Europol recently announced that a major international network of card fraudsters was dismantled by Canadian, French and German police with the support of Europol's European Cybercrime Center (EC3).

As part of Operation Spyglass, on October 29, 2013, the Economic Crimes Unit of the Surete du Quebec arrested 16 people, including the head of the network. Thirteen others were arrested in March 2013 in France and Germany.

According to Europol, the group stole card data from at least 30,000 debit cards by tampering with POS terminals and making counterfeit cards with the stolen data, resulting in a potential loss of $12 million (9 million Euros) outside Canada. The average illegal withdrawal was approximately $400 per counterfeit card.

The Canadian Bankers Association, the Fraud and Payment Brigade of the Regional Directorate of the Judicial Police of Paris, the Forensic Science Laboratory of the French Gendarmie, and the German Bundeskriminalamt (BKA) all cooperated in the investigation.

The arrested suspects face charges including fraud, unauthorized possession and illegal trafficking of credit card data, card counterfeiting, conspiracy, theft and possession of stolen property.

"This is another great example of very successful cooperation between law enforcement in several EU Member States, colleagues worldwide and in Canada, utilising Europol’s unique tools, whereby EC3 acted as a virtual and physical platform for the joint operation," EC3 head Troels Oerting said in a statement.

"We are continuously investing more resources into this vital support platform, and we can now see the result of the joint work, especially by also providing forensic cyber expertise from EC3 to these complicated cases," Oerting added.

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