2019 the EAST Expert Group on ATM & ATS Physical Attacks (EGAP) has published nine related Physical Attack Alerts.

The full European Fraud Update is available to EAST Members (National and Associate).

EPTF holds Sixth Meeting

EPTFThe Sixth Meeting of the EAST Payments Task Force (EPTF) took place on Wednesday 13th November 2019 at the Banking & Payments Federation Ireland (BPFI) in Dublin.

The EPTF is a specialist task force that discusses security issues affecting the payments industry and that gathers, collates and disseminates related information, trends and general statistics.

The meeting was chaired by Mr Rui Carvalho, EAST Development Director, and was attended by key representatives from Card Issuers, International Banks, Law Enforcement, Payment Processors and Solution Providers.

Presentations or updates were given by EuropolEVRY Norge AS, HSBCPLUSCARD Gmbh, and SIBS.  There was also a detailed discussion on fraud and payment crime reporting, with a focus on how EAST can help national representatives by creating an updated template for this.

The Group, which meets twice a year, adds value to the payments industry by using the unique and extensive EAST National Member platform and Associate Member network to provide information and outputs that are not currently available elsewhere.  EAST National Members represent 35 countries and outputs from the group are presented to National Member Meetings.  There are 213 EAST Associate Member Organisations from 53 countries and territories.

EAST Presents at second P3 CyberFraud Training

P3 CyberFraud TrainingEAST Development Director Rui Carvalho participated at the second P3 CyberFraud training. The event, which was organised by the European Cyber Crime and Fraud Investigators (ECCFI), ran from 5-7 November 2019 and took place in the Finlandia Hall in Helsinki. It was the second training session of the P3 Cyberfraud Project, which is funded by the ‘European Union Internal Security Fund – Police’.

ECCFI is a registered, non-profit association. In addition to supporting the P3 Cyberfraud Project, the purpose of ECCFI is to promote cyber security in Europe, especially secure payment methods. In addition to cyber security, the purpose is to assure online security by bringing together different authorities as well as the private sector security professionals.

EAST is an Associate Partner of ECCFI and the EAST Payments Task Force (EPTF), chaired by Rui Carvalho, has a specific focus in this area

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.

STAY SAFE 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.

 

EAST FCS ATM Physical Attacks Seminar 2019

ATM Physical Attacks

ATM Physical AttacksAn EAST FCS ATM Physical Attacks Seminar was held on 9th October 2019 in London, co-located with RBRs ATM & Cyber Security 2019 Conference. The interactive event followed the basic structure of work group meetings held by the EAST Expert Group on ATM & ATS Physical Attacks (EGAP). This group, which meets twice a year, provides a platform for law enforcement and private sector experts to come together and share attack information, trends and statistics in a structured manner.

ATM Physical AttacksThe event was chaired by Sarah Staff of SaferCash.  EAST Executive Director Lachlan Gunn gave an overview of EAST and EGAP, highlighting new definitions produced by the group, before presenting the latest ATM Physical Attack Statistics from the H1 2019 European Payment Terminal Crime Report.

Miguel-Angel Villanueva-Guijarro of Europol then gave a high level view of the ATM physical attack situation across Europe and how Europol is structured to handle cross-border cases.  This was followed by threat assessments from Europe and South Africa:

  • France – Guillaume Bourez – OCLDI
  • Netherlands – Marc Wosten – Dutch National Police
  • Spain – Daniel Zorzo Lopez – Guardia Civil
  • South Africa – Gregory Singh – SABRIC
  • United Kingdom – Neil Smyth – Metropolitan Police Service

These were followed by a presentation on banknote infrared (IR) recognition by David Milner of EURICPA and Niels Riedel of the ECB.  This covered, from the perspective of the ECB, the current position with regard to how banknote sorting machines will detect banknotes with IR markers, as well as a look at the future.

ATM Physical AttacksThe event concluded with a Question and Answer session chaired by Sarah Staff and with Daniel Zorzo Lopez, Miguel-Angel Villanueva-Guijarro, Marc Wosten, Gregory Singh and David Milner on the Panel.

Attendance at the regular EAST EGAP work group meetings is limited and this event enabled active participation and input from a much wider pool of expertise.

More information on the event can be found on the EAST Events Website


2019 EAST FCS ATM Physical Attack Seminar Sponsors