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21 Feb 2017
15 months in jail for devious phishing scam

A 22-year resident of the central Dutch town of Veenendaal thought he had found the perfect way to cheat people out of their money. Until he got caught and heard the appeals court give him 15 months in prison, with a six-month suspended sentence.

The man was convicted of fraud and complicity to theft, Dutch news website Nu.nl reports. He sent fake emails which purported to come from a bank, asking victims to disclose their user credentials. The man knew most of his victims, mostly elderly people.

Next, he sent a letter supposedly from their telecom provider, notifying the recipients that their SIM card needed to be replaced. The man telephoned the victims to make an appointment. He then visited them at home and collected the SIM cards.

After inserting these SIM cards in his own smartphone, the con artist was able to intercept the secret codes he needed to confirm payments. This is how he managed to transfer several large sums of money. In one case, he stole as much as € 10,000. Another victim lost € 9500.

The man colluded with at least two others. One of these co-defendants was acquitted for lack of evidence. The lawsuit against the second co-defendant is still in progress.

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Photo © Marie-Christine Schindler/Flickr.com, CC BY-NC 2.0.