The group set up over 100 fake phishing sites targeting users in France, Spain, Poland, the Czech Republic, Portugal, and other European countries.
The Ukrainian Cyber Police recently announced that they had arrested several members of a criminal group accused of stealing over $4.3 million through phishing scams from more than 1,000 victims across Europe.
The group set up over 100 fake phishing sites targeting users in France, Spain, Poland, the Czech Republic, Portugal, and other European countries. The fraudulent websites advertised goods at prices below the market rate. Victims entered their credit card details to pay for the fake orders, which the criminals used to embezzle money from their accounts.
Two Ukrainian-based suspects were detained, who are believed to be organizers of the criminal gang. Ten other cyber criminals involved in the phishing scams were caught by the authorities in other European countries. The Czech Republic Cyber Police cooperated with law enforcement officials for this arrest.
The attackers created two call centres, located in Vinnytsia and Lviv, to support the fraudulent operation. The call centre operators convinced customers to place orders.
As part of an international police operation, the authorities carried out more than 30 searches at the suspects’ residences, call centers, and vehicles, seizing computer equipment, mobile phones, and SIM cards for analysis.
It is still unknown how the victims arrived at the fraudulent websites. They could have been victims of malvertising, phishing emails, or even direct messages on social media platforms. The stolen information, including credit card details, was used by criminals to buy products online.
Usually, the goods are transferred through a chain of resellers and individuals who assist in hiding the money trail, commonly known as money mules. The police are still investigating the case to identify other members of the group.
According to Cyber Police’s press release, criminal proceedings have been initiated against the perpetrators under Part 4 of Art. 190 (Fraud) and 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. Those found guilty of the crimes could face up to twelve years in prison with confiscation of property.