Police in Ireland, the Netherlands and Romania detained 10 and charged 23 people in a joint operation targeting an online scam that involved the sale of masks and other protective materials against COVID-19 that were never delivered.

Following the pandemic’s breakout last year, the gang altered its operating model and began selling protective products, such as facemasks. (Photo: Eurojust)Europol, which coordinated the operation, said on Wednesday that people from several African nations living in Europe were part of the criminal organization that generated bogus email accounts and web sites that looked similar to those of real wholesale firms.

“Impersonating these companies, these criminals would then trick the victims – mainly European and Asian companies, into placing orders with them, requesting the payments in advance in order for the goods to be sent,” according to Europol.

The ordered products were never delivered, and the proceeds of the…

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