Arrests in Bulgarian Fraud SchemeElectronic Payment Fraud, Currency Counterfeiting Alleged
Bulgarian and French authorities have made 11 arrests in an effort to take down a Bulgarian organized crime network suspected of a variety of crimes, including electronic payment fraud and currency counterfeiting.
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On May 20, authorities, working with the European Cybercrime Centre at Europol and Eurojust, made the arrests and conducted 29 house searches in Bulgaria, mainly in the cities of Silistra, Varna and Razgrad.
Three production sites for skimming equipment were discovered and dismantled in Varna during the raids. Micro camera bars, card readers, pieces of electronics and plastic cards ready to be encoded were seized, according to Europol, the European Union's law enforcement agency.
Complete equipment to produce counterfeit bank cards, which included magnetic stripe readers and writers, computers, phones and flash drives, also were seized, Europol says. Police also confiscated dozens of forged payment cards with records of PIN numbers ready to be used at ATMs, according to authorities.
The alleged conspirators harvested financial data from ATMs in France, as well as other EU countries, which they then used to create fake payment cards, authorities say. The fake cards were then allegedly used to withdraw large amounts of cash from ATMs outside the European Union, including the Philippines, Malaysia and Indonesia.
"Crime is conducted more and more online and its character is increasingly transnational," says Rob Wainwright, director of Europol. "This operation against payment fraud shows the international scale of organized crime, which affects citizens, businesses and our collective security. It also shows the effective and ever-increasing cooperation among the international law enforcement community and their effective response to the evolving threats of organized crime."
Recently, Europol, along with cooperation from international law enforcement, took part in a takedown that led to more than 90 individuals being arrested for their alleged involvement in the creation, distribution and use of the BlackShades malware (see: Malware Takedown Leads to 90 Arrests).