The fraudster tried denying his guilt, but his technological expertise was quickly noted by the investigators.
By World Israel News Staff
A resident of the Palestinian Authority managed to steal NIS 200,000 (appr. $65,000) by pretending to represent Israel Post, claiming that a package sent to potential customers was seized by customs and a fee was required in order to retrieve it, The Jerusalem Post reported.
The phishing scheme was concocted by Myhammad Abbasi, 22, who took advantage of a free trial offered by an SMS messaging company.
“Israel Post user, your package arrived in Israel but your package was stopped at customs. You need to release it you can pay here (payment link). You must pay within 48 hours. After 48 hours we will start taking a commission Of NIS 25,” Abbasi’s message read.
Each of those who believed the message paid a minimum of NIS 260, but the money went directly to Abbasi’s crypto account.
When the messaging company got wind of the fraud, it blocked Abbasi, according to the Post. Undeterred, he repeated the scheme by using other companies, sending tens of thousands of text messages and nearly 100,000 emails.
After numerous complaints were filed by his duped victims, an Israeli police cyber unit opened an investigation and arrested Abbasi, who tried denying his guilt. However, his technological expertise was quickly noted.
“We asked him to explain to us a particular matter regarding the scheme and suddenly he flowed with us and began to describe the actions that need to be taken. This is the moment we realized he is an expert in the field and acts like he does not understand anything in the digital world,” the police officer told Mako. “You can understand how civilians fell into this trap.”
Abbasi was indicted by the State Attorney’s Cyber Department.