Gardai search premises in Tallaght and Drimnagh as part of Europol operation

Gardai search premises in Tallaght and Drimnagh as part of Europol operation

By Aura McMenamin

Gardai searched properties in Tallaght, Drimnagh and other areas of Dublin this month as part of a Europe-wide operation to stop online payment card fraud.

'Card not present' fraud involves paying for goods online with stolen credit card details obtained by skimming, hacking, email phishing or other illegal means to buy goods online or by phone.

Garda with back to camera

Gardaí from the Garda National Economic Crime Bureau (GNECB) carried out six house searches and detained one suspect at Balbriggan Garda Station as part of the Europol operation.

Details of over 100 US-issued payment cards were also recovered.

One major national sports retailer lost €16,000 through CNP fraud over a two week period in March. Fraudsters made 172 successful and attempted purchases using US-issued cards.

Irish people love to shop online – a report last year found that Irish consumers spend around €850k an hour online, and it contributes to six per cent of the GDP.

Detective Garda Jim O’Meara of the GNECB, said, “We are definitely witnessing a sharp rise in the level of CNP fraud activity in the past 18 months and we would attribute it to the uplift in the economy and a related rise in online shopping.”

“This results in greater numbers of consumers being vulnerable to having their payment card details compromised, which are then sold on the dark web where they can be accessed by criminals who go on to fraud retailers either online, over the phone, or even through mail order transactions.”

Europol have tips to prevent becoming the victim of card fraud. They say:

  • Buy from trusted sources. Use brands and shops that you are familiar with or have used before and check the ratings of individual sellers on sites such as Amazon and eBay.
  • When purchasing something online from another person, don’t send money upfront to the seller. If possible, reserve the right to receive the goods first.
  • Avoid doing your online shopping at sites that don’t use full authentication (verified by Visa/Mastercard/Secure Code).
  • Make sure the data transfer is appropriately protected. Look for the padlock symbol on the URL bar and use HTTPS and SSL protocols when browsing over internet.
  • Always save all documents related to your online purchases.