Ukraine has been fighting for its survival against Russian invaders for nearly two years – but behind its own lines, it’s engaged in another battle against cyber scammers. With 80,000 cases of fraud reported last year, police have announced a strategy to tackle the growing problem in 2024.
Cyber police chief Yuriy Vykhodets and other departmental heads attended a meeting in Kyiv this week that noted Russian aggression had provided fertile grounds for fraud, which accounts for a fifth of crimes committed in Ukraine.
Victims of the 80,000-odd fraud cases recorded last year included military personnel and volunteers, families of those killed in action fighting the Russians, and people who have been internally displaced by the conflict.
The strategy for this year will entail prioritizing the country’s fight against organized criminal gangs, with an emphasis on the prompt detection and blocking of phishing sites, as well as zeroing in on telephone and internet fraudsters.
“Cooperation with banking institutions, providers, the State Special Forces, and the State Criminal Enforcement Service will become more extensive,” said Dmytro Tyshylek, the deputy head of the National Police of Ukraine.
Tyshylek was suspended from office last year on suspicion of having links to criminal entities in Russia but reinstated in November after an internal inquiry cleared him of wrongdoing.
The Cyber Police of Ukraine say they will implement a system to document cybercrimes and develop “new tools to combat fraudsters,” as well as continue an online campaign to raise public awareness about digital scammers, who typically try to compel unwary victims into voluntarily parting with their money.
Among the most common types of internet fraud registered in Ukraine were non-existent goods being falsely advertised on social media networks, phishing links deployed to capture bank card details, and bogus messages being sent to victims demanding payment to resolve fictitious problems.
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