EU agrees on directive for combating cryptocurrency and credit card fraud
17 Dec 2018

European Parliament and Council of the EU negotiators have reached an agreement on new measures aimed at boosting the fight against fraud involving non-cash means of payment, including credit cards, online shopping and virtual currencies such as bitcoin.

The agreed text of the directive on combating fraud and counterfeiting of non-cash payment, which upgrades existing EU rules, expands the scope of offences to include transactions through virtual currencies and minimum penalties for natural persons ranging from 1 to 5 years.

Other measures include:

• Harmonising the definitions of some online crime offences, such as hacking a victim’s computer or phishing;

• Assistance and support to ensure victims are sufficiently informed of their rights and citizens are advised on how to protect themselves from such frauds;

• Clarification of the scope of jurisdiction to ensure cross border frauds is tackled more effectively;

• Collection of statistics on, as a minimum, the number of offences and the number of persons prosecuted and convicted

The next step is for Council and Parliament to confirm the agreement reached, after which it will be reviewed by lawyer linguists.

Thereafter it will be formally adopted by Council and Parliament before the end of the parliamentary term.

Josef Moser, minister of justice of Austria, said: “Fraud with credit cards or online shopping is on the increase. It undermines trust, and makes consumers more reluctant to shop online. Moreover, the proceeds from this sort of fraud are used to finance criminal groups.

“[The] agreement is a step towards closing legal loopholes between member states and introducing common rules that will ensure that fraud does not go unpunished.”

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