Dutch police take 10 corona fraud webshops off line

Photo: Depositphotos.com

Dutch police have taken 10 web shops off line in a move to prevent internet fraud connected with coronavirus and warn this type of fraud may increase.

The shops, offering products from anti-bacterial bank cards, COVID tracker apps and face masks, are just some of the corona-related scams that are currently being operated by cyber criminals, police said.

Some of the 10 fraudulent shops had hijacked the names of well-known shops while others were completely fake.

Cyber crime has not increased significantly for the present but police are expecting more attempts by fraudsters because of the current lock down measures.

‘People are spending more time at home sitting at their computers but so do criminals who are looking for ways to make money out of the crisis,’ police cyber detective Theo van der Plas told current affairs radio programme 1 op 1.

Other online scams include fake emails from health monitor RIVM containing malware and a Whatsapp message about benefits for people who are unemployed because of coronavirus which tries to retrieve bank details.

‘People’s defences against this sort of thing are down and this makes them more inclined to click on links. That is why we are trying to increase awareness,’ Van der Plas said. No arrests have been made in the 10 webshop cases but, Van der Plas said, ‘we are extra motivated to catch these people. Things are difficult enough without being conned by cyber criminals.’

Police earlier foiled an attempt by two Dutch 27-year-olds to scam hospitals out of millions of euros by selling them a load of non-existent face masks.

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