AUSTRALIAN Federal Police have confirmed Orange residents were caught up in the spate of credit card frauds leading to the arrest of several people in Romania this week.
In January this year the cards of scores of Orange residents were cancelled by their financial institutions after fraudsters began hacking into their accounts.
At the time the Australian Federal Police said the cards had been hacked through a breach in security at a local retail outlet, which they have still not revealed.
A spokesman for the AFP has told the CWD the gang of fraudsters have accessed 500,000 Australian credit cards, including some from Orange.
“From this approximately 30,000 are confirmed to have been used for fraudulent transactions amounting to approximately $30 million,” an AFP spokesman said.
One Orange woman who had her account drained by fraudulent transactions in the Middle East said the experience has changed the way she manages her account.
“Without fail I would always check my account on a Monday and a Thursday which was pay day.
“The week the money disappeared I was really busy and didn’t check it on the Monday, but found out when I was contacted by my bank,” she said.
“Now I just transfer the amount I need for particular purchases in to one account and keep the rest in an account that can’t be touched,” the woman said.
The joint international criminal investigation which has led to the arrest of the Romanians, was carried out in conjunction with the Australian Federal Police.
At the time Orange cardholders were affected in January the AFP would not reveal any details of the investigation, other than to say it had started in June last year and was ongoing.
AFP manager for cyber crime operations, Commander Glenn McEwen said the arrests were the result of significant cooperation across law enforcement and the financial industry.
“This is the largest data breach investigation ever undertaken by Australian law enforcement,” he said.
The Australian Bankers’ Association and Abacus Australian Mutuals said no card holders lost money as a result of the fraudulent transactions.
The financial body said the stolen credit card data was used to carry out transactions in Europe, Hong Kong, Australia and the United States