A website that has been described as “a one-stop shop” for criminals who sold the stolen credit card and banking details of Australian business travellers has been shut down in Europe after a major police operation.
According to the BBC the International forum Darkmarket ran for three years and led to frauds totalling millions of dollars. Among the victims were both Australian and New Zealand travellers according to a New Scotland Yard official who said that information on thousands of victims had been seized.
They also said that the Australian Federal Police had been advised of the raids in which more than 60 people have been arrested. Many of those taken into custody were under 20 years of age.
The FBI and Serious Organised Crime Agency (Soca) have spent the past two years gathering evidence after infiltrating the site. The arrests were made after computer experts, including some former hackers, followed electronic trails left by site users. Investigators say that one persistent customer purchased $650,000 worth of stolen data in just six weeks.
The Times say that one 19-year-old was arrested in North London by officers who burst into the teenager’s bedroom during a dawn raid and seized his computers, laptops, mobile phones and PDAs while his parents looked on.
Darkmarket was strictly invitation-only and gave criminals access to a wide range of valuable personal information.
According to SOCA deputy director Sharon Lemon the most prized product for sale were corporate credit cards belonging to frequent business travellers. These could be used by criminals all over the world to spend large sums without arousing suspicion. These aren’t geeks. These are serious and organised criminals” she said.
She also admitted that both Australian and New Zealand nationals were among the victims.