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London, 15th February 2013 – Ukash, the global e-money provider, has played a key role in helping international crime agencies break a Russian ‘ransomware’ ring.

Announcing at a press conference earlier this week (13th February) the breaking of the ‘ransomware’ ring, Rob Wainwright, the director of Europol, is quoted as saying: “This is the first major success of its kind against a very new phenomenon that we have only identified in the last two years. This is a mass marketing scam to distribute this thousands of times and rely on the fact that even if only 2 percent fall victim to the scam, it is still a very good pickup rate.”

Ukash has been actively assisting Europol and other law enforcement agencies in their investigations to combat this scam, as victims were asked to pay ransoms using e-money. But, as David Hunter, CEO, Ukash explained, by using e-money the fraudsters are actually making it easier for law enforcement agencies to track them. “One of the characteristics of e-money – like a bank transfer - is that it leaves a trail which can be followed by enforcement agencies to pursue wrongdoers.

“Ukash is designed to give consumers a simple and convenient way to make purchases online without the need for a bank account or credit card,” continued David Hunter. “So we take the misuse of Ukash by criminals very seriously and have a dedicated team working with law enforcement agencies around the globe to provide as much assistance as possible. We are therefore extremely delighted that this large-scale fraud has been broken.

“Our advice is always that Ukash should ONLY be used online and at genuine websites. The simple message is to treat Ukash with the same security as you would physical cash.”

The European Cybercrime Centre estimated that the criminal operation affected tens of thousands of computers worldwide, bringing in profits in excess of €1 million euros ($1.34 million) per year. Victims were tricked into paying a €100 ‘fine’ after being falsely accused of visiting adult or file-sharing websites, with e-money being the preferred payment method by the fraudsters. Compounding the crime, when the victims submitted their payment details the criminals would steal data and information from their computer too.

Police searched six premises in Málaga province, on Spain’s southern coast, and confiscated IT equipment used for the criminal activities as well as credit cards used to cash out the money that victims paid via e-money vouchers.

Ukash places highly visible warnings on Ukash vouchers and on its website, to warn people as to its proper use. It is also committed to educating consumers about the importance of keeping their Ukash code secure with security tips on its website. Plus it posts warnings of scams on its homepage and twitter feed @paywithukash as soon as it becomes aware of them.

Anyone who believes they have been targeted by criminals should report it to Action Fraud (on 0300 123 2040) in the first instance. They should then contact Ukash directly on the dedicated 24/7 stolen code hotline 00800 247 85274 and the company will attempt to block the voucher code before it is used.

These arrests follow-on closely from other recent successes by SOCA, and the Metropolitan Police Service and Greater Manchester Police e-crime units, against criminals believed to be behind advance-fee and other scams involving e-money.

“Ukash should only be used with organisations an individual has verified are legitimate”, concluded David Hunter. “But, because we know that criminals are always coming up with scams to target the vulnerable, we will continue to work closely with law enforcement agencies to do everything possible to stop them in their tracks.”


For further press information or interviews with David Hunter please contact the Ukash Press Office at HSL: Wendy Harrison, Jenny Thorneywork or Clare Watson. 0208 977 9132.

Notes to Editors

Ukash is the Global e-Money Network and internationally recognised e-commerce cash payment method that enables consumers around the world to use cash to shop, pay and play online safely, securely and conveniently. This secure payment method was developed to protect personal identity and financial information when making online transactions, reducing the threat of credit and debit card fraud for consumers and repudiations and charge-backs for retailers. Ukash has no age limit, so consumers of all ages can make the most of safe payment online.

Ukash codes are purchased with cash in retail outlets such as shops, petrol stations and kiosks, and issued online from the company’s website. The unique 19 digit codes can then be used to pay directly on any of the thousands of websites that accept Ukash transactions worldwide, or loaded onto prepaid cards and e-wallets.

Established in 2001 under the holding company Smart Voucher Ltd, Ukash® has grown to more than 420,000 physical points of purchase, and is available in more than 50 countries around the world in 6 continents.

Ukash is regulated by the UK Financial Services Authority (FSA). The maximum single value allowed is £200/€250 or equivalent in other currencies, and the maximum amount that can be held by an individual customer is £1,000/€1,250 or equivalent in other currencies.

This press release was distributed by ResponseSource Press Release Wire on behalf of Harrison Sadler in the following categories: Personal Finance, Business & Finance, Computing & Telecoms, for more information visit