An international payment fraud network responsible for large-scale misuse of compromised payment card data, prostitution and money laundering was taken down on 6th September 2016. The operation was conducted by the Italian Polizia Postale e delle Comunicazioni in close cooperation with the Romanian DIICOT, the General Inspectorates of the Romanian Police and Gendarmerie and Europol.
The criminal network, mainly made up of Romanian Nationals, used sophisticated ATM skimming devices which allowed them to compromise ATMs and deceptive phishing techniques to perform a high volume of fraudulent transactions in Italy (in the Milan and Monza areas). It is estimated that related losses ran into several hundred thousands of euros.
During the operation multiple house searches were conducted and 14 people were detained, of which 7 were arrested in Italy and Romania. Thousands of plastic cards ready to be encoded were seized in several locations in Romania and Italy, along with micro camera bars, card readers, magnetic stripe readers and writers, computers, phones and flash drives, and several vehicles.
Europol’s European Cybercrime Centre (EC3) started supporting the case earlier this year and helped the involved law enforcement authorities in their efforts to identify the suspects. Operational meetings were held at Europol’s headquarters in The Hague and EC3 provided analytical support and expertise throughout the investigation including the deployment of a mobile office during the final action day to assist the Italian and Romanian authorities on-the-spot
More information can be found on the Europol website.