Fraudsters publish credit card details on web

Searching on Google has turned up 19,000 sets of credit card details available on the internet, after fraudsters mistakenly published them online.

The data, which included names, addresses and card information, was accessed through a Google search after a criminal gang collected them to sell onto fellow fraudsters. It is believed the gang then put them up on a public server by mistake, making them available not just those they planned to sell the details to but billions of internet users as well.

The site was initially closed down in February but some details stayed available for longer.

"We are aware that certain sites host and post card details. As soon as we are aware we start the process to take them down immediately and flags are put on accounts to monitor for unusual activity," said a spokesperson from Apacs, the UK payments association.

"In this case the site was closed immediately with the normal process but you could still see some details from a cached page on Google. Again, as soon as we were aware of this we had it closed down immediately."

It is not clear how many people suffered fraud due to this site, and Apacs was also unable to say exactly how many were UK cards.

The spokesperson continued: "We advise all bank customers to check their statements regularly, keep on top of their finances and make sure they flag up anything unusual to their bank straight away."

A Google spokesperson said the web firm was unable to comment on specific cases, but added: "Please keep in mind that search engines are a reflection of the content and information that is available on the internet. Search engines such as Google do not own this content, and do not have the ability to remove content directly from the internet."

Jennifer Scott

Jennifer Scott is a former freelance journalist and currently political reporter for Sky News. She has a varied writing history, having started her career at Dennis Publishing, working in various roles across its business technology titles, including ITPro. Jennifer has specialised in a number of areas over the years and has produced a wealth of content for ITPro, focusing largely on data storage, networking, cloud computing, and telecommunications.

Most recently Jennifer has turned her skills to the political sphere and broadcast journalism, where she has worked for the BBC as a political reporter, before moving to Sky News.