DAILY CYBER INSIGHTS | EUROPOL: Police unplug international phone scam network

4th July 2023

Law enforcement from Germany, Poland and the United Kingdom, supported by Europol, have tracked down and arrested the head of a criminal network responsible for defrauding hundreds of elderly citizens. The suspect was taken into custody near London, from where he directed a network of fraudsters targeting mainly German and Polish citizens. While executing the arrest warrant issued by Polish authorities, officers seized crucial evidence such as mobile phones in the suspect’s residence. Meanwhile, German police conducted searches in five locations and seized over EUR 160 000 in cash, gold bars and gold coins, as well as jewellery, phones, and other electronic devices.

Unwitting accomplices sent to collect cash

The organised criminal network specialised in calling elderly citizens across Germany and Poland pretending to be police officers or representing other official authorities. Victims were informed that one of their relatives has been responsible for a car accident or similar event resulting in injuries or death of other persons. The scam caller would then hand over the phone to an accomplice, who would cry or scream into the phone frantically, imploring the victim to lend help. This approach was intended to shock the elderly person, allowing the caller to proceed with the fraudulent procedure and ask for the handover of money to avoid the fake relative’s detention.

The criminals would instruct the victim about the handover procedure, then send a person to collect the money at the victim’s doorstep. In order to minimise exposure and avoid the risk of arrest, the criminal network recruited unwitting accomplices for this task, via online job platforms.

Over the course of the investigation, over 70 persons taking part in this scam were arrested, for instance while they were collecting money at the victim’s homes. The overall damage amounts to around EUR 5 million and is estimated that up to EUR 1.4 million of losses could be prevented thanks to this successful takedown. Learn More /...

About Europol

Headquartered in The Hague, the Netherlands, Europol’s mission is to support its Member States in preventing and combating all forms of serious international and organised crime, cybercrime and terrorism. Europol also works with many non-EU partner states and international organisations. Learn More /...

Daily Cyber Insights

About Cybersecurity Journalist - Iain Fraser

Daily Cyber Insights | Iain Fraser - Cybersecurity & Geopolitical Journalist, Authority Writer, Commentator, Consultant Editor - Cybersecurity & Geopolitics | Gibraltar & Málaga City - Cybersecurity & Geopolitical Awareness, Threat Management, Compliance and Best Practice Mitigation. Voted Top 30 Cybersecurity News Websites Globally in 2023 for Information Security by Feedspot #CyberJourno #Scambaiter - Available for Assignments - Articles, Web Content, Guest Blogger.


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