Britain’s biggest ever fraud operation has taken down a phone number spoofing website that criminals used to scam thousands of victims out of millions of pounds.
Members of UK law enforcement are involved in a global operation to take down ispoof.cc, described by police as an online fraud shop.
They worked with Dutch law enforcement, who managed to tap the site’s servers in the Netherlands to secretly tap calls.
At one point, as many as 20 people a minute were targeted by callers using technology bought from the site, which is said to have raked in more than £3m in profit.
Criminals, after learning about it from advertisements posted on Telegram channels, used the site to purchase technology that allowed them to hide phone numbers.
This allows them to trick victims into thinking the bank is contacting them and convince them to pass on personal details, allowing fraudsters to steal cash.
One victim lost £3 million, with an average loss of £10,000 out of 4,785 people who reported being the target of mobile fraud.
Approximately 200,000 victims worldwide
There are thought to be many more potential victims – around 200,000 worldwide, with a large number of calls coming from the UK and US.
Of the 10 million fraudulent calls made, 40% were in the US, 35% were in the UK, and the rest were in other countries.
120 people have been arrested so far, 103 in London and 17 outside the capital.
This includes alleged website administrator Teejay Fletcher, 35, who was arrested in east London earlier this month and faces criminal charges.
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Police said Fletcher was allegedly a member of an organized crime group and that he lived a “luxury” lifestyle.
Around 70,000 UK phone numbers called by criminals using the site will be alerted on Thursday and Friday Metropolitan Police Department Via text and ask to contact the troops.
However, if a text message is received after that time, it will not be from the troops.
Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Mark Rowley said the number of potential victims in the UK was “very high”.
Ispoof was created in December 2020 and had 59,000 users at its peak, allowing them to use Bitcoin to pay for crimeware, which ranged from £150 to £5,000 a month.
British police began investigating the site in June 2021.