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Six held in 'cybercriminal' inquiry
Six people have been arrested in Britain as part of an FBI-led sting targeting online financial fraudsters involved in the illegal trade of stolen bank and credit card information, according to the American authorities.
A total of 24 suspects were held across four continents on Tuesday following a two-year undercover operation described as the biggest of its kind to be launched against financial cybercriminals.
Officials from the FBI and the US Attorney's Office said the elaborate sting, which foiled suspected criminals operating "carding" schemes in America, Europe, Asia and Australia, protected more than 400,000 potential victims and prevented losses of 205 million US dollars (£131 million) from debit and credit cards.
A total of 11 people were arrested in the US, while suspects were held in 12 other countries including the UK, Norway, Italy and Japan.
All are accused of buying and selling hacking programs and stolen personal information online.
The arrests came after undercover FBI investigators set up a bogus website where fraudsters involved in carding schemes could buy and sell stolen information and programmes.
Manhattan US Attorney Preet Bharara said: "The coordinated law enforcement actions taken by an unprecedented number of countries around the world demonstrate that hackers and fraudsters cannot count on being able to prowl the internet in anonymity and with impunity, even across national boundaries.
"Clever computer criminals operating behind the supposed veil of the Internet are still subject to the long arm of the law."