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Cops collar 178 over £17m credit card crimes

International sweep nets several scoundrels

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Cops across Europe, the US and Australia have collared 178 people in an operation to smash an international fake credit card production network turning over more than £17m.

The investigation was centred in Spain where police discovered 120,000 stolen credit card numbers and 5,000 cloned cards, arrested 76 people and dismantled six cloning labs.

Fourteen countries participated in the two-year investigation. Raids were made primarily in Romania, France, Italy, Germany, Ireland and the United States. Arrests were also made in Australia, Sweden, Greece, Finland and Hungary.

The Spanish fuzz say those nabbed are also suspected of armed robbery, blackmail, sexual exploitation and money-laundering. The scamming crew paid shop workers around the world to pass on customers' credit card details.

A spokesman for Spain's National Police said: "They committed card fraud on a massive scale. We believe they may have obtained more than £16.5 million in benefits.

"Sub-groups set up in each of the 14 countries where police have acted, formed part of a global criminal network.

"They falsified cards with numbers obtained fraudulently and used them to take money out of machines or buy goods in stores." ®

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