Met Arrests 14 Over £14m Phishing Scam
PCeU strikes again, taking in 14 people during an investigation into a major phishing operation
The Metropolitan Police Service has announced the arrest of 14 people suspected of carrying out a phishing operation, which left one woman £1 million worse off.
During raids this morning, 12 men and two women were arrested in various locations across London and the West Midlands.
The cyber crooks spent the money in just three days, blowing it on cheeseburgers, computers, gold bars and other items, according to the Met’s Police Central e-crime Unit (PCeU). The victim, a UK citizen who moved abroad to care for an ill relative, has now had the funds, amounting to her life savings, returned to her, TechWeekEurope was told by the Met.
The crooks managed to dupe her into giving away bank account details and the funds were then siphoned off to money mules, who were earning anything between £9,000 and £75,000, who would then pass the cash on to the masterminds of the operation.
The arrests form part of a major crackdown by the PCeU, in which 150 officers across different forces were involved. Further arrests are anticipated today, the Met said. However, there was no update at the time of publication.
“Today’s activity is a direct response to a sophisticated million pound phishing attack, combined with brazen money laundering, which involves a large number of suspects,” said the PCeU’s Detective Inspector Stewart Garrick.
“This is an example of how cyber crime creates real victims through the indiscriminate actions of the criminals involved. The victim in this case has suffered significant stress after her life savings – which she intended to use to purchase a property on her return to England – were stolen.”
This was the first major operation using three regional hubs in the East Midlands, York and Humber and the North West, which were launched earlier this year to help the PCeU.
At the start of the week, the PCeU announced another arrest, when a 37-year-old man was apprehended in connection with computer misuse offences. He was arrested at his home address in Belvedere, Kent in connection with an investigation into online banking fraud, after a high street bank had complained online accounts had been compromised over an 18-month period.
The PCeU has done plenty of good over the past year, but was left red-faced in February, when Anonymous hacked into one of its conversations with the FBI.
On March 15, 2012 by Tom Brewster