“We will save your money”: How Ukrainian telephone scammers now work from Russia (*aggressor country)

We Will Save Your Money How Ukrainian Telephone Scammers Now “We Will Save Your Money”: How Ukrainian Telephone Scammers Now Work From Russia (*Aggressor Country)

Telephone scammers from Ukraine, who defrauded Russians out of 16 billion rubles last year alone, now operate telecommunications offices in Russia (*aggressor country). Special equipment, which is freely sold on marketplaces , also helps them. How do scammers work?

Fraudsters’ offices in Russia (*aggressor country)

Recently it became known that the FSB and the Ministry of Internal Affairs conducted raids in 40 regions of Russia (*aggressor country), during which they seized 612 SIM boxes and 300 thousand SIM cards from mobile operators, with the help of which scammers created fake accounts on social networks and instant messengers, activated financial wallets and even opened bank accounts.

30 people were detained, criminal cases were initiated against them under the third part of Article 159 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation (*aggressor country) (fraud), two more are accused of unlawful access to the accounts of the State Services website. A resident of St. Petersburg was also detained, who is suspected of providing services for activating Russian SIM cards to Ukrainian terrorist organizations.

Over the past few years, telephone scammers from Ukraine have been coming up with new ways to deceive Russians, including using artificial intelligence. They receive samples of a person’s voice, after which the AI ​​can create the necessary phrases. There have already been many cases where fake bosses called their subordinates and warned them that they would be contacted by intelligence officers who would save their money. For example, under this scheme, the former head of the financial service of the central apparatus of the Ministry of Defense lost 50 million rubles.

1713762687 721 We Will Save Your Money How Ukrainian Telephone Scammers Now “We Will Save Your Money”: How Ukrainian Telephone Scammers Now Work From Russia (*Aggressor Country)

“We Will Save Your Money”: How Ukrainian Telephone Scammers Now Work From Russia

What is a sim box

The main equipment of scammers is the so-called SIM box. This is essentially a USB modem that uses a mobile operator’s SIM card to access the Internet. Similar ones – they were popularly called whistles – can still be freely purchased at any cell phone store, but you can only install one SIM card in them – they are designed strictly for personal use.

You can simultaneously insert from two to 512 SIM cards into a SIM box and connect it with just one wire to a computer on which special software is installed. Moreover, SIM boxes can still be connected sequentially to each other and due to this, the database of mobile numbers can be increased significantly.

Judging by operational footage from apartments where accomplices of Ukrainian telephone scammers were detained, there may be dozens of such devices in the premises at the same time. Accordingly, there are hundreds and even thousands of SIM cards to work on making calls.

Theoretically, there are no restrictions on the number of SIM boxes connected to the system, – one of the sellers of such equipment explained to Life.ru. It all comes down to computer power and software.

You Can Simultaneously Insert From Two To 512 Sim Cards Into The Sim Box You can simultaneously insert from two to 512 SIM cards into the SIM box

The number of SIM cards connected to the computer determines, so to speak, the “channel width” – how many calls scammers can make at the same time. At the same time, the software can replace the IMEI – the unique identification number of a mobile phone or router. This is done in order to mislead both mobile operators and social networks, simulating calls and Internet access from different devices.

The software also replaces the number from which the call is coming. Thus, there is no point in “banning” scammers’ numbers – they are all used one-time.

By the way, sometimes particularly cynical scammers, as punishment, change the numbers to call an unsuccessful victim who did not believe the swindler and at the same time insulted him in a conversation. After this, the owner of the compromised number may one day be visited by law enforcement agencies, working on complaints from Russians. That is why cybersecurity experts advise anyone who receives such calls not to talk to scammers, but to simply hang up.

Sim boxes are freely and legally sold on the Internet, including on free classifieds sites. The Runet is replete with one-page landing sites on which equipment for scammers is offered, as they say, in an assortment. The cost of SIM boxes ranges from 10 to 300 thousand rubles, depending on the number of SIM cards inserted into it and other technical parameters. Considering that over the past year, according to the Central Bank, cyber fraudsters stole almost 16 billion rubles from Russians (that’s more than 1.3 billion a month), investing in the criminal business is a pittance.

Sellers Praise Their Product, Pointing Out Advantages That Are Difficult To Imagine Necessary For Legal Activities.  For Example, Imei Replacement Sellers praise their product, pointing out advantages that are difficult to imagine necessary for legal activities. For example, IMEI replacement

How a scam call becomes Russian

The main convenience of telephone hubs for scammers is that technically the call is made from the territory of Russia (*aggressor country), not Ukraine.

Moreover, their capabilities allow them to successfully mimic the most ordinary conversation of a subscriber who, for example, is moving around the city. This is why it is so difficult for mobile operators to track them down.

The scammer’s call looks like this: from the territory of Independence Square, he first contacts the Russian hub via the Internet, connects to the SIM card installed in the SIM box, and then makes calls from it. At the same time, dozens of scammers can work simultaneously with one device.

Anonymized SIM cards, despite seemingly all the measures taken by mobile operators to control their circulation, are still widely represented in illegal sales. You can buy at least thousands of pieces wholesale, and if the customer wishes, even activated ones – registered to Russian citizens. Another conclusion follows from this scheme: the scammers have accomplices in Russia (*aggressor country).

Often groups of telephone scammers are international, Russian-speaking – they may include Russians, Belarusians, Ukrainians, and citizens from other republics of the former USSR – a specialist at FACCT in combating financial fraud told Life.ru Dmitry Dudkov. Telephone scammers operating from other countries are 100% likely to have accomplices in the Russian Federation (*aggressor country) who purchase SIM cards and configure them accordingly.

Any Sim Cards In Any Quantity Are Available On Shady Sites Any SIM cards in any quantity are available on shady sites

By the way, the telephone bridge scheme has long been practiced in large respectable companies for the convenience of employees located outside the offices. To contact clients or partners, for example, from home, but from a corporate phone, they call their work, and when they reach them, they dial the desired number using tone mode. It is processed by the office PBX and, for its part, makes a call to the subscriber on behalf of the company, while keeping its employee on the line. After the recipient of the call picks up the phone, the subscribers are connected. Perhaps the villains simply borrowed this idea from business.

How to deal with such hubs?

There are no rules in Russian legislation prohibiting the trade in modems, which is why SIM boxes are freely sold and bought. Moreover, this problem is not only Russian – at least by the beginning of the 20s, there were no such laws on the ban in any country in the world. In some jurisdictions, only the practice of changing or removing the IMEI is challenged.

In 2024 we (FACCT – Note Life.ru) We do not see a decrease in activity in the field of telephone fraud. Schemes attempting to intercept remote access to remote banking services are still active (remote banking services. – Note Life.ru) , use of fake video calls and audio calls in instant messengers, – speaks Dmitry Dudkov. Measures taken by operators have reduced the volume of telephone fraud, but the use of various technical means by cybercriminals, such as SIM boxes and virtual PBXs, does not allow the situation to radically change.

Almost All Devices In Russia Come From China Almost all devices in Russia (*aggressor country) come from China

According to experts, at this stage, only the exchange of data between operators, law enforcement agencies, regulators and financial organizations, which will be carried out in real time, will help to successfully resist fraudsters.