12 Arrested in Vishing CaseOperation Netted Millions from Banks, Victims
Belgian and Dutch judicial and law enforcement authorities have disrupted a voice-phishing scheme that collected millions of euros from Belgian victims and banks.
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The authorities, supported by the European Cybercrime Centre at Europol and Eurojust, arrested 12 members of the group, along with the seizure of €15,000 in cash and important digital evidence in the vishing case, according to a statement from Europol, the European Union's law enforcement agency.
In the case, according to Europol, victims in Belgium first received an e-mail that purported to be from a Belgian bank asking for personal information. In the second phase of the scheme, the criminals, who were located in the Netherlands, made contact with the victims by telephone in order to gain access to private and personal information. The scheme enabled the criminals to access bank accounts in Belgium and transfer money out of them.
Investigations to identify potential criminal connections in other member states are continuing. Europol urges citizens to be cautious of receiving cold calls requesting personal information such as PINs, passwords or other details.
"This case is another example of organized cybercriminals setting up teams to act like legitimate representatives of established businesses, who then lure innocent victims into disclosing personal information," says Troels Oerting, head of EC3. "The criminals misuse this harvested information to steal the victims' identities or money."
Eurojust and EC3 facilitated cooperation between Belgian and Dutch judicial and law enforcement authorities by hosting coordination and operational meetings. EC3 also provided valuable analytical and forensic support to the joint investigation team.
Eurojust, an agency of the European Union that deals with investigations and prosecutions, did not immediately respond to a request for additional information.