SYDNEY – A Romanian syndicate allegedly responsible for the biggest credit card data theft in Australian history has been smashed, police said Thursday.
An international investigation saw seven people charged in Romania with stealing the details of about 30,000 credit cards and using the information to buy goods around the world worth some Aus$30 million (US$31 million).
Police reported the data was stolen by hacking into the computer systems of small businesses.
It was then used to create false credit cards, enabling thousands of counterfeit transactions in numerous locations including Europe, Hong Kong and the United States.
The scam culminated in 16 people being detained across Romania on Wednesday, with seven charged.
“This is the largest data breach investigation ever undertaken by Australian law enforcement,” said Commander Glen McEwen, manager for Cyber Crime Operations at the Australian Federal Police.
“Without the cooperation of 13 other countries, along with Australia’s banking and finance sector, we would not have been able to track these illegal transactions to the criminal network in Romania.
“Today’s successful outcome is a culmination of 17 months of hard work with these partners.”
Australian banks and credit unions have reimbursed customers for their losses.