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Police have arrested 44 members of a global fraud gang believed to have stolen roughly 36,000 credit card details, in a joint operation between Romania's Cybercrime Unit and Europol.
According to Europol, the group worked by compromising card reading devices and installing malware on point of sale systems, to steal credit and debit card numbers and PINs.
Police uncovered two workshops set up to produce rogue devices and software to enable the fraud, as part of its sting operation.
The crooks are believed to have used the skimmed cards to make purchases in Argentina, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Japan, Mexico, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Thailand and US, as well as establishing what the police describe as a “sophisticated network for online fraud".
“This case is another example of excellent police work and flawless cooperation and a proof of the fact that EU law enforcement co-operation continues to improve.” says Troels Oerting, head of the European Cybercrime Centre (EC3) at Europol.
The operation – dubbed Pandora-Storm – involved 400 police from 20 different agencies in Europe, the US and Australia.
According to Europol levels of card fraud in Europe account for about €1.5bn a year.
Earlier this month, Europol claimed it had broken up an Asian card fraud gang, which is believed to have stolen 15,000 card details.