On Tuesday, Europol announced it had dismantled an organized crime group that dabbled in fraud, phishing, scams, and other money laundering activities.
This inter-border operation group involved law enforcement authorities from the Netherlands and Belgium. And has experienced the arrests of 9 people in the Netherlands this month.
The arrested suspects include men between 25 and 36 ages from Almere, Amsterdam, Spijkenisse, and Rotterdam, plus a 25-year-old woman from Deventer, based on the National Police Force’s statement.
The Europol, as part of its 24 house searches, also confiscated firearms, electronic devices, jewelry, ammunition, expensive watches, designer clothing, cryptocurrency, and thousands of euros in cash.
According to a Europol official, “The criminal group contacted victims by email, text message and through mobile messaging applications. These messages were sent by the members of the gang and contained a phishing link leading to a bogus banking website.”
The cross-border operation group reveals that unsuspecting individuals who clicked on the link are tricked into inputting their credentials, which are subsequently stolen by the criminals to cash out million euros from the victim’s accounts using the money mules’ help.
More so, the officials believe that some of the syndicates have connections with firearms and drug trafficking.
During the bust, Europol facilitated operational coordination and information exchange and offered analytical support for the investigation.
The organization also deployed three experts to the Netherlands to offer real-time analytical support to the ground investigators while providing technical and forensics expertise.
This bust happened less than a month after Europol, alongside Belgium, Australia, Hungary, Romania, Finland, Ireland, Sweden, Spain, the Netherlands, Switzerland, and the US, eliminated the infrastructure linked with FluBot Android malware.
This is unlike in March last year, when the botnet was revived after the arrest of the key members. This month saw law enforcement assume control of FluBot’s infrastructure, so it won’t be utilized to target Android users.
In this year April, Europol equally coordinated Operation TOURNIQUET, which led to the proscription of the RaidForums hacking forum and the arrest of Diogo Santos Coelho, its founder and administrator, in the UK on January 31st.
The organization has its headquarters in The Hague, the Netherlands. It supports the 27 European Union member states in their wars against cybercrime, terrorism, and other organized and serious crimes.
The group also operates with several non-EU partner international organizations and states. And has offered the resources and tools needed to make Europe safer.