Four key members of an international criminal network responsible for payment card fraud – compromising payment card data and illegal transactions against European citizens – were arrested on 30 November 2017, during a joint law enforcement operation called “Neptune”. The operation, which was supported by Europol’s European Cybercrime Centre (EC3), was run by the Italian Carabinieri, in cooperation with the Bulgarian General Directorate of Combating Organised Crime, and the National Police of the Czech Republic.
Four Bulgarian citizens were arrested, leaders of a transnational criminal group who actively supervised all stages of criminal activities, including placing technical equipment on ATMs in the central areas of European cities, producing counterfeit credit cards and subsequently cashing out money from ATMs in non-European countries (such as Belize, Indonesia and Jamaica). During the coordinated action dozens of ATMs were found to have had fraudulent equipment, such as skimming devices and micro cameras, installed. Over 1000 counterfeit credit cards were seized and evidence was collected for many fraudulent international transactions worth over EUR 50,000. Since most of the illegal transactions with counterfeit cards took place overseas, cooperation through dedicated investigative networks set up by Europol was key to the success of the operation.