Criminals use fraudulently purchased tickets to travel anonymously: Europol

Source:Xinhua Published: 2016/10/19 23:46:55

A total of 193 individuals suspected of traveling with airline tickets bought using stolen, compromised or fake credit card details have been detained in a global operation targeting airline fraudsters last weekend, Europol announced on Wednesday.

Forty-three countries, 75 airlines and eight online travel agencies were involved in this global operation that took place at 189 airports across the world from Oct. 10 to 15 this year.

A total of "350 suspicious transactions were reported. As a result, 193 people were detained, denied boarding, questioned by police and charged criminally. Investigations are ongoing," said Europol in a statement.

The airline industry is estimated to lose over one billion US dollars per year as a result of the fraudulent online purchases of flight tickets.

Fraudulent online transactions are highly lucrative for organized crime and are often purchased to facilitate more serious criminal activities including illegal immigration, trafficking in human beings, drug smuggling and terrorism.

In this operation, several people were caught trying to traffic drugs from Latin America to Europe, frequently flying back and forth using fraudulently purchased tickets.

Law enforcement is now tackling this international phenomenon on a daily basis in close cooperation with the private sector, added Europol.

The use of compromised credit card details is an increasingly high volume crime, with tens of thousands of criminal complaints in many European Union countries.


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