Europol recently announced that on January 22, 2014, the Polish National Police, in collaboration with Bulgaria's State Agency for National Security and Europol's European Cybercrime Center (EC3), arrested five Bulgarian citizens charged with misusing financial data (largely stolen from victims in the UK) to create counterfeit payment cards and make illegal electronic transactions.

Two of the five were caught while making illegal payment card transactions at ATMs, while the other three were arrested in two different hotels in Krakow, Poland -- one of them was caught in his hotel room while receiving stolen card numbers online and encoding counterfeit cards.

The police seized dozens of forged payment cards, along with equipment designed to produce the cards, including magnetic strip readers and writers, computers, phones and flash drives. A vehicle worth more than 25,000 Euros was also seized.

"This is another great example of joint efforts between Member States and EC3 to protect customers and electronic payments across the European Union (EU)," EC3 head Troels Oerting said in a statement. "Police forces in the EU are utilizing Europol's unique tools to make electronic payment transactions safer. We are continuously investing more resources into this vital support platform, and we can now see the results of this teamwork."

According to Europol, the investigation is ongoing, and more arrests are expected.

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