Are you a travel agent and in the past received emails from an unknown yahoo, hotmail or gmail address with an order of expensive airline tickets and a credit card as a form of payment? If you did, you should forward this email to authorities or delete. The creation of a global alliance of airlines and law enforcement agencies who will be working together on an ongoing basis to combat online fraud and crime was recently formed.
This followed a successful operation coordinated by Europol with the support of INTERPOL and AMERIPOL, law enforcement agencies from all over the globe, in cooperation with the airline, travel and credit card industries, undertook an action to combat online fraud.
Europol in The Hague, Netherlands; INTERPOL through its General Secretariat in Lyon, France and the INTERPOL Global Complex for Innovation (IGCI) in Singapore; and AMERIPOL in Bogota, Colombia participated in this NOV 26-27 operation. More than 60 airlines and 45 countries were involved in the activity, which took place at some 80 airports across the world.
The coordinated operation targeted criminals suspected of fraudulently purchasing plane tickets online using stolen or fake credit card data. More than 281 suspicious transactions were reported during the operation, with 118 individuals arrested. In many cases it was revealed how the credit card fraud is linked to other forms of serious crime.
Representatives from the airlines and major credit card companies American Express, MasterCard, Visa Inc. and Visa Europe were present at Europol to identify suspicious airline ticket transactions. INTERPOL assisted the action with the rapid identification of wanted persons and stolen travel documents detected during the operation, through the support of officers at the INTERPOL General Secretariat in Lyon, France, the IGCI in Singapore and at Europol.
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) also took part in the action, providing important fraud intelligence from its database. Notifications were sent to transport hubs across the world as waiting law enforcement officers intercepted and detained suspects attempting to travel using fraudulently obtained flight tickets.
Europol Director Rob Wainwright said: “This operation is another example of law enforcement and the private sector working seamlessly together, to prevent and fight cybercrime – this time identity theft and credit card fraud. We are reaching new levels with our cooperation and aim to become an ‘unbeatable alliance’ with aspirations to make cyberspace as crime free as possible for global citizens. Europol’s European Cybercrime Centre (EC3) will continue to invest heavily in conducting similar operations and other activities that will make life harder for cybercriminals.”