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Irish victims among those hit by global online shopping scam involving thousands of domain names – The Irish Times

Data on a massive online shopping scam centered in China shows at least 4,700 orders were placed by Irish victims, worth almost €320,000 in the three years to April, researchers say.

According to leaked data, more than 800,000 people in Europe and the United States were involved in this scam. German researchers who investigated the network found virtually no cases of victims of the criminal network in China.

Irish victims told similar stories: They had placed online orders for clothes that were never delivered and then received cheap fake rings in fake Cartier boxes from an address in China as part of a ploy apparently designed to confirm their addresses.

One of those caught by the scammers was Siobhan Allen from Dundalk, Co Louth, whose daughter was due to attend a transition year ball and had just three weeks to find a dress. “We found it online and it looked nice and they had its size, so we bought it,” Ms Allen said. “But we never got the dress.” We received a ring, it looked like a washer and it came in a Cartier box.

Ms Allen paid €116 for the dress and was informed by email that the item would be delivered within three to five working days. “I always tell my kids that if it’s too good to be true, it probably isn’t, but I was a little freaked out by the dress.”

A man from Marino, Dublin, who wished to remain anonymous, said he spotted a sweater in a store in Dublin city center in January and, when the store did not have his size, he looked for it in line when he returned home. . “It showed up on a website and, to my delight, it was cheaper than in store and they had my size.”

He paid using his Revolut account, but as soon as he received a confirmation email he knew he had been scammed.

“I thought it was over and immediately disputed the payment with Revolut. I got the money back.

About a month later he received a notice informing him that he had to pay a €5 customs fee on an item that had been sent by post and went to his local post office and the did. “It was a ring from China.”

A South West teacher who wished to remain anonymous said she bought a pair of boots after finding them online in her size, but knew she had been scammed as soon as she saw the message displayed after making the payment.

“The English were atrocious. I immediately knew I was in trouble. Shortly after, she too received a ring in the mail.

More than 800,000 people have been victims of scammers in recent years, according to Matthias Marx of the Berlin-based Security Research Labs, who investigated the fraud network and had access to several gigabytes of data harvested by the criminal network. The leaked data includes the names, telephone numbers and email addresses of at least 100 Irish victims.

A core team based in China designed the basic infrastructure with other teams using the framework to run fake online stores to steal money and harvest data. “It’s like a franchise structure,” Marx said.

The network, which is described as one of the largest networks of its kind ever discovered, has been implicated in sales worth more than $50 million over the past three years and the misuse of ‘around 76,000 domain names, he said.