21 june 2022
The suspects sent emails and text messages with phishing links to bogus banking websites
A cross-border operation, supported by Europol and involving the Belgian Police (Police Fédérale/Federale Politie) and the Dutch Police (Politie), resulted in the dismantling of an organised crime group involved in phishing, fraud, scams and money laundering.
The action day on 21 June 2022 led to:
- 9 arrests in the Netherlands
- 24 house searches in the Netherlands
- Seizures including firearms, ammunition, jewellery, electronic devices, cash and cryptocurrency
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. Thinking they were viewing their own bank accounts through this website, the victims were duped into providing their banking credentials to the suspects. The investigative leads suggest that the criminal network managed to steal several million euros from their victims with this fraudulent activity. They used money mules to transfer these funds from the victim’s accounts and to cash out the fraudulently obtained money. Members of the group have also been connected with cases of drugs trafficking and possible firearms trafficking.
Europol facilitated the information exchange, the operational coordination and provided analytical support for investigation. During the operation, Europol deployed three experts to the Netherlands to provide real-time analytical support to investigators on the ground, forensics and technical expertise.
Headquartered in The Hague, the Netherlands, Europol supports the 27 EU Member States in their fight against terrorism, cybercrime, and other serious and organised crime forms. Europol also works with many non-EU partner states and international organisations. From its various threat assessments to its intelligence-gathering and operational activities, Europol has the tools and resources it needs to do its part in making Europe safer.