Six arrested for internet scam

9th August 2007, Comments 0 comments

9 August 2007, HAARLEM (AFP) - Six men have been arrested in the Netherlands for an alleged internet scam that cost an Australian EUR 1.1 million, police said Wednesday.

9 August 2007

HAARLEM (AFP) - Six men have been arrested in the Netherlands for an alleged internet scam that cost an Australian EUR 1.1 million, police said Wednesday.

The six, taken into custody last week, are believed to be part of a West African network, police said in a statement. Five of them are from West Africa, including two Nigerians, it added.

They are suspected of extorting the money from a 49-year-old Australian man after promising him, by e-mail, a lucrative business contract worth 90 million dollars, according to police.

"We are talking about a massive fraud using marketing techniques," said Harry Jongkind, coordinator of a Dutch police operation dedicated to Internet-based scams.

"Any type of fraud that uses telecommunications: the internet, email or fax, often involves demanding the payment of costs in advance and before being able to get a hold of the promised prize... which the victim in the end will never get a glimpse of," Jongkind said in Haarlem.

These scams usually involved foreign bank accounts, he added. "And the crooks are never located in the same country as their victim in order to make police cooperation difficult."

In the Australian's case, the alleged scam started a year ago in Japan before spreading to other countries, and then ended in Amsterdam where he came for an appointment with his alleged business partners.

After advancing large sums of money, supposedly for such things as notary fees, the Australian finally started to realise that he was being ripped off, police said.

He alerted Dutch police who were then able to arrest the three suspected swindlers in an Amsterdam hotel where they had arranged to meet the Australian with a suitcase full of money claiming it would soon be his.

Another meeting in an office building in Abcoude led to the three other arrests.
Dutch police have been involved in a programme since October to specifically track down fraud over the internet. They have made 74 arrests and seized lists of email addresses of targeted victims.

The fraudsters -- as many as 18,000 in Europe -- are very inventive, experts say. They reproduce the internet web sites of major international banks and open accounts with borrowed names and fake companies.

As for the victims, those who have filed complaints have paid the scam artists anywhere from EUR 8,500 to EUR 2.5 million, police say.

[Copyright AFP 2007]

Subject: Dutch news

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