The EU has made a New Year’s resolution: to get tough on Internet criminals.
It has just opened a new cybercrime centre in the Dutch city of the Hague to crack down on illegal online activity.
Officials say fraudsters steal millions from such activities each year.
“The European Union is the largest market for payment cards transactions, and it is estimated that organized crime groups derive from payment card fraud 1.5 billion euro a year,” said Grzegorz Mazurkiewicz, an EU expert in cybercrime.
The European Commission proposed the new centre in March last year, saying an EU-wide is the best way to dealing with cross-border crime.
The EU executive believes this coordinated approach will see more internet criminals put behind bars.
“We will be able to give an overview to the Member States on crime; we will give operational support to cases, give forensic support and we will also help the Member States with capacity building and outreach,” said Troels Oerting, head of the European Cybercrime Centre.
The centre will focus on online fraud, Internet predators who sexually exploit children, and hackers.
It is located inside the headquarters of Europol, the European Criminal Intelligence Agency.