AP

UK police target spoofing site in massive fraud crackdown

Nov 24, 2022, 3:26 AM | Updated: 3:27 am

LONDON (AP) — More than 70,000 potential victims of banking scams across the U.K. will receive text messages from police on Thursday asking for their help in what authorities are calling their biggest ever anti-fraud operation.

British authorities have already arrested more than 100 people after taking down a website they described as an “international one-stop spoofing shop,” London’s Metropolitan Police Service said. Spoofing refers to fraudsters who disguise their phone numbers to make potential victims believe a call is coming from a trusted source such as their own bank.

Police are now contacting fraud victims who lost “tens of millions of pounds” to encourage them to report the crimes and help authorities prosecute thousands of suspected scammers who used the iSpoof website. One victim alone was conned out of 3.2 million pounds ($3.9 million), police said.

The campaign comes as authorities change their approach to combatting widespread electronic fraud, going after the individual scammers instead of simply shutting down websites like iSpoof that enable them, said Commissioner Mark Rowley, who heads London’s police service. Police in Britain are working with the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation and authorities in Europe on the iSpoof investigation.

“The Met is targeting the criminals at the center of these illicit webs that cause misery for thousands,” Rowley said. “By taking away the tools and systems that have enabled fraudsters to cheat innocent people at scale, this operation shows how we are determined to target corrupt individuals intent on exploiting often vulnerable victims.”

Fraudsters used iSpoof to disguise their phone numbers then posed as representatives of legitimate British banks, including Barclays, Santander, HSBC, Lloyds, Halifax, First Direct, Nationwide and TSB, police said.

In their effort to identify and prosecute the fraudsters, police allowed iSpoof to continue operating so they could infiltrate the site and gather information on its users.

The website was created in December of 2020 and had 59,000 user accounts, police said. Of 10 million fraudulent calls made through iSpoof, 40% were to numbers in the United States and 35% were in the U.K.

Because of the large number of potential suspects, police are focusing first on U.K. users who paid at least 100 pounds in Bitcoin to use iSpoof.

The suspected organizer of the website was arrested earlier this month in East London. He has been charged with a number of offenses and remains in custody, police said.

British authorities have forwarded information about other suspects to law enforcement agencies in The Netherlands, Australia, France and Ireland.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

An Apache group that has fought to protect land it considers sacred from a copper mining project in...

Associated Press

A US appeals court ruling could allow mine development in central Arizona on land sacred to Apaches

An Apache group that has fought to protect land from a copper mining project in central Arizona suffered a significant blow.

41 minutes ago

On Friday, March 1, 2024, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said yogurt sold in the U.S. can ma...

Associated Press

Eating yogurt may reduce risk of type 2 diabetes, FDA says

Eating at least two cups of yogurt a week might reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said.

3 hours ago

Arizona will not approve new housing construction on the fast-growing edges of metro Phoenix that r...

Associated Press

Arizona Senate passes plan to manage rural groundwater, but final success is uncertain

A plan to manage rural groundwater passed the Arizona Senate amid concerns about the availability of sufficient water for future generations.

2 days ago

A woman pauses while shopping at a Kohl's store in Clifton, N.J., Jan. 26, 2024. On Thursday, Feb. ...

Associated Press

Federal Reserve’s preferred inflation gauge picked up last month in sign of still-elevated prices

An inflation gauge favored by the Federal Reserve increased in January, the latest sign that the slowdown in U.S. consumer price increases is occurring unevenly from month to month.

3 days ago

This undated image provided by Mikel Desmond shows his brother Marcus Tessier, who turned up in Dem...

Associated Press

Missing teen with autism found in New Mexico, about 200 miles away from his Arizona home

A missing teen with autism has been found in New Mexico — about 200 miles away from his home in southern Arizona.

3 days ago

A newly released report on last year’s fatal crash involving a pickup truck and a group of bicycl...

Associated Press

Report suggests steering of vehicle that caused fatal Goodyear bicycle crash worked fine

A new report on last year’s fatal Goodyear bicycle crash has cast doubts about the driver’s claim the vehicle’s steering locked up.

4 days ago

Sponsored Articles

...

Midwestern University

Midwestern University Clinics: transforming health care in the valley

Midwestern University, long a fixture of comprehensive health care education in the West Valley, is also a recognized leader in community health care.

...

Collins Comfort Masters

Here’s 1 way to ensure your family is drinking safe water

Water is maybe one of the most important resources in our lives, and especially if you have kids, you want them to have access to safe water.

...

Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Day & Night is looking for the oldest AC in the Valley

Does your air conditioner make weird noises or a burning smell when it starts? If so, you may be due for an AC unit replacement.

UK police target spoofing site in massive fraud crackdown