Romanian and Dutch police have arrested three Dutch nationals suspected of netting over €1 million through online phishing in a joint operation.
Romanian police arrested a 33-year-old and a 27-year-old from Enschedé who had fled to the country while Dutch police picked up a 27-year-old man of no fixed abode.
A fourth man is also in custody in Romania, police said.
The men conned almost 1,000 people into parting with their bank data at online trading websites. Based on reports from a number of major banks, police were able to link a phone number to a large number of digital fraud cases which ultimately led to the arrests.
‘The cases often involved people who were already in financial difficulties and they were taken advantage of in a horrible way,’ head of the Midden-Nederland digital crime team Jouke Posthumus said.
The fraud was extensive and complex because of its international character, Posthumus said. ‘Thanks to our international network, the many reports made to police and a close cooperation with Romanian police we managed to arrest the suspects. The next step is to tell the victims the good news and listen again to their stories. That too is part of our job,’ he said.
The amount lost to digital fraud runs to some €2 billion a year, regional police chief Neeltje Geldermans said. ‘One in two victims experiences psychological or financial problems as a result of the fraud. And it can happen to anyone.’
Police urge people who have fallen victim to digital fraud to contact them on 0900 8844 or report online.
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