Five Bulgarian nationals suspected of being involved in an international payment card fraud scheme have been arrested by officers of the Polish National Police. Authorities in Poland have been working with the State Agency for National Security in Bulgaria and Europol’s European Cybercrime Center (EC3).
The arrests took place on January 22, and they were coordinated so that they would be carried out almost simultaneously.
The suspects are said to have forged payment cards and used them for fraudulent transactions. The data utilized to create the fake cards has been obtained from several countries. However, most of the compromised information appears to have come from the United Kingdom.
Two of the five individuals were caught just as they were trying to withdraw money from ATMs using counterfeit cards. The other three were detained in two hotels in the Polish city of Krakow.
One of the suspects caught in a hotel room was receiving stolen card information over the Internet and using it to encode blank cards.
Computers, magnetic stripe readers and writers, flash drives, phones and a vehicle worth more than €25,000 ($34,000) have been seized by police. Forged cards have also been confiscated.
The suspects allegedly worked with gang members from Eastern Europe. They went to Poland with the sole purpose of misusing stolen payment card data.
“This is another great example of joint efforts between Member States and EC3 to protect customers and electronic payments across the European Union (EU),” said Troels Oerting, the head of the European Cybercrime Centre.
“Police forces in the EU are utilising Europol’s unique tools to make electronic payment transactions safer. We are continuously investing more resources into this vital support platform, and we can now see the results of this teamwork,” he added.
Polish authorities provide a video recording that shows the equipment used by the suspects. The investigation is ongoing.