By Brendan Sasso - 06/26/12 08:20 PM EDT
Police around the world arrested 24 people in a massive crackdown on online fraudsters, the Justice Department announced Tuesday.
The sting, codenamed "Operation Card Shop," led the FBI to arrest 11 people in California, New York and five other states. Officials in seven foreign countries, including the United Kingdom and Bosnia, nabbed another 13 people in the operation.
According to court documents, the FBI set up an undercover website called "Carder Profit" in 2010, which pretended to be a forum for fraudsters to buy and sell financial information and exchange tips about hacking.
The site was designed to allow the FBI to monitor and record all of its discussion threads and private messages.
To make the site seem safe from police, new users could only access it if they were recommended by two existing users.
The FBI monitored the site and its users' communications for two years.
The United States shared the evidence it collected with the foreign authorities for Tuesday's coordinated crackdown.
The U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York said the operation was the "largest coordinated international law enforcement action in history aimed at 'carding' crimes" — offenses in which criminals traffic stolen credit cards on the Internet.
Officials claimed the sting protected more than 400,00 victims and prevented the theft of more than $205 million.