From: ABC News


An international cyber sting led by the FBI attracted criminals from around the world and led to 37 arrests in what is believed to be a multi-million online financial fraud case, sources told ABC News and officials confirmed.

Three people were taken into custody in New York, several were nabbed in California, and the other arrests occurred in 12 countries on four continents. There were 37 arrests in total, federal law enforcement sources said. They said the sting was a cooperative effort by law enforcement officials across the globe.

Officials confirmed the cyber sting  — which used a web site created by federal law enforcement officials as the spider web that lured in the alleged criminals – was dubbed “Operation Card Shop.”

The alleged fraudsters could buy and sell stolen credit card numbers, drivers licenses and bank information on the web site, as well as discuss general hacking techniques, officials said.

Agents then identified the suspects and made the arrests, which took them to 12 countries on four continents.

Federal authorities in New York are set to announce the full details of the case today.  They believe the cyber sting is one of the most significant investigations of its kind.

“Hundreds of millions” of dollars in losses have been prevented and “hundreds of thousands” of credit card numbers have been protected, source said.

The U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York Preet Bharara in Manhattan has called cybercrime one of the “greatest existential threats facing the United States.”

In an opinion piece published in the New York Times Bharara wrote, “Some cybercrime is aimed directly at our national security, imperiling our infrastructure, government secrets and public safety. But as the recent wave of attacks by the hacker collective Anonymous demonstrates, it also targets private industry, threatening the security of our markets, our exchanges, our bank accounts, our trade secrets and our personal privacy.”