Police and law enforcement officials arrested two dozen people in 13 countries after a two-year global undercover operation into the trafficking of stolen credit card, bank accounts and other personal identification information belonging to hundreds of thousands of consumers over the Internet.
US officials described the investigation and arrests as "the largest coordinated international law enforcement action in history directed at 'carding' crimes" and said their actions protected more than 400,000 potential cybercrime victims and prevented over $205 million in losses.
"Carding" refers to criminal activities associated with stealing personal identification information and financial information, and using that information to obtain money, goods or services without the victims' authorization or consent. For example, hackers may steal credit card numbers and other personal information stored in a company database and then use the stolen information to buy goods or services online; or sell the stolen information to others who intend to use it for criminal purposes.
Announcing the charges, Janice Fedarcyk, assistant director in charge of the New York field office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, said: "From New York to Norway and Japan to Australia, Operation Card Shop targeted sophisticated, highly organized cybercriminals involved in buying and selling stolen identities, exploited credit cards, counterfeit documents and sophisticated hacking tools. Spanning four continents, the two-year undercover FBI investigation is the latest example of our commitment to rooting out rampant criminal behavior on the Internet."
Preet Bharara, the attorney for the Southern District of New York, added: "To expose and prosecute individuals like the alleged cybercriminals charged today will continue to require exactly the kind of coordinated response and international cooperation that made today's arrests possible."
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