Ukrainian cyber police have disrupted a prolific phishing gang it claims made 160 million hryvnias ($4.3m) from victims across Europe.
The Cyber Police of Ukraine claimed in a notice yesterday that over 30 locations were searched as part of the raids, including the homes of the accused, vehicles and call centers.
Mobile phones, SIM cards and computer equipment were seized in the crackdown, with officers from the country’s security service (SBU) also taking part.
The group is said to have created over 100 phishing sites offering heavily discounted goods which lured victims into attempting to purchase them. Once the phishers had victims’ card details, they would use them for follow-on fraud.
Scammers were apparently also employed in two call centers in Vinnytsia and in Lviv, and were tasked with the job of convincing shoppers to complete their purchases on the fake sites.
The police claimed to have identified over 1000 victims in the Czech Republic, Poland, France, Spain, Portugal and other European countries.
The operation was carried out in cooperation with police officers from the Czech Republic.
Two arrests were made in Ukraine of the suspected ringleaders, and another 10 individuals were detained in unnamed European countries.
The suspected group leaders face charges under Part 4 of Art. 190 (fraud) and Part 1 of Art. 255 (creation, management and participation in a criminal organization) of the Criminal Code of Ukraine. They could face up to 12 years in jail as a result.
Ukrainian police have scored a series of wins in recent months. In June last year they busted another prolific phishing gang suspected of making 100 million hryvnias ($3.4m) by luring locals with the promise of financial support from the EU.
In November the same year, five Ukrainians were arrested as part of a major bust of an online fraud gang thought to be responsible for an estimated $200m in losses.