British bobbies and Vietnamese rozzers have joined forces to smash a web forum allegedly dedicated to trading stolen credit card data.
Three men were arrested in the UK, while eight were taken off to the cells in Vietnam over their alleged involvement with a site called Mattfeuter.ru, which is suspected of facilitating credit-card fraud totalling $200m.
Forum bosses are alleged to have hacked into corporate websites to steal 1.1 million people's credit card details, before selling them on the forum to 16,000 members.
The site was so organised that it even offered discounts on bulk purchases of card numbers.
The Vietnamese High-Tech Crime Unit and the Criminal Investigation Division of the Ministry of Public Security of Vietnam (MPSVN) organised a rare international collaboration with Blighty's Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA), the Metropolitan Police's e-Crime Unit and the FBI.
Officers from SOCA, the e-crime unit and the Dedicated Cheque and Plastic Crime Unit made three arrests in London, collaring a 37-year-old from West Ham, a 34-year-old from Thornton Heath and a 44-year-old from Manor Park. The US Department of Justice has charged Duy Hai Truong, 23, of Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam, with conspiracy to commit bank fraud. Truong, who is one of the alleged ring leaders, was arrested in the southeast Asian country.
The cops aren't finished with the operation just yet. The British plod are working to track down users of the forum, while also taking down a number of other websites that, we're told, offer stolen credit card data. British and Vietnamese police are also sharing intelligence to help carry out more operations and make further arrests.
In Vietnam, the arrests were made under legislation introduced in 2009, which makes it a criminal offence to steal or fraudulently obtain credit card information from domestic and foreign sources.
Future operations in Britain will soon be carried out by the National Cyber Crime Unit, which is currently being formed as a joint venture between The Police Central e-Crime Unit and SOCA.
SOCA’s Andy Archibald, interim Deputy Director of the National Cyber Crime Unit, said: “One of the world’s major facilitation networks for online card fraud has been dismantled by this operation, and those engaged in this type of crime should know that that they are neither anonymous, nor beyond the reach of law enforcement agencies.”
The investigation is also being helped by Europol and companies including Visa and MasterCard. ®