UK police shut down card fraudsters' website

Fri Oct 17, 2008 10:11am EDT
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By Michael Holden

LONDON (Reuters Life!) - British police said on Friday they had shut down a highly sophisticated website that allowed fraudsters around the world to trade in stolen credit card details and find out about the latest online scams.

Almost 60 people have been arrested worldwide as part of a long-running international undercover operation into the DarkMarket site led by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in the United States.

The closely guarded, invitation-only forum, inaccessible to most web users, allowed criminals to buy and sell stolen financial information, such as people's online banking details and credit card data.

It also gave the latest information on how to commit online fraud and what equipment to use in financial crimes.

Launched in 2005, the site, said by the authorities to be one of the most significant of its kind, had 2,500 registered members at its peak.

In Britain, the Serious Organized Crime Agency (SOCA) said 11 people had been arrested as part of the operation in London, Manchester, Leicester, Doncaster and Humberside.

A SOCA spokeswoman said investigators infiltrated the forum in 2006 to gather evidence about the ringleaders.

"The thing with these sites is if you simply shut them down people transfer the activity elsewhere," she said.   Continued...