French anti-terror officer charged with selling fake ID on the dark web

An anti-terrorism agent in France's domestic intelligence service could soon face trial on charges of selling confidential data and fake IDs in the hidden corners of the internet, prosecutors say.

French anti-terror officer charged with selling fake ID on the dark web
The officer sold fake French ID cards and drivers licenses online. Photo: AFP

Investigators wrapped up their investigation last week into the alleged sales by “Haurus”, the code name for the DGSI officer, now 33, who was arrested in September 2018.

His partner and four of his clients, including a private detective, have also been charged in the inquiry.

Investigators became suspicious after France's OCRIEST agency, charged with stopping illegal immigration, noticed offers of unusually detailed  personal information and “Gold” quality copies of official documents on the so-called dark net, which offers users total anonymity.

Haurus charged €100 to €300 or more for fake identification cards, driver's licences or birth certificates, as well as bank documents, phone records or GPS coordinates for tracking specific individuals.

“You provide the identity/registration number to copy, or your own requests, and I'll find what you need,” read one message from Haurus on the Blackhand v2 forum, according to details of the investigation seen by AFP.

Haurus even touted a “starter pack” of a French driver's licence, an ID card and six blank cheques, for €500 euros instead of €680.

An anonymous tip alerted investigators of a request to Haurus that eventually identified him as a DGSI agent.

An investigation found that 90 percent of the agent's internal information requests had nothing to do with his work, and that he and his partners were enjoying the high life, staying in ritzy hotels on numerous vacations.

More alarming, Le Parisien newspaper reported that a former thief imprisoned on drug charges bought tracking data from Haurus on three people – two of whom were later murdered, while the third survived an attempt on his life.

Haurus spent five months in prison before being released under judicial supervision.

His lawyer, Yassine Bouzrou, declined to comment when contacted by AFP.

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Paris police warn tourists about ‘petition’ scam

Paris police have issued a warning to tourists to beware of scams targeting visitors that involve false petitions and donation drives.

Paris police warn tourists about 'petition' scam

The police préfecture in Paris has released an announcement warning tourists about a scam that might be used to target them especially. 

The scam involves young boys and girls asking people to sign their petitions and requesting that they give a donation. In reality, many people – especially tourists or those unfamiliar with the local area – find themselves giving their money away to a false organisation.

In other cases, the petition acts as a distraction while pickpockets target the visitors.

Frequently, these scams involve the young people feigning deafness or the inability to speak, and pretending to collect funds on behalf of NGO for the hard of hearing. 

The scam is just one of a number that criminals use to prey on tourists, and visitors return to Paris after a two-year break, police are warning people to be vigilant – especially in tourist hotspots such as Montmartre and the Eiffel Tower area or in transport interchanges such as Gare du Nord.

READ MORE: Warning: 6 of the most common scams in France to watch out for

For more advice on how to stay safe in Paris as a tourist, you can read the police “Guide for Staying Safe in Paris