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Pandemic sees criminals target online shoppers

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

Fears of catching the virus have pushed a pointy enhance in on-line procuring, which in flip has led to a serious rise in supply fraud within the second 12 months of the pandemic, Europol mentioned in its annual cybercrime report.

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

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

Cell phones, particularly, had been being focused, with felony gangs posing as supply companies 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 through SMS on cellphones, a follow known as ‘smishing’.

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

Europol mentioned the cryptocurrencies equivalent to Bitcoin and Monero remained the preferred type of fee for unlawful items and companies on the darkish internet.

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

Novel weapons, equivalent to these made by three-dimensional printers, had been additionally on the rise.

For example, Spanish police in September final 12 months busted a workshop the place these weapons had been being made.

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

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