NEWS

Greek, Romanian police break up criminal gang in web scam

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Greek and Romanian authorities arrested on July 7 eight members of a Romanian criminal network involved in extensive online fraud against users of popular consumer sites such as Amazon and eBay, in a large operation coordinated by Eurojust.

The gang used phishing scams to defraud online customers of at least 2 million euros as they tried to buy prestigious cars and a range of other products, or to book accommodations.

Police searched a total of 30 venues and seized 220,000 euros in cash, mobile phones and travel documents. 

The suspects managed to get hold of bank account numbers and other data of customers using phishing techniques, the sending of fraudulent messages to victims. Unaware that their devices had been infected by malware, customers provided personal financial data, credit card or bank account numbers, and login details when they booked accommodations on online platforms such as Airbnb or purchased goods via Amazon.

The scammers pretended certain houses were their properties and made victims believe the transactions were taking place via Airbnb.

Customers subsequently lost money for the purchase of products or services,which they never received.

The data of victims were shared with other participants in the scheme. The criminal network set up at least 300 bank accounts in Hungary, Spain, Poland, Germany and the Netherlands, using forged identity documents, to hide their profits.

Last month, Eurojust supported another operation against other members of the same crime group, who committed online fraud in the Dutch housing market, leading to two arrests.