Europol targets fraudulent fliers during peak holiday rushNewsBy Nick Vivion | December 1, 2014Share This article was originally published on European intelligence organization Europol spent the holidays targeting airline passengers who used stolen credit cards to purchase their tickets.The sting played out on a global stage, involving 118 arrests of passengers flying on 60 airlines in 45 countries across 80 airports.In a statement, Europol said that this is the third global coordinated efforts to nab cyber criminals in the travel space. Multiple agencies and companies cooperated to identify suspicious transactions, including Visa, Mastercard, American Express, and IATA's fraud database. Representatives were based at Europol's Cybercrime Centre in the Netherlands, alongside Interpol in Singapore and Ameripol in Bogota.The aim was to: target the criminal online services offering credit card credentials and fake plane tickets, and also to protect consumers from being duped by these criminal enterprises. During the operation more than 281 suspicious transactions were reported and 118 individuals were arrested. Some of the suspects were repeat offenders and had been arrested in previous police actions at airports. Besides the successful operational outcome, another positive result is the creation of our global alliance of airlines and law enforcement agencies, who will be working together on an ongoing basis to combat online fraud and crime.Share this quote Underscoring that message is IATA's senior VP for financial and distribution services Aleks Popovich: Fraudsters are costing the airline industry significant amounts of money, but above all the IATA airline members do not want to transport criminals and thus facilitate their illicit activities. IATA is proud that the airline industry can support in any possible way the efforts of the police fighting organised crime by collaborating in this combined action of Ameripol, Interpol, Europol, the European law enforcement agencies, the card brands and airports around the globe.Share this quote Airline ticketing fraud has a very serious impact on airlines with over one billion dollars of fraudulent transactions being processed via stolen or faked credit cards.This latest coordinated attack on fraudsters marks the beginning of an initiative called the Global Airport Action that will lean on the newly-developed inter-organizational relationships to better coordinate against fraudulently purchased airline travel.This massive sting played out only weeks after mainstream media picked up stories of widespread theft of loyalty points in the travel industry - another potential means for regulators to target cyber criminals.NB: Cybercrime image courtesy Shutterstock.