Twenty-four suspects from eight countries were arrested in Card Shop, an operation that the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is describing as “the largest coordinated international law enforcement action in history directed at ‘carding’ crimes.”
“From New York to Norway and Japan to Australia, Operation Card Shop targeted sophisticated, highly organized cyber criminals involved in buying and selling stolen identities, exploited credit cards, counterfeit documents, and sophisticated hacking tools,” FBI Assistant Director in Charge Janice Fedarcyk said Wednesday.
Of the 24 suspects, 11 were arrested in the US, six in the UK, two in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and one each in Bulgaria, Italy, Norway, Germany and Japan.
Four more defendants are still at large.
“The allegations unsealed today chronicle a breathtaking spectrum of cyber schemes and scams…individuals sold credit cards by the thousands and took the private information of untold numbers of people” the FBI stated.
The bureau said that criminals use online “carding forums” to exchange information on card hacking methods, computer-security vulnerabilities, to buy and sell stolen credit or debit card account numbers and technology used to create counterfeit credit or debit cards. The FBI established such a forum in 2010, the “Carder Profit” (the “UC Site”) forum, as a way to track down credit card criminals.
Fraudsters use stolen credit card and personal information to make online purchases, create counterfeit credit cards and identification documents, or they sell the stolen information to other criminals. The defendants freely offered other fraudsters software and Internet tools to enable them to steal credit card information, and even to hijack “unsuspecting consumer’s personal computer camera.”
The two-year investigation was led by the FBI, but included authorities in 13 countries. The U.S. Attorney’s Complex Frauds Unit is handling the case.