Europol busts cybercrime group behind credit card fraud
German and Lithuanian authorities have arrested fifteen members of a cybercrime group that carried out more than 35,000 incidents of online fraud since 2012.
The cyber criminals were caught as a result of a five-year-long operation, dubbed Operation Warenagent, carried out by the German Prosecutor’s Office of Dresden, the Saxon State Office of Criminal Investigation, the Lithuanian Police and the Lithuanian Prosecutor's Office with assistance from Europol and Eurojust.
The cybercrime group inflicted losses worth EUR 18 million to organisations and individuals who became victims of their online fraud operations. Its members were well-spread out across Europe and were caught by authorities in Cyprus, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania, Switzerland, Ukraine and the UK, according to online publication Teiss.
The criminals were using stolen or fraudulently-obtained credit card information to order high-quality goods from various mail order companies. These goods were then collected by mules hired by the cybercrime group who, in turn, sent the goods to new addresses, most of which were in Eastern Europe.
The extensive use of mules ensured that the group members carried out their online fraud activities for years without revealing their identity. Moreover, the criminals hired their mules by disguising their requirements as legitimate job opportunities and by offering commissions.