Ukraine war fraud suspects facing jail for allegedly faking military support

While the West fights against Russian disinformation, Ukrainian cyber police are busy cracking down on homegrown fraudsters who seek to exploit the war with fraudulent offers of military equipment, including uniforms and vehicles.

Both cases highlighted by the Cyber Police of Ukraine on January 27 saw crooks use social media to advertise non-existent goods and services that could be used at the front.

The first of these digital scams entailed promising to send volunteer personnel vehicles from abroad that could be used in the war effort against Russia, while the second involved bogus offers to sell military uniforms and generators.

Both scams required upfront payments from the unwary, in the form of outright prepayment via credit card in the case of the uniforms and generators, and a prepaid ‘customs fee’ for the car-shipping scam.

“However, after receiving the money, the men did not fulfill their obligations,” said Ukrainian police. “Customers were told that they allegedly had to wait a little longer because the goods were being delivered from abroad.”

The victims – which police believe ran to dozens of volunteer soldiers in the case of the uniforms scam – were subsequently blocked online by the alleged conmen.

Mobile phones seized by Ukraine police during bust in Chernivtsi
Mobile phones seized by Ukraine police during bust in Chernivtsi

The military vehicles scam was allegedly perpetrated by a 32-year-old suspect from the Chernivtsi region of Ukraine.

“The impersonator created an account on the social network, where he offered to supply cars from European countries, their customs clearance and registration,” said police. “For such services, he received a subscription to bank cards he controlled. The attacker also posted similar ads on online classifieds sites.

“Buyers ordered cars from the man to deliver to the military at the front, but he did not fulfill his duties and blocked customers. He spent the appropriated money on his own needs.”

The suspects are in custody pending trial and face up to eight years in prison if convicted.

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