3 arrested for hacking emails to swindle money in central Vietnam

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Thua Thien-Hue Police reading an arrest warrant to Tran Thi Kim Cuc, 32, who together with Hoang Bao Anh, 24, and Nguyen Thanh Tung, 17, have been arrested for allegedly swindling billions of dong via hacked email accounts. Photo: Tuoi Tre

Police from the Ministry of Public Security and the central province of Thua Thien-Hue have arrested three members of a gang that hacked into e-mail accounts to cheat victims' acquaintances out of billions of dong.

Tran Thi Kim Cuc, 32, of Thua Thien-Hue Province, Hoang Bao Anh, 24, of Ho Chi Minh City, and Nguyen Thanh Tung, 17, of the central province of Quang Tri, were arrested Wednesday, Dan Tri news website reported the next day.

Cuc has confessed that she and Anh created websites that imitate Yahoo! Mail, the popular US-based free email service, since the end of last year and then sent links to invite people to access to the websites.

The information of the victims' accounts would be collected when the victims were lured into those websites, which Anh and Cuc sent to several of their associates, who have yet to be identified.

These associates would then disguise themselves as the victims to request money from people in the victims' list of contacts.

The victims' acquaintances were asked to buy cards equal to certain amounts of cash that could be used to pay in advance for the services of the mobile phone network providers Mobifone and Viettel, or game service provider VTC.

When receiving the codes for the cards, Anh and Cuc's associates sold them to Cuc at 70-80 percent of the real prices.

Tung, one of the scammers, confessed that he had adopted the ruse and swindled hundreds of millions of dong, adding that for every set of cards valued VND1 million (US$47.5), Anh and Cuc paid him VND650,000-800,000, according to the news website.

Police from Ministry of Public Security's hi-tech crimes investigation department and the Thua Thien-Hue police's social crimes investigation division are investigating and tracking down the rest of the gang.

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