Monday, 18 July 2011

Europol busts international cross border skimming operation

Europol has just had a resounding success in the fight against organised criminals conducting international card skimming operations.  An operation code-named Operation Night Clone has resulted in 61 arrests in 5 countries - including 2 in the USA.  It is estimated that the criminal group targeted caused losses of €50 million as a result of card skimming in the EU, with the majority of these losses occurring outside the EU.  Both Europol and the European ATM Security Team (EAST) have been bringing focus onto the fact that as long as magnetic stripes remain on EU payment cards, these cards will remain vulnerable to skimming.  Both organisations have also noted that an increasing number of skimming related losses from compromised EU cards are now occurring outside the EU, with a growing percentage being seen in the USA.

Operation Night Clone has taken out one of the most significant international criminal groups active in the field of card skimming.  The criminal leaders were based in Bulgaria where 47 arrests were made.  The European Commission (EC) has expressed satisfaction with the operation with the EU Commissioner for Home Affairs, Cecilia Malmstrom, saying that the EC is committed to exploring all possible opportunities to reverse the effects of the skimming problem.  The European Central Bank has called on several occasions for magnetic stripes to be removed from EU payment cards.

There are calls in the USA, led by the US Federal Reserve bank of Atlanta, for the development of a well-thought-out, participatory, multi-year plan to move the country to the emerging global payments EMV card standard......calls that have been echoed in this blog. 

At least the skimming issue is now moving up the Agendas of these important organisations, good news for card holders and for all those involved in the fight against such crime!

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