The Cyber Police of Ukraine, with the support of law enforcement officials from the Czech Republic, has arrested several members of a cybercriminal ring that defrauded EU citizens of $4.33 million with phishing campaigns.
The suspects set up more than 100 phishing websites to obtain the bank card data and banking account credentials of foreign citizens.
“The members of the international criminal group were exposed by the employees of the Cyber Police Department together with the Main Investigation Department of the National Police and in cooperation with law enforcement officers of the Czech Republic.” reads the press release published by the Cyber Police of Ukraine. “Some of the people involved, who live in Ukraine, created more than 100 phishing sites aimed at European users. Various products were offered on web resources at below-market prices. Bank card data, which customers indicated on phishing resources to pay for orders, automatically became known to attackers. Later, they appropriated money from their accounts.”
The cybercrime organization also created two call centers, in Vinnytsia and in Lviv, as part of the fraudulent scheme. Operators at the call centers attempted to trick customers into making purchases.
The websites were offering heavily discounted products to lure visitors placing orders. The bad news for the users was that the operators behind the websites were only interested in gathering financial information provided by the visitors while making fake purchases.
The authorities identified more than 1,000 victims from multiple countries, including the Czech Republic, Poland, France, Spain, Portugal and other European countries. The police estimated that the total amount of damages is more than 160 million hryvnias ($4.3M).
Police officers conducted more than 30 searches in the houses of the accused, in their cars and at the locations of call centers. The agents seized mobile phones, SIM cards and computer equipment used in illegal activities were seized.
Two of the arrested individuals are believed to be the masterminds behind the operation, ten others members of the gang are detained in other territories across the European Union.
Criminal proceedings have been initiated against the perpetrators, who may face a maximum sentence of up to 12 years in prison.
“Criminal proceedings have been opened under Part 4 of Art. 190 (Fraud), Part 1 of Art. 255 (Creation, management of a criminal community or criminal organization, as well as participation in it) of the Criminal Code of Ukraine. Perpetrators may face up to twelve years in prison with confiscation of property.” concludes the press release.
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