Romanian Authorities Disrupt Fraud Ring Responsible for Stealing $4M (€3.1M) from US Citizens

20 individuals are suspected of taking part in this operation

Romania’s Directorate for Investigating Organized Crime and Terrorism (DIICOT) has managed to disrupt the activities of another criminal ring responsible for fraudulent online activities.

The group, comprising a number of 20 individuals, is believed to be responsible for defrauding over $4 million (€3.1 million) from around 100 US citizens.

Authorities raided 27 residences located in Bucharest – Romania’s capital city – and various other counties, including Timis, Bacau, Valcea, Ilfov, Olt, Gorj and Caras-Severin.

According to local reports, the scheme took place between 2009 and 2012. During this period, the crime ring’s masterminds recruited individuals with English language and IT skills who were hired to post bogus advertisements on auction sites.

The crooks took ads from auction websites and re-posted them under different names and different contact details. Potential buyers were tricked into sending upfront payments without actually seeing what they were paying for.

The group’s leader procured fake college degrees to help those who traveled to the US to withdraw the money to obtain visas.

Once they arrived in the United States, the fraudsters were provided with fake IDs and driver’s licenses which allowed them to withdraw the loot from the bank accounts and wire it back to Romania.

Technical support has been provided by the Romanian Intelligence Service (SRI). Romanian law enforcement has cooperated with the FBI, the US Secret Service and the US embassy in Bucharest to dismantle the fraud ring.

At the end of November, DIICOT arrested a number of 16 individuals believed to be part of a cybercriminal organization that was responsible for damages totaling over $25 million (€19.5 million).

They’re suspected of stealing sensitive information, including financial details, by breaching the systems of various companies from abroad.

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