Europol has arrested two people believed to be the masterminds of a cyber scam responsible for defrauding tens of thousands of euros from hundreds of victims by running fake auctions on eBay offering Apple Mac laptops.
The criminals' fraud campaign targeted at least 15 countries including the UK, France, Germany, Italy, the US, Canada and India. Once the auctions were finished and payment received the criminals would either not send the item listed for sale, or, adding insult to injury, send things such as bricks, fruit and vegetables.
The criminals are believed to have mounted the scams since 2013 and managed to mask their movements by transferring their ill-gotten gains to unregistered pre-paid cards and then immediately withdrawing the cash from an ATM.
Europol said it was able to track the two suspects by collaborating with eBay representatives and Polish police.
Troels Oerting, head of the European Cybercrime Centre (EC3) at Europol, listed the arrests as a key victory, citing them as proof of the need for increased collaboration between law enforcement agencies and businesses.
"This successful case is a perfect example of very effective co-operation between eBay, the Polish National Police and the EC3 in a crime that affected victims from more than 15 countries on three continents," he said.
"By working together, sharing information and co-ordinating this investigation in multiple jurisdictions we have proven that the criminals might be able to run but they can't hide.
"Together with eBay and other companies operating online, and the hard-working cybercrime experts in the EU member states and abroad, we will continue to optimise our investigative methods and put more criminals behind bars."
Increasing collaboration when combating cyber threats has been an ongoing goal of the European Commission and the UK government.
The UK government has set up numerous initiatives to increase information-sharing between the public and private sector, including the creation of the Cyber Security Information Sharing Partnership (CISP) in March 2013.
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