Thirty-six websites used to sell stolen bank account details have been taken down following an investigation by the Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA). The arrest of two men in the UK and another in Macedonia is the result of an international operation in which 36 web domains, used to trade compromised banking data, were taken offline.

SOCA has been tracking the development of AVCs and monitoring their use by cyber criminals, who support payment card and online banking fraud on a global scale. Working with the FBI, the BKA in Germany, the KLPD in the Netherlands, the Ukraine Ministry of Internal Affairs, the Australian Federal Police, and the Romanian National Police, SOCA has recovered over 2.5 million items of compromised personal and financial information over the past 2 years.

Lee Miles, head of cyber operations for SOCA, said: "Our activities have saved business, online retailers and financial institutions potential fraud losses estimated at more than half a billion pounds, and at the same time protected thousands of individuals from the distress caused by being a victim of fraud or identity crime."

The impact of this criminal trade is widespread and affects not only the individuals whose financial details are stolen but also the businesses that have the frauds perpetrated against them and the financial institutions that provide the services. Ultimately, the only people who benefit are the fraudsters.

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