The alleged ringleader of the phone scam gang, which preyed on elderly individuals through fraudulent phone calls, has also been arrested.
A major international law enforcement operation has resulted in the apprehension of multiple suspects, including the alleged ringleader of an organized crime group that preyed on elderly individuals through fraudulent phone calls, as confirmed by Europol.
The National Crime Agency (NCA) of the United Kingdom arrested the suspected head of the criminal network near London, while authorities in Poland and Germany carried out simultaneous raids across several locations in Europe. During the raids, law enforcement officers seized mobile phones, electronic devices, gold bars, coins, jewellery, and $160,000 in cash.
Throughout the investigation, approximately 70 individuals have been taken into custody. The modus operandi of the scam included fraudsters calling elderly victims, posing as police officers or officials authorities, and informing them that their relative was involved in a fatal accident.
The phone would then be handed to another individual who would create a sense of urgency and panic by screaming for help. This tactic aimed to coerce the victim into complying with the fraudster’s demands to hand over money, purportedly to prevent the detention of their fake relative.
Another part of the scam involved physically sending a person to the victim’s residence to collect the money. Typically, these individuals were unwitting trapped as part of squaring scams recruited through online job platforms, according to Europol.
In total, Europol estimated that hundreds of elderly individuals fell victim to this criminal gang, resulting in losses of up to $5 million ($5.4 million). According to Europol, the dismantling of the group may have prevented additional losses of approximately $1.4 million ($1.5 million).
Europol warned that these scams can deceive victims into losing substantial amounts of money while inflicting severe emotional distress and eroding trust in legitimate authorities.
The shutdown of this highly sophisticated scam is not unexpected, considering the rigorous crackdown by British authorities on cybercriminals and scammers. In November 2022, the UK’s largest bank call scam, iSpoof, was dismantled when its infrastructure was seized. Subsequently, in May 2023, the mastermind behind the operation was apprehended in London and sentenced to 13 years in prison.
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