Ukraine cops bust online trading scammers

Cyber police in Ukraine have arrested a 21-year-old suspected of masterminding a fake financial exchange online that he allegedly used to defraud victims.

As the conventional war against Russia rages on, Ukraine, like its ally the US, must also contend with homegrown digital crime. In this case, police appear to have won a victory, arresting a man who they say created the web portal of a fake trading exchange that simulated authentic transactions.

This was allegedly just a lure to draw in victims, who the cyber police of Ukraine say have lost around half a million hryvnias ($13,500). They appear to have the ringleader in custody, though he is thought to have been just one member of an illegal syndicate based in Kropyvnytskyi, in the Kirovohrad region of central Ukraine.

“Residents of Kropyvnytskyi organized a ‘financial exchange’ that defrauded their investors,” said police. “Fraudsters offered to invest money in financial transactions. However, depositors not only did not make a profit, but also lost their money.”

Police and suspect with faces blurred
Police arrest suspect during raid in the Ukrainian city of Kropyvnytskyi

During the raid, cyber police from Kirovohrad and detectives from Kropyvnytskyi regional headquarters searched homes of the suspected perpetrators and seized digital records, computer equipment, mobile phones, and dozens of bank cards that they say were used in the scam.

It’s not clear whether police only arrested the ringleader or if they took any of his accomplices into custody as well. They’re also working to track down the victims of the suspected scam.

If subsequently found guilty, suspects face up to five years in prison.

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