Impersonating a police officer
A group of online fraudsters who thought it would be a good idea to miff the cops by pretending to be Europol have been arrested, by Europol. The fraudsters managed to collect millions of euros in fake fines across 30 countries over the past two years.
What they did was hit computers with a virus and left messages purporting to be from organizations like Europol and the police, saying users could only regain access to their machines if they paid a fine. Europol Director Rob Wainwright said at a news conference in Madrid that it was impossible to know for sure how many citizens were affected.
The average fine was 100 euros ($130) and 3 percent paid up. But using the police name to collect cash is something that is really going to sail up the nasal passages of the cops. Wainwright’s own name was used to trick Internet users, and when a top cop is threatened his minions become very focused. The virus was known as "Ransomware" and had up to 48 different mutations to overcome anti-virus software.
The leader of the fraud network, a 27-year-old Russian citizen, was arrested in December in the United Arab Emirates. Spanish police arrested 10 members of the group last week on the country's southern Costa del Sol, a popular tourist destination. Six of the detainees were Russians, two were Ukrainian and two from Georgia. Most of the took care of money laundering and sending cash electronically to Russia, while the head of the group was responsible for developing the virus.