#BuySafePaySafe: how to avoid becoming a victim of fraud when making card payments

Police operations against fraud with card payments are continuously taking place, even on a large scale, like that coordinated by Europol this last summer that led to 95 arrests in a joint operation involving 28 countries

Investigative measures are very complex because of the virtual and international dimension of such crime. Not only individual fraudsters but also organised crime groups are involved in this phenomenon. There are indications of professionalism and links to other criminal formats like phishing, malware attacks, the creation of web pages and the use of social network platforms to commit fraud.

Currently, approximately 80% of credit card fraud is done online. Social networks are used to create sales profiles (shops), publishing everything at half price. When something is ordered, the fraudsters make the purchases, often very expensive ones, with subtracted credit card data. The data of the stolen card is often bought on the dark net, originally filtered via data theft and with malware. When making these purchases on their web pages, victims cannot be aware that the data of their cards is also being stolen, to go on to be stolen by a seller on another criminal forum. The previously mentioned sellers tend to have tens of thousands of happy customers and receive great reviews. In the end, the banks and dealers are the ones who suffer the losses due to such fraudulent activities, which amount to thousands of millions of Euros worldwide.

The eComm 2018-Europol is an operation created as part of the fight against payment card fraud EMPACT (PCF) directed by Austria. This operation is a practical continuation of the e-commerce work group, a private-public association network established in 2014 with key actors, including the Market Risk Council (MRC) – a network of 490 electronic dealers worldwide -.E-Commerce: tips and advice to avoid becoming a fraud victim.

Some preventive advice

It is always better to avoid a crime. It is for this reason that this operational action is followed by a prevention and awareness raising campaign, #BuySafePaySafe. There are a series of security norms that can be followed to avoid being a victim of such fraud:

  • ensure that the device you use to make online purchases is well-configured and that the Internet connection is secure.
  • using a card is a secure payment method for online purchases as long as you take the same care as with other purchases
  • there are simple warning signs that can help to identify fraud. If you are a victim of online fraud, report it to the police. If you have bought the product with a credit or debit card, also inform your bank
  • Regularly review your online bank account. Immediately notify your bank if you see payments or withdrawals that you have not made.


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