Retailers in Longford targeted by CNP fraud and consumers urged to #buysafepaysafe

Gardaí team up with retailers to combat 'Card Not Present' Fraud

News Reporter


News Reporter


Retailers in Longford targeted by CNP fraud and consumers urged to #buysafepaysafe

Gardaí have teamed up with the retail industry in a bid to combat the problem of ‘Card Not Present’ (CNP) fraud. Photo includes Lorraine Higgins, Retail Excellence & Detective Garda Jim O’Meara.

Gardaí from the Garda National Economic Crime Bureau have teamed up with the retail industry in a bid to combat the growing problem of ‘Card Not Present’ (CNP) fraud.

The Garda National Economic Crime Bureau (GNECB) and Retail Excellence have joined forces to help prevent a recent spike in CNP fraud, which occurs when a payment card is not physically presented during a phone or online transaction.

Retailers are being targeted by CNP fraud but consumers are also vulnerable because most CNP fraud involves the use of payment card details that have been compromised and obtained through skimming, hacking, email phishing, telephone solicitations or other unlawful methods. The compromised payment card details are then used to facilitate fraudulent transactions. 

In 2015, card fraud was €29.6 million in Ireland.  70% of this fraud (almost €21million) occurred in a card not present environment, i.e. online purchases, telephone purchases etc. In the first half of 2016 there was €20.8million card fraud in Ireland, 78% of which was due to compromises in a card not present environment.

The Garda Síochána-Retail Excellence collaboration takes place as part of a broader Europol campaign this month aimed at combating online fraud that arises from compromised card data. Europol E-Commerce Action Week took place from June 6 to 16th and saw officers in 23 countries deployed to ‘hotspots’ and take action based on intelligence and investigations.

As part of the Europol effort, officers from the GNECB targeted a number of residences in the Dublin area suspected to be facilitating CNP fraud. As a result of the operation:

·         10 search warrants were applied for on foot of information provided by the Gardaí’s private sector partners;

·         Six searches of residential properties were carried out in Tallaght, Drimnagh, Tyrellstown and Balbriggan by GNECB;

·         1 person arrested and detained at Balbriggan Garda Station under Section 4 of the Criminal Justice Act 1994;

·         Details of over 100 compromised US issued payment cards were recovered.

One recent target of CNP fraud was a major national sports retailer. Over a two-week period in March, there were 172 successful and attempted purchases from their online store using compromised payment cards from the US. If all 172 attempts were successful, the retailer would have lost out on approximately €16,000 in revenue.  A smaller retailer in the west of Ireland was also targeted in recent months. 

Speaking today, Detective Garda Jim O’Meara of the GNECB, said: "We are definitely witnessing a sharp rise in the level of CNP fraud activity in the past 18 months and we would attribute it to the uplift in the economy and a related rise in online shopping. This results in greater numbers of consumers being vulnerable to having their payment card details compromised, which are then sold on the darkweb where they can be accessed by criminals who go on to fraud retailers either online, over the phone, or even through mail order transactions.

"Officers from the Economic Crime Bureau recently acted on a number of leads in this area in line with our counterparts across Europe. We were pleased with the results and investigations are continuing.

"Our advice to Irish consumers to help prevent their cards being compromised is to always buy from trusted sources, use credit cards when purchasing things online, never send money upfront to an online seller, and never send your card number PIN or other information to anyone by email.”

Retail Excellence spokesperson Lorraine Higgins said "We are delighted to get behind this initiative to help combat the very new crime of online fraud. Our retailers want to ensure consumers can shop online safe in the knowledge their personal and financial details are safe which is exactly why we, as Ireland largest retail representative body, are supporting this initiative.

With the significant growth in online sales this year whereby €850,000 is being spent every hour by Irish consumers it was clear that ancillary issues would eventually arise. Our internal Loss Prevention Group chaired by Harvey Norman’s Michael Neary had flagged this as an issue and took proactive steps which ultimately led to the collaboration between Retail Excellence and the Gardai. Therefore, c onsumers can be assured that our member retailers are working hard to ensure their security when purchasing goods and services from them”.

"We would advise that retailers be vigilant and if you suspect something is not as it seems then do not hesitate to contact An Garda Siochana.”