Belgian cops uncover massive credit card fraud
18 March 2004, BRUSSELS - Belgian detectives have managed to dismantle an international credit card fraud ring that may well have swindled unwitting cardholders out of millions of euros, Belgian newspaper La Derniere Heure reported on Thursday.
18 March 2004
BRUSSELS - Belgian detectives have managed to dismantle an international credit card fraud ring that may well have swindled unwitting cardholders out of millions of euros, Belgian newspaper La Derniere Heure reported on Thursday.
The fraudsters were members of an organised crime network who used fake credit cards to buy large quantities of hi-tech consumer goods - such as DVD players or computer accessories - which they then re-sold.
Police suspicions were first raised in Brussels and the Flemish city of Sint-Niklaas when a number of shops specialising in hi-tech consumer products reported unusually high sales figures.
It emerged that the shops had all sold large quantities of goods to customers who came from south-east Asia, but who used credit cards issued in a variety of other parts of the world.
Further investigations revealed that the shoppers in question were members of a south-east Asian crime gang and that the credit cards they had used were forgeries.
Police found that the forgers had bought a database of valid credit card numbers from a Russian crime gang that had managed to hack into the computerised billing system of a major international hotel chain. These numbers were then programmed into the fake cards.
According to the police, Belgium is not the only country to have been hit by the fraudsters. They have also been active in Germany, France, the Netherlands and Germany.
At present no one seems sure precisely how many fake credit cards the south-east Asian crime gang made or how much money they stole.
But La Derniere Heure described the scam as "without doubt the biggest credit card scam ever discovered in Belgium and possibly in Europe."
[Copyright Expatica News 2004]
Subject: Belgian news