European and Malaysian authorities arrested 105 suspects who they claim are part of an international crime ring that fabricated fake credit cards and used them to defraud users all over the world, being responsible for illegal transactions of more than €5 million ($5.5 million).

Authorities arrested 29 suspects in Malaysia and another 76 in Europe, following a two-year investigation. They also raided two locations where the organized crime group was producing illegal but very high-quality fake credit cards.

The criminals were supposedly using stolen credit card details to manufacture fake credit cards, which they would later use in electronic stores or duty-free shops at airports all over the world. Most of the time, crooks were buying jewelry or expensive watches at European airports, later reselling these goods for cash.

Authorities confiscated over 3,000 fake credit cards

During their raids, authorities confiscated over 3,000 fake credit cards and seized sophisticated equipment used to ensure that the credit cards are not detected by merchants. Additionally, authorities also seized fake passports, cameras, jewelry, and a large amount of cash.

Fourteen European countries participated in the investigation. These were Austria, Belgium, Switzerland, the Czech Republic, Germany, Denmark, Spain, France, Croatia, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, and the United Kingdom.

The investigation was coordinated by Europol’s Europe Cybercrime Centre (C3). In its press release, Europol thanked American Express for their support as well.

It is not uncommon for credit card fraud groups to include pan-continental operations. Usually, crooks steal credit card data using ATM skimmers or acquire the credit card information from online data breaches.

The crooks then use this data in another country so the bank’s national fraud alert system would not be able to pick up the illegal transactions in real time, block them and alert the card’s user.

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