The Prosecutor General’s Office of Ukraine (PGO), together with the National Police of Ukraine, in cooperation with the competent authorities of the Czech Republic with the support of Europol and Eurojust, exposed the illegal activities of an international criminal organization that, under the guise of a call center, defrauded Czech citizens of CZK 65 million ($3.07 million).
“Six citizens of the Republic of Belarus and the Czech Republic, who set up a large-scale international fraudulent scheme, have now been detained to extradite them,” the PGO said on its website on Friday.
The scammers extorted money from the victims using phone calls.
“The scammers introduced themselves to the victims as employees of a banking institution and reported that their bank account had been hacked. They also provided other false information, forcing the victims to transfer money from the breached bank account to another supposedly safe account that they indicated. The victims received another call from a so-called ‘police officer’. Pseudo-policemen confirmed the authenticity of the first call, allegedly received from a bank employee, and the need to transfer money to a more secure bank account,” the PGO said.
During the calls, the members of the criminal group used phone number substitution – spoofing and vishing – they imitated any phone number they needed. Thus, the victims had the impression that they were receiving calls from the support service, the bank, the police, etc.
“Such ‘call centers’ operated in Dnipro, their staff included more than 20 people, among whom were foreigners. Participants were carefully selected, a prerequisite for being ’employed’ is knowledge of foreign languages. Now 300 victims have been identified who have suffered property damage for a total in the amount of at least CZK 65 million. All victims are citizens of the Czech Republic,” the PGO said.
Law enforcement officers conducted more than 30 authorized searches on the territory of Dnipropetrovsk region, as well as the Czech Republic. Computer equipment, documents, bank cards, and cash were seized. At the same time, the organizers of the transaction were also detained in the Czech Republic.
Pre-trial investigation into fraud, creation of a criminal organization and participation in it is carried out by the National Police of Ukraine (Part 4 of Article 190, Parts 1, 2 of Article 255 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine).