Romanian police and FBI break up 70-strong eBay fraud ring

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String of raids over past week.

Romanian authorities, in conjunction with US law enforcement, have arrested 70 individuals from three different organised cybercrime groups on charges they perpetrated online auction scams that targeted eBay users.

The arrests were the result of a string of raids organised by the Romanian Directorate for Investigating Organised Crime and Terrorism (DIICOT), the agency said in a news release.

Citing published reports out of Romania, the fraudsters may have carried out their scams by first launching phishing attacks to obtain login credentials from legitimate eBay users, Gary Warner, director of research in computer forensics at the University of Alabama, said in a blog post. The defendants then used the hijacked accounts to set up fake auctions selling big-ticket items, such as electronics, cars, airplanes, motorcycles and jewelry.

Since 2006, these cybercrime groups have scammed individuals in Spain, Italy, France, New Zealand, Denmark, Sweden, Germany, Austria, the United States, Canada and Switzerland, DIICOT said. International authorities have identified more than 800 victims, from which fraudsters stole more than US$1m.

The raids, which took place Sunday, were conducted in partnership with the FBI and US Secret Service from the US Embassy in Bucharest, DIICOT said. Hundreds of law enforcement officers carried out the raids, which included 101 search warrants being served.

DIICOT said the operation was its most significant organised crime bust this year.

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