It seems that some of the ‘Russian mafia’ involved in phishing scams in Australia are being rounded up at last.
The Gold Coast Bulletin reported Saturday (no URL available, here’s the Google cache of the story) that police there have arrested two men, one a 21-year-old Moscow-born Sydney resident, and the other a “22-year-old Southport man, formerly from Belarus”, were arrested. Police say the first “was about to remove $10,000 from a personal account, and had earlier taken $8000 from a personal account” elsewhere.
Police say the two men had used a trojan to capture keystrokes and then access bank accounts of their victims. They didn’t say how many accounts they had accessed but said the “former Muscovite had opened 11 bank accounts – nine on the Gold Coast and two in Sydney.” I’m assuming these are done through third-parties: The newspaper says the scammers would “use Internet chat rooms until they found fellow-Russians living in Australia. “Then they ask the person if they will set up a bank account for them and they will deposit money into it. So then the scammer has a clean account to put cash into once they used the trojan to steal funds from other accounts.”
This is all pretty much as we expected, but it’s interesting it’s taken so long for the police to get these guys. The other interesting thing is the indication that it’s not so much the Russian Mafia, as Russian-speaking ad-hoc gangs that we’re talking about. Not so much organised crime as ad-hoc crime, as criminals seek out others with a similar background who may or may not be aware they’re doing something wrong.