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Fraud aided by the darknet is becoming rampant in the world; France has its own share of the vice. Authorities in the past and to date, have arrested citizens engaging in fraudulent activities on the darknet or activities originating from the anonymous deep web. Instances of fraud recently including purchasing fake Identities or fake cheques and euros.
Two Cernay teenagers were recently arrested for defrauding merchants using fake cheques and ID’s acquired from the darknet. The two, aged 16 and 17 years old, reportedly acquired an assortment of falsified cheques paired with fake ID’s purchased from a dark web marketplace. In a seemingly well thought out execution, the two youngsters bought valuable goods for resale using the fake documents, making a simple transaction a serious crime.
To aid a smooth operation, they rented a cellar where they kept them. The National Gendarmerie recovered stolen goods worth thousands of euros from the cellar upon the bust. The teens were able to also buy a used car to facilitate their trips.
The police raid revealed that they were in possession of goods worth over 15,000 Euros. The recovered goods were various valuables amongst them vacuum cleaners, mobile devices, game consoles and several other assorted properties. Basically anything a teenager would desire to own.
They went unnoticed for a while until a vigilant merchant noticed the fake cheque. While the forged signature looked nearly perfect in imitation, it was not fool proof 100%. The merchant realized on scrutiny that while the fake cheques corresponded with the fake ID’s, the mentioned bank did not correspond with the address on the said cheque. This prompted the merchant to alert authorities who subsequently conducted a raid on their hideout.
Upon arrest the two readily admitted to acquiring the documents from the darknet. The older of the two was held at an educational center while his younger accomplice was put under judicial control. They also admitted to acquiring them for a few euros.
With the rapid rise and expansion of the deep web, more crimes which were previously carried out through the clearnet have been moved to the darknet as it offers more privacy and anonymity. Compounded with zero regulation, the darknet has progressively become a hiding den for those seeking to offer illegal services alongside those seeking the same services. Similarly, its unregulated operations allow anyone to trade on it irrespective of age. The boundless trading on the deep web is what the youngsters took advantage of.
The activities by the two are not an isolated incidence. Recently, there has been a surge in police arrests and investigations targeting youth and young adults participating in criminal activities on the darknet. Top on the list of these illegalities among the youth is drug trafficking, arms dealing, identity theft as well as theft related tools and tech devices.
But if you just thought the youngsters were only acting rogue as young people are generally expected to do, do not hold your breath. A deputy branch bank director was last year arrested for dealing with fake Euros from the darknet. While on leave pursuing a certificate from pilot school, the Montpellier resident bought 10 Euro notes in 20 and 50 bills from the deep web. In his defense, he said he needed the money to buy marijuana which he would later give to his friends as payment for debts he owed. He however burned nine of the bills as they were awfully imitated and outright looked fake.
More recently, a Portuguese national was arrested for also trading counterfeit monies and narcotics. Antonio de Faria, resided in Corsica island where he set a base for his business. Incidentally, he did not do any distributions on the island; instead, he travelled to continental France where he made sales.
In a final similar instance, a 31 year old man from the oversees department of France in St. Pauli, Reunion, was arrested for being part of a syndicate distributing fake Euros. Contrary to the usual, their imitations were near perfect and it took forensic experts to trace the fake serial numberings to confirm their status. The arrest involved cross country cooperation after Australian authorities tipped their counterparts in Paris of the gang. The counterfeited euros originating from Australia. Over 70,000 distributions were traced in Europe. Of these, almost half, 31,000 of them were issued in France.