Over 100 compromised US payment cards recovered as part of garda operation

The gardaí and Retail Excellence are teaming up to combat 'Card Not Present' fraud

Over 100 compromised US payment cards recovered as part of garda operation

In this file photo, credit cards are displayed in the US | Image: Elise Amendola/AP/Press Association Images

Gardaí are teaming up with the retail industry in a bid to combat the growing problem of 'Card Not Present' (CNP) fraud.

This happens when a payment card is not physically presented during a phone or online transaction.

As part of the crackdown, officers from the Garda National Economic Crime Bureau (GNECB) targeted a number of residences in the Dublin area.

Ten search warrants were applied for on foot of information provided by the gardaí's private sector partners.

Six searches of residential properties were carried out in Tallaght, Drimnagh, Tyrellstown and Balbriggan.

One person has been arrested and detained at Balbriggan garda station under Section 4 of the Criminal Justice Act.

While gardaí say details of over 100 compromised US issued payment cards were recovered.

 Vulnerable consumers

The GNECB and Retail Excellence say shops are being targeted in CNP scams, but consumers are also vulnerable.

This is because most CNP fraud involves the use of payment card details that have been stolen through skimming, hacking, email phishing, telephone solicitations or other methods.

The compromised payment card details are then used to make fraudulent transactions.

In 2015, card fraud was €29.6m in Ireland, with 70% of this fraud - almost €21m - happening in a card not present environment.

In the first half of 2016 there was €20.8m card fraud here, 78% of which was in a card not present situation.

One recent target of CNP fraud was a major national sports retailer.

Gatdaí say over a two-week period in March, there were 172 successful and attempted purchases from their online store using compromised payment cards from the US.

If all 172 attempts were successful, the retailer would have lost out on approximately €16,000 in revenue.

"A sharp rise"

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 darkweb where they can be accessed by criminals who go on to fraud retailers either online, over the phone, or even through mail order transactions.

"Our advice to Irish consumers to help prevent their cards being compromised is to always buy from trusted sources, use credit cards when purchasing things online, never send money upfront to an online seller, and never send your card number PIN or other information to anyone by email."

Retail Excellence spokesperson Lorraine Higgins added: "With the significant growth in online sales this year whereby €850,000 is being spent every hour by Irish consumers it was clear that ancillary issues would eventually arise.

"We would advise that retailers be vigilant and if you suspect something is not as it seems then do not hesitate to contact An Garda Siochana."

This new campaign takes place as part of a broader Europol effort aimed at combating online fraud.