Europol and Eurojust support Czech and Ukrainian police in taking down multi-million euro voice phishing gang
The Czech and Ukrainian police have disrupted, with the support of Europol and Eurojust, a prolific phishing gang believed to have defrauded victims across Europe of tens of millions of euros. In Czechia alone, the damage caused by this criminal group is estimated at over EUR 8 million (CZK 195 000 000).
As a result of this investigation, six suspects were already arrested in Ukraine and four in the Czech Republic in April this year. Locations in Czechia (Domazlice, Rokycany and Plzen) and Ukraine (Dnipropetrovsk) were searched during the raids, including the homes of the accused, vehicles and call centres.
Mobile phones, SIM cards and computer equipment were seized during the crackdown.
The criminal group operated from call centres located in Ukraine and carried out vishing attacks, mainly targeting Czech victims. The fraudsters asked them to transfer funds from their ‘compromised’ bank accounts to ‘safe’ bank accounts controlled by the criminals.
The suspects used spoofed phone numbers and impersonated bank employees and police officers to gain the trust of their victims.
The case was opened at Eurojust in November 2021 at the request of the Czech authorities. A joint investigation team (JIT) was set up between the Czech and Ukrainian authorities with the support of Eurojust in June 2022. The Agency hosted five coordination meetings to facilitate the communication and judicial cooperation between the authorities involved.
Europol’s European Cybercrime Centre (EC3) has been supporting the case since December 2021 by facilitating the information exchange, hosting operational meetings and providing digital forensic support on the seized devices. Europol is currently carrying out analytical work to identify potential victims in other European countries.
How to avoid being a victim of bank vishing calls
Vishing – or voice phishing – is the use of fraudulent phone calls to trick people into giving money or revealing personal information. Vishing frequently involves a criminal pretending to represent a trusted institution, company or government agency.
Here is how to keep you and your finances safe from this type of phone scam: