Europol crackdown nets 133 people for airline fraud
More than 130 people have been arrested in an international operation to crack down on using stolen or fake credit cards to buy plane tickets, the European police agency Europol said Friday.
"Some 35 airlines and 32 countries were involved in this initiative, which took place at 109 airports across the world," Europol said in a statement.
Some 160 suspect transactions were identified and a total of 133 people detained during the two-day operation which took place in airports across the world, from the EU to Canada, the United States and Colombia.
It "targeted criminals suspected of fraudulently purchasing plane tickets online using stolen or fake credit card data," Europol said, adding the Internet was aiding the spread of such crimes which affected millions of people annually.
"The banking, airline and travel industries have suffered huge financial losses as a direct result," it added.
The operation also "revealed how credit card fraud is linked to other forms of serious crime such as drug trafficking and human trafficking."
Major credit card companies Visa, MasterCard and American Express collaborated with the police and the airlines for the operation on Tuesday and Wednesday.
Airlines alerted the companies to suspicious transactions, which credit card firms then checked against their own records.
Airports were then put on notice, and police were dispatched to arrest people "attempting to travel using fraudulently obtained flight tickets."
© 2015 AFP