Nine arrested in UK investigation of criminal network defrauding bank customers

Detectives investigating an organized criminal network responsible for defrauding bank customers across the UK out of approximately £60 million have arrested nine people.

On Wednesday, 21 October, officers executed search warrants at 14 addresses in Ilford, Watford, Slough and Scotland following a series of co-ordinated raids led by the Metropolitan Police Service’s Cyber Crime and Fraud Team, FALCON, in collaboration with a number of other police forces across the country, including Police Scotland, West Yorkshire Police and Greater Manchester Police.

This activity follows an investigation into fraudsters who have been targeting business banking customers by purporting to be from their bank. Using technology to disguise the number they are calling from – making the phone number appear to be a legitimate bank – the fraudsters are able to dupe customers into revealing personal banking information, allowing them to gain access to their accounts.

The suspects have then transferred money into “mule accounts” under their control, and from there the money has been withdrawn from ATMs and bank branches across the country.

Numerous items of evidence were recovered, including dongles, SIM cards, mobile phones, laptops and a significant amount of cash.

Detectives arrested the seven men and two women on suspicion of conspiracy to defraud and money laundering. All are currently in police custody.

“This is the largest covert proactive operation we have ever undertaken against cyber-enabled crime. It demonstrates our commitment and ability to dismantle organised criminal networks in order to keep businesses safe from this type of crime,” said Detective Chief Inspector Andy Gould, head of FALCON’s Taskforce.

Ten people have already been arrested and charged with conspiracy to commit fraud and money laundering offences in connection with the investigation.

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