Pandemic sparks sharp rise in online shopping fraud: Europol

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The coronavirus pandemic has sparked a pointy rise in on-line buying fraud, Europe’s policing company warned on Thursday, saying criminals continued to prey on victims working from residence.

Fears of catching the virus have pushed a pointy improve in on-line buying, which in flip has led to a serious rise in supply fraud within the second yr of the pandemic, Europol mentioned in its annual cybercrime report.

“The extension of lockdowns all through Europe has introduced with it numerous new e-commerce alternatives, which have usually confirmed to be a goal for criminals,” the Hague-based company mentioned.

“Criminals supply items and obtain fee with out supply, defraud on-line outlets with weak safety measures, or use supply providers as phishing lures,” it mentioned.

Cellphones specifically have been being focused, with legal gangs posing as supply providers pretending to supply details about a parcel, however in actuality hoping to get the sufferer’s account and bank card particulars.

This included sending messages by way of SMS on cell phones, a observe known as “smishing.”

In the meantime, the darkish internet continued to be the principle market place for illicit exercise, regardless of latest international police successes in taking down unlawful web sites resembling DarkMarket in January.

Europol mentioned cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Monero remained the preferred type of fee for unlawful items and providers on the darkish internet.

Weapons seem like more and more traded on the darkish internet in addition to via encrypted discussion groups, Europol mentioned.

Novel weapons, resembling these made by three-dimensional printers, have been additionally on the rise.

As an illustration, Spanish police in September final yr busted a workshop the place these weapons have been being made.

There, regulation officers seized templates for weapons downloaded from the darkish internet and several other 3D printers, “one in all which was within the strategy of printing a small firearm,” Europol mentioned.

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