A cross-border operation, supported by Europol and involving the Belgian Police (Federale Politie) and the Dutch Police (Politie), resulted in the dismantling today of an organised crime group (OCG) involved in phishing, fraud, scams, and money laundering.
- The OCG used email, text messages and mobile messaging applications to contact their victims.
- These messages contained a phishing link leading to a bogus banking website.
- Thinking they were viewing their own bank accounts through this website, the victims were duped into providing their banking credentials to the suspects. The investigative leads suggest that the criminal network managed to steal several million euros from their victims with this fraudulent activity.
- The OCG used money mules to transfer these funds from the victim’s accounts and to cash out the fraudulently obtained money.
- Members of the OCG have also been connected with cases of drugs trafficking and possible firearms trafficking.
On 21 June 2022 the coordinated Police action led to:
- 9 arrests in the Netherlands
- 24 house searches in the Netherlands
- Seizures including firearms, ammunition, jewellery, electronic devices, cash and cryptocurrency
Europol facilitated the information exchange, the operational coordination and provided analytical support for investigation. During the operation, Europol deployed three experts to the Netherlands to provide real-time analytical support to investigators on the ground, forensics and technical expertise.
The EAST Expert Group on Payment and Transaction Fraud (EPTF), which meets three times each year, focuses on the prevention of payment and transaction fraud, including phishing. The 12th EAST EPTF meeting took place on 13 April 2022.