Romania: Credit Card Fraud Ring Dismantled

Published: 28 November 2012


Romanian law enforcement authorities have dismantled a criminal group that stole credit card data from foreign companies. The cybercrime operation resulted in fraudulent transactions totaling $25 million, the IDG news service reports.

Officers from the country's organized crime police, working with prosecutors from the Romanian Directorate for Investigating Organized Crime and Terrorism (DIICOT), executed 36 search warrants on Tuesday at residential addresses across Romania and arrested 16 individuals suspected of being members of the credit card fraud ring.

According to a press release on the DIICOT website, the group's members hacked into computer systems belonging to foreign companies that operate gas stations and grocery stores and installed computer applications designed to intercept credit card transaction data.

The applications were configured to store the captured data locally for later retrieval, upload it automatically to external servers or send it to email addresses controlled by the gang's members, the agency said. The stolen credit card information was then sold or used to create counterfeit cards.

For example, between December 2011 and October 2012 members of the group sold 68,000 credit cards at $4 each through an online shop, making a profit of $270,000, according to DIICOT.

The group opened several IT services companies in Romania and used them for the specific purpose of building and maintaining a computer infrastructure that would support its criminal operation, a DIICOT spokeswoman said Tuesday.

According to IDG news, the spokeswoman confirmed that the companies targeted by the fraud ring are not from Romania, but declined to name them or reveal in which countries they operate because the investigation is ongoing.

The criminal operation resulted in fraudulent transactions totaling more than $25 million and involved more than 500,000 credit cards, the agency said Tuesday.