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Airline, travel and credit card industries join forces to target fraudsters

Global law enforcement agencies and the airline, travel and credit card industries have joined forces in a major concerted action to combat online fraud.

The operation, organised via three coordination centres at Europol in The Hague, Interpol in Singapore and Ameripol in Bogota and involving over 60 airlines and 45 countries at more than 80 airports across the world, saw 281 suspicious transactions reported and 118 individuals arrested.

In the coordinated “Global Airport Action” operation, those suspected of fraudulently purchasing plane tickets online using stolen or fake credit card data were targeted. Of those arrested, some were repeat offenders and had been arrested in previous police actions at airports.

Europol said in a statement that one positive result is the creation of the global alliance of airlines and law enforcement agencies, who will be working together on an ongoing basis to combat online fraud and crime.

Europol director Rob Wainwright, said: “This operation is another example of law enforcement and the private sector working seamlessly together, to prevent and fight cyber crime - this time identity theft and credit card fraud.

“We are reaching new levels with our cooperation and aim to become an ‘unbeatable alliance’ with aspirations to make cyber space as crime free as possible for global citizens. Europol’s EC3 will continue to invest heavily in conducting similar operations and other activities that will make life harder for cybercriminals."

The European Airlines Fraud Prevention Group’s Meta Backman, said: “Airlines are fighting credit card fraud on their ticket sales on daily basis. It is clear to the airlines that they are up against organised crime in this fight. Airlines are depending on card issuing banks to obtain confirmation of fraudulent use of credit cards.

“Without confirmation, airlines cannot report the crime to law enforcement. The action day operations have been a good example of the importance of the cooperation of these three types of organisations: airlines, banks and law enforcement. Our airlines are grateful to Europol for making this cooperation possible and for the support Europol has showed our industry."

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