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International action against spoofing

142 arrested in international action against “spoofing”

Fake messages from banks, retail companies and government institutions are tools frequently used by fraudsters in e-shopping. 142 persons around the world have been arrested when police broke up and closed a fraudster website for “spoofing”.

Investigations showed that the website has earned over Euro 3.7 million in 16 months. According to UK authorities, losses to victims at present are Euro 49 million, with estimated worldwide losses in excess of Euro 115 million, Europol says. 

The services of the website allowed those who sign up and pay for the service to anonymously make spoofed calls, send recorded messages, and intercept one-time passwords. 

Europol says the users were able to impersonate an infinite number of entities (such as banks, retail companies and government institutions) for financial gain and substantial losses to victims. 

In an international coordinated action 142 users and administrators of the website were arrested across the world. The main administrator of the website was arrested in the UK.

The website and server was seized and taken offline by US and Ukrainian authorities. 

The case was opened at Eurojust in October 2021 at the request of the UK authorities. National authorities from ten countries, including European Union member states and third countries, supported the investigation that identified additional users of the iSpoof service, a number of which were already known for their involvement in other high-profile cybercrime investigations at the European level. 

London’s Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Mark Rowley stated:

“The exploitation of technology by organised criminals is one of the greatest challenges for law enforcement in the 21st century”, says London’s Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Mark Rowley in a statement after the arrests that were made earlier in November.

The following authorities took part in or supported this investigation:

  • Australia: Australian Federal Police 
  • Canada: Royal Canadian Mounted Police – Federal Policing Cybercrime Investigation Team Toronto
  • France: Cyber Criminality Unit – PPO Paris; Law Enforcement : C3N – Gendarmerie Nationale
  • Germany: Office of the Public Prosecutor General in Bamberg – Bavarian Central Office for the Prosecution of Cybercrime
  • Ireland: An Garda Síochána
  • Lithuania: Prosecutor General’s Office of the Republic of Lithuania; Lithuanian Criminal Police Bureau
  • Netherlands: Cybercrime team Midden-Nederland and Public Prosecutor’s Office Midden-Nederland
  • Ukraine: Department of cyber police of National Police of Ukraine
  • United Kingdom: Metropolitan Police Service (Cyber Crime Unit), City of London Police, and Crown Prosecution Service
  • United States: Federal Bureau of Investigation – Pittsburgh Division; United States Secret Service – Pittsburgh Field Office; and the United States Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Pennsylvania

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