Members of the Police Unit for High-Tech Crime Prevention of Quang Tri Province have to live in the routines as the criminals they chase by staying up late and sleeping at daytime. — Photo thanhnien.com.vn

“Our job as police officers in high-tech crimes requires us to play and understand games to understand the criminals,” said Lieutenant Nguyen Phi Hung of the Police Unit for High-Tech Crime Prevention of Quang Tri Province.

The unit, which was established in March 2017, consists of eight officers, all of them under 30.

“We might be sticking to our smartphone screens at our office, in restaurants, at cafes, but that’s what we’ve got to do to understand hi-tech criminals’ tricks, the rules of their games, the way they’re thinking,” Hung said.

Hung added that members of his team also have to live in the routines as the criminals they chase by staying up late and sleeping at daytime.

“We sometimes long for a normal night's sleep like others,” said Nguyen Thi Thuy Tien, 23, the youngest member of the team.

More complicated

Major Tran Le Hai, deputy head of the unit, said online fraud is becoming more and more common and complex these days.

The simplest cyber fraud is stealing Facebook accounts and tricking the real Facebook account owners’ friends and family into sending money to them.

The criminals, after stealing Facebook accounts, go back through chat histories to learn about the relationships of the real owners with other accounts, then talk to them and ask them for money via telephone cards or bank transfer.

Another type of fraud is pretending to buy items from online sellers on Facebook.

In 2019, Nguyen Quang Hiep, 21, from Quang Tri Province, used a Facebook account named Thu Lieu Pham to order things from Facebook sellers. Then he told sellers he was abroad and if the sellers wanted to receive payment they would need to log in to a link he sent them. Then the sellers had to put in their banking information like account numbers, password and OTP code.

At least one woman was deceived and Hiep managed to steal VND450 million (US$19,000) from her account.

Hiep was sentenced to three years of jail for online fraud to appropriate property.

The latest fraud discovered by the Quang Tri high tech crimes police is 'Voting for the Voice'.

Nguyen Lam The Vinh and Le Anh Huy from Thieu Phong District of Quang Tri Province allegedly set up a website disguised as a website to vote for candidates of the TV programme The Voice.

Via the website, they are accused of using an app called Weebly to collect Facebook account’s information. Many people who followed the link and logged in with their IDs and passwords to vote had their information allegedly hacked by Vinh and Huy. They then reportedly used the Facebook accounts to continue their fraud to take money from many people.

The pair have been arrested and an investigation is ongoing.

Lieutenant Nguyen Phi Hung of the unit said although many criminals have been caught, high-tech crimes were on the rise in the province.

“When they’re playing games in a group, they talk to each other about the frauds and the frauds just spread,” Hung said.

Major Hai said he felt pity for the lost talents.

“We’ve caught many hackers, and many of them are real talents, even much more talented than us. I wish they would use their talents in the right place,” he said.  VNS

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