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Six arrested in bank and credit card phishing scam

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August 24, 2010

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Six individuals have been arrested in the United Kingdom and Ireland over their alleged involvement in a bank and credit card phishing scheme that stole from tens of thousands of victims and resulted in losses of millions of pounds in a matter of a few months. The investigation ran for many weeks and was performed by Scotland Yard.

In all, five men and one woman, aged 25 to 40, were arrested in London and County Meath, Ireland on August 3rd following an investigation led by officers from the Met's Police Central e-Crime Unit.

The five U.K. suspects, all arrested following raids on physical addresses in London, remain in custody in central London pending further police inquiries. The individuals all face potential computer fraud and hacking charges.

The criminal arrests were part of Operation Dynaphone, an investigation by the Met's Police Central e-Crime Unit into a sophisticated phishing fraud network that systematically harvested online bank account passwords and credit card numbers.

The scam was obviously carefully prepared and well orchestrated.

The MPS Territorial Support Group and the Irish Garda Siochana Fraud Investigation Bureau assisted the Police Central e-Crime Unit in serving arrest warrants on the 6 suspects.

Detective Inspector Colin Wetherill said "We have taken this action to shut down an organized criminal network running an online phishing and account take-over operation. A great deal of personal information was compromised and cleverly exploited for major and illicit profits. By disrupting the operation we have hopefully prevented further loss to individuals and banking institutions across the United Kingdom."

In all, police estimate that about 10,000 online banking accounts and approximately 10,000 credit cards have been compromised as part of a fraud that has resulted in the attempted theft of about £1.14 million and losses of £358,000 from online banking accounts.

The total value of credit card fraud associated with the scheme is less certain but estimated at more than £3m.

Wetherill added that consumers need to carefully follow online safety advice from websites such as to safeguard themselves against the risk of becoming the victims of online fraud.

A court date has not been set yet.

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Source: The London Times.

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