European police agency Europol announced on Friday that it had arrested 118 people accused of using fraudulent credit cards to buy plane tickets. The arrests mostly happened at airports around the world on Thursday and Wednesday. The operation relied heavily on cooperation from bank networks like Visa and MasterCard, 60 airlines, 80 airports, and 45 law enforcement agencies around the world.
A press release from Europol noted that authorities “targeted criminals suspected of fraudulently purchasing plane tickets online using stolen or fake credit card data.” Throughout the two-day operation, representatives from airlines and credit card companies were present in a coordination center run by Europol’s European Cybercrime Centre (EC3), where airlines identified tickets that might have been made fraudulently. Then, “using their own financial data systems, credit card company officials confirmed suspicions when alerted by the airlines,” Europol wrote.
The European police agency sent alerts to airport police who then “detained suspects attempting to travel using fraudulently obtained flight tickets.” In order to identify the suspects as well as any possibly stolen travel documents they were carrying, Europol analysts “provided live access to centralized criminal intelligence databases.”
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