Europol Busts 60 Members of an E-Commerce Scam Network in 19 Countries

By Bill Toulas / October 31, 2019

Europol informs the public of the arrest of sixty individuals who are suspect of online fraud. The main goal of the international operation, which covered nineteen countries, was to locate and bring down criminal e-commerce networks, as well as to launch an awareness-raising campaign. The Europol coordinated with national police and other law enforcement bodies in 19 countries, with things like police raids, multi-level user tracking, and the analysis of data that came for numerous sources happening almost simultaneously.

The operation, which took the name “2019 e-commerce Action” resulted in 40 house raids and searches, the discovery of 6500 fraudulent transactions, and the confiscation of many devices, card data, and cash. Speaking of which, the investigators believe that the 60 individuals are responsible for losses of up to five million Euros, while they managed to prevent another €93000 during the operation itself, which took place from September 23 to October 4, 2019.

The investigations that led to the tracking of the fraudsters had a “follow the money” character. Some of them booked railway tickets by using compromised credit card data, while others bought vouchers which they tried to reimburse through other payment methods to hide their tracks. In many cases, there were foreign (outside Europe) banks involved, and so Europol also had to collaborate with other investigation teams. All in all, they recorded more than 1000 fraudulent bookings and transactions that were carried out by the sixty individuals who got arrested in the process.

As we have discussed many times in the past couple of months, e-commerce threats is a particularly problematic area where we see an increasing number of attacks. Actors are using swarms of e-bots and skimming scripts, grabbing the credit card numbers and CVV codes of unsuspecting customers, and then using them to create clone cards, buy stuff online, or simply sell this data to other actors.

If you want to stay safe from all the above, make sure to secure your internet connection, prefer other online payment methods, and look for signs of fraud everywhere. Finally, you should monitor your bank account’s activity regularly, and pinpoint anything that you don’t recognize to your card issuer. The sooner you realize that you have been breached, the better.

Have you ever fallen victim to an e-commerce scam? Share the details with us in the comments section down below, or on our socials, on Facebook and Twitter.

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