Carding Action by Police prevents €40 million in losses

EFECCCarding Action 2020, an operation led by law enforcement agencies from Italy and Hungary and supported by the UK and Europol, targeted fraudsters selling and purchasing compromised card details on websites selling stolen credit card data, known as ‘card shops’, and ‘dark web marketplaces’.

The operation sought to mitigate and prevent losses for financial institutions and cardholders. Group-IB and card schemes worked in close cooperation with police authorities from the countries involved. During the three-month operation, 90,000 pieces of card data were analysed and prevented approximately €40 million in losses.

Europol facilitated the coordination and the information exchange between law enforcement authorities and partners from the private sector. Europol’s experts provided operational analysis on large volumes of data and supported with expertise in the field of payment card fraud.

“Cybercrime can affect all aspects of our daily life, from paying in the supermarket, transferring money to our friends to using online communication tools or Internet of Things devices at home. Cybercriminals can attack us in different ways and this requires a robust response not only from law enforcement, but also from the private sector,” said Edvardas Sileris, Head of Europol’s European Cybercrime Centre (EC3). “With more than €40 million in losses prevented, Carding Action 2020 is a great example of how sharing information between private industries and law enforcement authorities is a key in combating the rising trend of e-skimming and preventing criminals from profiting on the back of EU citizens…..” he added.

The expansion of e-skimming attacks targeting merchant point of sale systems and e-commerce merchants also influenced the significant increase of prevented losses. As reported in Europol’s iOCTA 2020, card-not-present (CNP) fraud is a criminal threat in constant evolution, generating millions of euros of losses and affecting thousands of victims from across the EU.

The EAST Payments Task Force (EPTF) is a public-private sector platform that focusses on tackling the issues of e-skimming and payment fraud.

COVID-19 impact on Non-Cash Payment Fraud

EAST Executive Director Lachlan Gunn presented at a webinar organised by the European Union Agency for Law Enforcement Training (CEPOL) that focussed on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Non-Cash Payment Fraud.  The webinar took place on Thursday 29 October and was attended by over 80 representatives from European Law Enforcement Agencies and Judicial Authorities specialised in electronic payment fraud investigations.

The objective of the webinar was to raise awareness of:

  • different trends and typologies of electronic payment frauds (Card Present Fraud and Card Not Present Fraud);
  • public-private cooperation and role of the private sector in combatting non-cash payment fraud.

The EAST presentation highlighted the role played by EAST in combatting financial crime, how its public/private sector platforms operate, and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.  The key topics covered by EAST were:

2nd Interim EAST Meeting – National and Global Members

A second Interim Meeting of EAST National and Global Members took place on Wednesday 7th October 2020. Due to the Covid-19 situation, it was conducted as a virtual meeting. The meeting was chaired by Rui Carvalho, EAST Development Director.  The 1st EAST Global Congress is now scheduled to be held in February 2021, dependant on the prevailing status of the pandemic.

Law enforcement overviews were provided by EuropolINTERPOL and the Gulf Cooperation Council Police (GCCPOL).  Two presentations were made by Europol: one from the European Cybercrime Centre (EC3) covered the recent publication of their Internet Organised Crime Threat Assessment (IOCTA 2020), focussed on criminal trends relating to Covid-19, and prevention and awareness; the other covered Physical ATM attacks across Europe.  The INTERPOL presentation covered the impact of Covid-19 on Financial crimes from the global perspective and the GCCPOL presentation covered payment and fraud issues seen by their 6 member countries.

Updates were received from 28 countries, either directly or via a global update by HSBC. As with the previous meeting, the key focus remained on the impact of the coronavirus crisis and each update covered Fraud Types, Fraud Origin, Due Diligence and Physical Attacks (ATM, ATS and CIT).

EAST Fraud Update 3-2020 will be produced during October, based on the country updates provided at the Interim EAST Meeting. EAST Fraud, Payment and Physical Attack Updates are available on the EAST Intranet to EAST Members.

How ‘Virtual Cards’ Could Mitigate Merchant Fraud Risk

Virtual payment cards being tested in Europe and the United States could help mitigate the risk of merchant fraud, says EAST Development Director Rui Carvalho in an interview with Suparna Goswami of FraudToday.io.  Rui, who also chairs the EAST Payments Task Force (EPTF), is an industry expert on secure transactions and new approaches to payment security.

A virtual card, also known as electronic card, is a unique 16-digit card number that’s created online solely for a single use between a payer and a payee.  It can help stop merchant fraud, such as when a merchant applies for a merchant account without any intention of actually operating a legitimate business and then processes fraudulent transactions.

‘Virtual cards provide a lot of security because you create your virtual card based on your normal card and the number that is used for a specific merchant is no longer valid’ Rui said in the interview that also covered:

  • Merchant fraud trends;
  • The technologies, including virtual cards, that can mitigate risks;
  • The countries with the highest risks of merchant fraud.

The full interview can be seen on the FraudToday website.

EAST Publishes European Fraud Update 1-2020

EAST has just published its first European Fraud Update for 2020. This is based on country crime updates given by representatives of 18 countries in the Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA), and 2 non-SEPA countries, at the 50th EAST meeting held in Vienna on 12th February 2020.

Payment fraud issues were reported by eighteen countries. Seven countries reported CNP fraud occurring worldwide. One reported that the card data is either bought in bulk or obtained via card testing/BIN attacks. The attackers use scripts/bots (not real people) to conduct the fraud. Four countries reported BIN attacks. One reported that they are originating from the Middle East for the first time and another reported them in relation to both CP and CNP fraud, with losses reported in the USA, the UK and Brazil. Two countries reported Account Takeover Fraud, one of them in connection with SIM swapping.

Six countries reported phishing. One reported the use of fake emails by criminals to impersonate bank customers, claiming that their bank account details have changed. Another reported that online banking was targeted, and a third country reported phishing using social networks, with related fraud occurring in China. Three countries reported SMS phishing (Smishing). One of them reported this related to token validation transactions – the IP addresses are in Morocco and the fraud occurs in an EU country with losses via Western Union.

To date in 2020 the EAST Payments Task Force (EPTF) has published one related Payment Alert.

ATM malware and logical attacks were reported by twelve countries – one reported successful ATM malware attacks where ‘Cutlet Maker’ was used, and ten reported the usage (or attempted usage) of ‘black-box’ devices to allow the unauthorised dispensing of cash. To date in 2020 the EAST Expert Group on All Terminal Fraud (EGAF) has published one related Fraud Alert.

Card skimming at ATMs was reported by ten countries, and the downward trend continues. Six countries reported the usage of ‘M3 – Card Reader Internal Skimming devices’, and the usage of ‘M1 – Overlay Skimming Devices’ and ‘M2 – Throat Inlay Skimming Devices’ was also reported. Skimming attacks on other terminal types were reported by eight countries. Four reported attacks on unattended payment terminals (UPTs) at petrol stations, and three reported attacks at railway ticket machines. To date in 2020 EAST EGAF has published four related Fraud Alerts.

Year to date International skimming related losses were reported in 14 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.

Five countries reported card trapping attacks, one of them reporting a new method that allows several cards to be captured in one attack. Three countries reported transaction reversal fraud (TRF) incidents. To date in 2020 EAST EGAF has published two related Fraud Alerts.

Ram raids and ATM burglary were reported by eleven countries and eleven countries reported explosive gas attacks, one of which resulted in a fatality. Eight countries reported solid explosive attacks. The usage of Triacetone Triperoxide (TATP) for solid explosive attacks continues to increase across Europe. 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 2020 the EAST Expert Group on ATM & ATS Physical Attacks (EGAP) has published two related Physical Attack Alerts.

The full European Fraud Update is available to EAST Members (National, Global 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, 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 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.

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).

47th EAST Meeting hosted by SIBS in Lisbon

The 47th Meeting of EAST National Members was hosted by SIBS at the SANA Metropolitan Hotel in Lisbon on 6th February 2019. National country crime updates were provided by 21 countries, and a global update by HSBC.  Topics covered included payment fraud and the evolution of payment technology, ATM malware and logical attacks, terminal related fraud attacks and ATM related physical attacks.

Presentations were also given by the EAST Payments Task Force (EPTF) and the EAST Expert Group on All Terminal Fraud (EGAF).  An update was given by the EAST Expert Group on ATM and ATS Physical Attacks (EGAP).

EAST Fraud Update 1-2019 will be produced in early March, based on the national country crime updates provided at the meeting.  EAST Fraud Updates are available on the EAST Website to EAST Members.

EAST Publishes European Fraud Update 3-2018

European FraudEAST has published its third European Fraud Update for 2018. This is based on country crime updates given by representatives of 15 countries in the Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA), and 3 non-SEPA countries, at the 46th EAST meeting held in London on 9th October 2018.

Payment fraud issues were reported by fourteen countries. Seven countries reported card-not-present (CNP) as a key fraud driver. One country reported merchant manipulation of settlement files to force through authorisations on POS terminals – once the forced transaction is through on a card the merchant cashes out using it. One country reported malware related to two APT attacks – some Chinese criminals are under observation in connection with them. Another country reported impersonation fraud relating to bill payments – possibly involving collusive postal workers. To date in 2018 the EAST Payments Task Force (EPTF) has published six Payment Alerts covering phishing, malware on mobile phones, fraudulent mobile Apps, CNP fraud and Technological fraud. The EPTF has recently published payment terminology and definitions.

ATM malware and logical security attacks were reported by seven countries.  Four of the countries reported ATM related malware and six countries reported the usage (or attempted usage) of ‘black-box’ devices to allow the unauthorised dispensing of cash.  To date in 2018 the EAST Expert Group on All Terminal Fraud (EGAF) has published eleven related Fraud Alerts.

Card skimming at ATMs was reported by fourteen countries.  The overall trend is downward, as the recently published EAST European Payment Terminal Crime Report covering January to June 2018 highlights.  The usage of M3 – Card Reader Internal Skimming devices was reported by four countries and one country reported the use of M2 – Throat Inlay Skimming Devices.  Skimming attacks on other terminal types were reported by five countries, three of which reported such attacks on unattended payment terminals (UPTs) at petrol stations.  One country reported that a series of shimming devices at POS terminals had been detected and taken down.  To date in 2018 EAST EGAF has published twelve related Fraud Alerts.

Year to date International skimming related losses were reported in 44 countries and territories outside SEPA and in 6 within SEPA.  The top three locations where such losses were reported remain Indonesia, the USA and India.

Six countries reported incidents of Transaction Reversal Fraud (TRF), one of which reported a new attack variant where the criminals use a ‘chip-on-a-strip’.  To date in 2018 EAST EGAF has published five related Fraud Alerts.

Ram raids and ATM burglary were reported by eight countries and eight countries reported explosive gas attacks, one of which reported that two people had been sent to hospital due to related smoke inhalation.  Five countries reported solid explosive attacks.  The spread of such attacks has long been of great concern to the industry due to the risk to life and to the significant amount of collateral damage to equipment and buildings.  One such attack resulted in the death of a person, the first time that this has been reported.  To date in 2018 the EAST Expert Group on ATM & ATS Physical Attacks (EGAP) has published seven related Physical Attack Alerts.

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

46th EAST Meeting hosted by LINK in London

EASTThe 46th Meeting of EAST National Members was hosted by the LINK scheme in London on 9th October 2018. National country crime updates were provided by 18 countries, and a global update by HSBC.  Topics covered included payment fraud and the evolution of payment technology, ATM malware and logical attacks, terminal related fraud attacks and ATM related physical attacks.

Europol gave a presentation which included information on the latest Internet Organised Crime Threat Assessment (IOCTA) 2018.

Presentations were also given by the EAST Expert Group on All Terminal Fraud (EGAF) and the EAST Expert Group on ATM and ATS Physical Attacks (EGAP).  An update was given by the EAST Payments Task Force (EPTF).

EAST Fraud Update 3-2018 will be produced later this month, based on the national country crime updates provided at the meeting.  EAST Fraud Updates are available on the EAST Website to EAST Members.