Morocco’s judiciary police arrested last week in Fez 11 suspects allegedly involved in forming a gang specialized in cybercrime.
The group’s alleged crimes include robbery, breaching automated data processing systems, falsification of public administration documents, and the selling of stolen items.
The investigations of local police and the national technical crime laboratory found that one of the group’s main criminal activities is the hacking of national and international bank accounts through accessing private databases. The suspects used the hacked bank account to make online purchases and then resell the products.
The group also allegedly used counterfeit identity cards and driving licences to confirm online transactions.
On Sunday, the investigating judge at the Court of Appeal in Fez decided to place seven suspects in detention, pending further investigations. Meanwhile, the remaining four suspects will remain under surveillance until their upcoming hearing session.
Cybercrime in Morocco
While cybercrime is not as prevalent in Morocco as regular crime, it has forced Moroccan police to upgrade their technical tools and intensify their operations to protect internet users.
In December 2019, Morocco’s General Directorate of National Security (DGSN) announced that police responded to 384 cybercrime cases last year.
The majority of the crimes are online scams and sexual blackmail. A large number of the crimes targeted foreigners living outside of Morocco.
Moroccan police transferred 61 of the recorded cases to the International Criminal Police Organization (INTERPOL). Local authorities also transferred nine other cross-border cases to Morocco’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs to solve them diplomatically.
Morocco was the first non-European country to sign the Budapest Convention on Cybercrime in 2001.
The international treaty seeks to address internet and computer crimes by harmonizing national laws, improving investigative techniques, and increasing cooperation among nations.