Latvian and Ukrainian authorities bust phone fraud scheme

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On March 15 this year, the Latvian State Police and Ukrainian law enforcement authorities suspended the activities of an international organized criminal group, the police said Monday, March 19.

The fraud scheme was carried out through a network of call centers located in Ukraine, with a one-month turnover likely exceeding EUR 128,000. The information obtained during the investigation shows that the majority of the victims are Latvian residents, the State Police said.

Initially, specialists from the State Police Cybercrime Combating Administration identified and analyzed the information obtained regarding telephone fraud, when fraudsters claimed to be police officers or employees of bank security services, in order to obtain personal access data for bank accounts. 

The phone screen of the recipient showed false information that the incoming call was made from a number registered in Latvia, i.e. from the police or the bank. Fraudsters are able to imitate any country's phone numbers, as well as any individual or company number.

The operators of the said call center called residents of Latvia and spoke in Russian. During the call, they pointed to allegedly fraudulent activities in the bank account of the Latvian resident and obtained access data for the victim's bank account. The money was then transferred from the victims' accounts.

During the investigation, it was found that in Ukraine, the district of Dnipropetrovsk, more than 60 operators worked under the supervision of this organized group.

The State Police established a joint investigation group with Ukraine, which resulted in the unveiling and cessation of the criminal group. Ten members of the group have been arrested. The total value of the arrested property of the organized criminal group amounts to EUR 272 000.

Investigations are currently being carried out to identify all persons who have suffered from the activities of the criminal group.


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