Six arrested for phishing fraud, at least 30 victims so far


Dutch police have arrested six men in an investigation into online banking fraud which is thought to have netted the gang at least €70,000.

At least 30 people nationwide are thought to have fallen for fake emails purporting to be from some form of officialdom, such as the chamber of commerce or the Digid digital identity system.

People who responded to the emails were contacted the next day by someone posing as a bank worker who said their account had been hacked. They were then encouraged to install a software programme that enabled the crooks to take over their computers at a distance and steal thousands of euros via internet banking, police said.

In a couple of cases, the police said, the suspects actually visited their victims at home and took away bank cards and other valuable items.

The police began the investigation after a number of similar complaints were made by people living in the Utrecht region. They were able to track down the crooks after listening live as the conmen phoned their victims.

The arrests of the six, from Amsterdam, Almere and Heemskerk, were made last Wednesday and five of the men have been remanded in custody pending further questioning. The police expect more cases will emerge as the investigation continues.

Almost a year ago, the police made eight arrests as a result of a large-scale investigation into fraud in which 150 people were conned out of a total of €1.6 million by the gang, who pretending to work for a bank.

The fraudsters used manipulated phone numbers to tell people their account has been hacked, urging them to transfer their money into a ‘safe’ account. Clients were also sent e-mails purportedly from their banks telling them there was a problem with their pin card which would be collected by a bank worker.

In 2022, the Fraud Helpdesk reported that scammers claiming to come from the ‘supreme court’ or police had managed to steal at least €1.7 million from their victims in less than a year.

The phone calls were made in English and the caller would tell the victim they have to hand over information and money because, for example, their BSN number has been implicated in a crime.

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