A joint police task force have arrested six teenage boys who were allegedly involved in an email scam that stretched from Da Nang to Ho Chi Minh City, VnExpress reported Monday.
Police say the boys have perpetrated the scam since, at least, May of last year.
The young men allegedly obtained the victims' email passwords through fake websites, investigators say.
Police in HCMC, Da Nang and the nearby Quang Tri Province have identified Phan Thanh Phat, a 19-year-old information technology student in Da Nang, as the individual responsible for creating a hundred such websites.
Phat said he sold the websites for VND150,000-200,000 (US$9.60) each to a group of people back in Quang Tri.
Five other boys, all under 18 years of age, have admitted to having used Phat's websites to cheat people out of between VND200,000 and VND2,000,000 each.
After gaining access to the email accounts of hapless strangers, the teenagers signed into their accounts and sent out emails asked their friends and families to buy them mobile phone cards. They then resold the codes, online, at a lower prices.
An investigator from the HCMC Police said that many of the victims realized that they had been cheated but did not know how to report the crime or to whom. Others said they didn't bother to try, due to the small sums of money involved.
Police say they are still looking for three other people suspected of establishing similar websites.
Pham Kien Cuong, director of ITAS, a HCMC-based information security firm, said that Internet users should remain cautious about website asking them for personal information.