26 phishing arrests in Italy

Police swoop on Poste Italiane spam scam gangs.

In a first for Italy, the Guardia Di Finanza has made 26 arrests from two separate groups of phishing fraudsters, in the culmination of an operation, dubbed 'Phish and Chip', aimed at tracking down phishers defrauding banking clients of the national postal service Poste Italiane.

The 26 included 18 Italians and eight foreign nationals, mostly from Eastern Europe but resident in Italy. The gangs are accused of sending out emails claiming to represent the Poste Italiane, and directing victims to faked websites to gather banking details, which were then used to strip accounts of funds. They are thought to have used casinos to enable larger withdrawals than offered by ATM cash machines. No details of the scale of the phishing activity have yet emerged.

A judge involved in the case has called for improvements to the laws governing such fraud, including a specific crime of phishing, describing current legislation covering some of the crimes involved as 'weak'.

An announcement from the Guardia Di Finanza (in Italian) is on their website here, and a full press release is carried by an Italian anti-phishing website here. A translation of the release is on the CastleCops site here, and more comment from Sophos is here.

Posted on 16 July 2007 by Virus Bulletin.

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