SINT MAARTEN/THE NETHERLANDS – Police arrested 20 teenagers in Rotterdam at the weekend as part of an investigation into fraud by online traders on sites such as Marktplaats and Facebook.
The youths, aged between 14 and 18, were part of a scam to sell phantom goods online, whereby buyers paid for items that were never delivered. Police said the scheme was run by criminals who persuaded the youngsters to give them access to their bank accounts in exchange for rewards ranging from a burger at McDonald’s to several hundred euros.
A spokesman said that only one of the teenagers arrested was part of the gang behind the fraud: ‘We hope to identify more of the fraudsters on the basis of information that we obtain from interviews with the youths.’
The suspects have been released from custody, many of them after being referred to the Halt service that deals with youth justice. Some have been ordered to undergo training courses in how to refuse requests to gain access to their bank accounts.
Others were given a community service order and in one case a suspect was ordered to appear before a judge. (DutchNews)