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French police smash credit card fraud ring

Police arrested 22 members of a suspected French fraud ring on Tuesday which is believed to be behind credit card scams worth more than €6 million.

French police smash credit card fraud ring
Photo: MoneyBlogNewz/flickr

The suspects, whom police have been investigating since 2011, are alleged to have hacked into websites to obtain credit card details and cloned bank cards at ATM machines. The details were then sold on.

The operation, carried out by 133 police officers, took place in the suburbs of Paris and across France as well as on the French Caribbean island of Guadeloupe.

During the raids police seized computers, specialist devices for re-coding magnetic strips, blank bank cards as well as cheque books.

A recent report by France’s national crime observatory (ONDRP) showed that the number of victims of internet credit card fraud in the country had increased sharply.

In 2011 600,000 victims reported they had been targeted compared to 500,000 in 2010.

According to the report, most victims only discovered the frauds when checking their bank statements and many did not report the crimes. Many of the thefts only involved small sums of money, a plan designed to keep the victims in the dark as long as possible.

Of those arrested in this week's operation 15 remain in police custody.

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TECHNOLOGY

French watchdog fines Google and Amazon subsidiary €135m for unauthorised cookies

France's CNIL data privacy watchdog said on Thursday it had fined two Google units a total of €100 million and an Amazon subsidiary €35 million over advertising cookies.

French watchdog fines Google and Amazon subsidiary €135m for unauthorised cookies
Photo: AFP

The regulator said the fines were “for having placed advertising cookies on the computers of users … without obtaining prior consent and without providing adequate information.”

A cookie is a small piece of data stored on a user's computer browser that allows websites to identify users and remember their previous activity.

The CNIL said when a user visited the website google.fr, several cookies used for advertising purposes were automatically placed on his or her computer, without any action required on the user's part.

It said a similar thing happened when visiting one page on the amazon.fr website.

CNIL said this type of cookie “can only be placed after the user has expressed his or her consent” and thus violated regulations on receiving prior consent.

It faulted Google for providing insufficient privacy information for users as it did not let them know about the cookies which had been placed and that the procedure to block them still left one operational.

CNIL also said Amazon had not provided clear or complete information about the cookies it placed on computers of users until a redesign in September 2020.

Google also stopped placing cookies on the computers of users without consent in September, CNIL said, but added it still does not provide a sufficient explanation for their use.

The regulator said “no matter what path the users used to visit the website, they were either insufficiently informed or never informed of the fact that cookies were placed on their computer.”

The €35 million fine is on the Amazon Europe Core subsidiary.

CNIL imposed fines of €60 million on Google LLC and €40 million on Google Ireland Limited.

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