US is main source of EU card fraud says Europol

Data breaches in the US account for most of the credit card fraud that affects the European Union.

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The information is published in a new report by the EU police ageny Europol, which is this week launching a new dedicated Cybercrime Centre at its headquarters in The Hague.

According to the report, criminal gangs are making about €1.5bn (£1.2bn) annually from such fraud, with compliance with new security features remaining patchy. Europol says that the chip-and-PIN security used in the EU is not yet global, resulting in an increase in overseas fraud cases. In addition, fraudulent 'card-not-present' transactions, where personal data is stolen on the internet, account for approximately 60% of the losses from credit card fraud.

Nearly all fraud involving EU cards in 2011 took place outside the EU. "So far most of the credit card numbers misused in the EU have come from data breaches in the US," says Europol, adding that most illegal face-to-face card transactions with EU-issued cards also happened in the US.

Nearly 727m payment cards were issued in the EU in 2011.

Accoring to Europol, the main problems in tackling credit card fraud are:

– Lack of proper regulations for reporting data breaches to law enforcement agencies

– Criminals operating in complex international networks, taking advantage of gaps in police and justice co-operation

– Multinational, cross-border crimes involving numerous people

– Online data theft involving huge quantities of personal data which is sold on

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