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A gang of cybercriminals stole $45m by hacking into a database of prepaid debit cards and draining cash machines around the world. The network used fake cards to target banks in the United Arab Emirates and Oman, US court documents say. Prosecutors say law enforcement agencies in Japan, Canada, the UK, Romania and 12 other countries were involved in the investigation.

Members of the scheme allegedly hacked computer systems to steal data on prepaid debit cards. The cards are pre-loaded with funds rather than being linked to a bank account or a line of credit. They cancelled withdrawal limits and distributed information to accomplices referred to as “cashers” around the world. The cashers then loaded other magnetic stripe cards, such as gift cards or old hotel keys, with the stolen data and used them to withdraw huge sums.

Seven people have been arrested and face charges of conspiracy to commit access device fraud and money laundering. Law enforcement should not stand by as cybercriminals target our global financial system for their own ends, as per US law makers.

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