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International phishing ring busted

Federal efforts to crack down on international crime paid off with indictments charging 38 people in the U.S. and Romania in two phishing schemes.

A federal grand jury in Los Angeles indicted 33 people in connection with an international racketeering scheme that defrauded thousands of victims. According to the indictment, which was unsealed Monday, Romania-based members of the ring launched a phishing attack to obtain thousands of credit and debit card account numbers and other personal information. The stolen information was sent to U.S.-based members of the group, which used the data to create new cards and withdraw money. The individuals charged in the indictment are both U.S. citizens and foreign nationals and operated in Canada, Pakistan, Portugal in addition to the U.S. and Romania, federal officials said.

The second indictment, unsealed May 16, charged seven Romanians in connection with a phishing scam involving fraudulent emails that appeared to come from Connecticut-based People’s Bank. The group is suspected of launching similar phishing schemes against other companies, including Citibank, Capital One, and Comerica Bank.

Federal law enforcement officials announced the indictments with Roman officials to highlight the cooperative efforts between the two countries in combating this type of international crime, the U.S. Department of Justice said a press release. Last month, U.S. Attorney General Michael B. Mukasey announced the department’s Law Enforcement Strategy to Combat International Organized Crime. The strategy aims to address the globalization of business and advances in technology.

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