Organized crime syndicates in Europe generate up to $2 Billion (€1.5 Billion) a year from payment card fraud, according to Europol. Proceeds from the fraud are then invested into other criminal activities, such as developing new technical developments. Some of the proceeds are used to start legitimate businesses as well.
Most of the credit card data that is stolen in Europe have come from breaches in the United States, although since 2010 the number of data breaches in the European Union has increased.
Intelligence reports by Europol show that up to 60 percent of payment card losses in the EU in 2011 were caused when the card was not present, such as online payments. The losses from card-not-present fraud in teh EU in 2011 was $1.18 Billion (€900 Million).
Source: Grant Gross, “EU organized crime makes €1.5 billion a year on credit card fraud,” IT World, January 7, 2013, and “Payment Card Fraud In The European Union,” Europol, Situation Report, Public Version, January 7, 2013, (PDF available here).