Buyers across the USA, Europe and some Soviet states have lost more than $6.5 million as discovered in a new scam that the Russian-based cyber crime unit helped classified ad scammers in.

Group-IB published a report today that digs deep into the operations and described the scam as “Scam-as-a-Service” with a codename Classiscam.

Initially when Classiscam began back in 2019, it was initially targeting only Russian buyers active on Russian marketplaces and classified ad platforms. Last year, the group expanded their operations to other countries once they recruited scammers who could converse in various foriegn languages with the targeted customers. Currently the group is active on marketplaces and courier services like OLX, Allegro, FAN Courier, DHL and more.

The ads usually offer cameras, game consoles, laptops, smartphones, and similar items for sale at deliberately low prices,” Group-IB said today.

How does it work?
Scammers target the marketplaces with fake products. Once you have made your selection, you’re encouraged to contact the vendor (in this case scammer) and provide your payment and delivery details.

Once you’re locked in, the scammer then generates a phishing page that replicates the original website page where the marketplace is hosted. Once you receive the email with a link that looks exactly like how you would imagine it to be, just fill out your details and submit.

Once the information is submitted, the scammer goes on a shopping spree with your card on other websites using proxy servers and VPNs.

There are more than 40 Classiscam groups operating worldwide.

So far, the scam’s expansion in Europe is hindered by language barriers and difficulties with cashing our stolen money abroad,” said Dmitriy Tiunkin, Head of Group-IB Digital Risk Protection Department, Europe. “Once the scammers overcome these barriers, Classiscam will spread in the West.


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