A computer fraud network that killed 4,000 victims dismantled

Half hackers, half scammers. Six people, suspected of being part of a “fake computer repair” fraud network, were indicted on November 22 in Paris, learns 20 minutes from consistent sources. Investigators from the judicial police of Montpellier and Nancy, seized by the cyber section of the Paris prosecutor’s office, have identified several thousand victims. The damage is estimated at around 1.2 million euros.

The case begins in October 2020. Several Internet users report having been victims of the same scam on the platform cybermalveillance.gouv.fr. “They explain that their computer is blocked after having received a fraudulent email. A pop-up appears, telling them that to unlock it, you have to call a company based in Montpellier, supposedly approved by Microsoft”, tells 20 minutes the head of the Financial Crime Division of the Territorial Directorate of the Judicial Police (DTPJ) of Montpellier, Caroline Belda.

1,800 euros

The victims dial the telephone number mentioned and find a technician, who is abroad, who takes control of their machine remotely. As if by magic, he manages to fix it. A few days later, they receive an invoice to be paid, the amount of which ranges from a few hundred to 1,800 euros. Montpellier PJ investigators identify 884 victims and collect around 500 complaints. The manager of this company, created in June 2020, was quickly arrested. He was indicted on October 22, 2020 and placed under judicial supervision.

At the same time, the cyber section of the prosecution seized the PJ of Nancy, for facts of the same nature. This time, the company that the victims must contact is located in Saint-Dié-des-Vosges (Vosges). 148 victims are counted. Judicial information is opened on July 16, 2021. The operating methods of these two cases being identical, the magistrates suspect the criminals of being part of one and the same team. In September 2022, they decide to join the two files. In all, 4,000 victims are identified, and the total damage estimated at 1.2 million euros.

6 suspects indicted

After several months of investigations, seven people, aged around forty, were arrested on November 22 in Perpignan (Pyrénées-Orientales), Puy-en-Velay (Haute-Loire), Istres and Martigues ( Bouches-du-Rhône) and in the Paris region. Six of them are indicted for “fraud, attempted fraud in an organized gang, criminal association, offenses related to the STAD (automated data processing system) and laundering of fraud in an organized gang”, tells us a judicial source. Three were placed in pre-trial detention, and three others under judicial control.

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