Internet. “Spoofing”: a site that defrauded more than 200,000 people dismantled in an international operation

A website used by crooks to extract money and access to large-scale bank accounts was taken down in an international operation this week, Scotland Yard and Europol said on Thursday. The total damage worldwide exceeds 100 million pounds sterling (115 million euros) and 142 suspects have been arrested, said Europol, the agency of the European Union (EU) for police cooperation.

This international operation led by the United Kingdom involved police services in several EU countries, but also in Australia, the United States, Canada and Ukraine. It is the largest anti-fraud operation ever carried out by British police, according to Scotland Yard.

The iSpoof site would have claimed more than 200,000 victims

More than 100 people have been arrested in the UK alone, mostly for fraud. Among them is the alleged organizer of the iSpoof site, Teejai Fletcher, 34, who has been charged and remanded in custody. Other suspects identified in the country have been reported to investigation services in the Netherlands, Australia, France and Ireland.

The number of potential victims targeted is over 200,000, with damage running into the tens of millions of pounds in the UK alone, according to London police.

The average damage reported is estimated at £10,000 (€11,600), with a reported total of £48 million (€55 million) in the UK.

This vast operation was carried out in coordination with Europol, the European judicial agency Eurojust and the FBI. Computer servers were shut down in the Netherlands and Ukraine.

10 million calls worldwide

The iSpoof site allowed criminals to pass themselves off as representatives of major banks by displaying trustworthy telephone numbers (banks, tax offices or official bodies) to extract money or passwords over the phone or by SMS. access to accounts.

The scammers who used the site paid it in Bitcoin, between 150 and 5,000 pounds sterling depending on the service. In one year, until last August, 10 million calls were made worldwide, about 40% to the United States, a third to the United Kingdom.

“The exploitation of technology by organized criminals is one of the greatest challenges…in the 21ste century,” underlined the new chief of London police, Mark Rowley. “With the support of our partners in the UK and internationally, we are reinventing the way fraud is investigated,” he added in a statement, welcoming the neutralization of this site which has ” allowed crooks to deceive innocent people on a large scale”.

Helen Rance, Cybercrime Manager for London Police, pointed out that “by dismantling iSpoof, we have prevented further crime and stopped fraudsters from targeting future victims”. “We have your contact details and are working hard to locate you, wherever you are,” she said to site users.

These arrests “send the message to cybercriminals that they can no longer hide behind the international anonymity they perceive,” said Catherine de Bolle, director general of Europol.

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Internet. “Spoofing”: a site that defrauded more than 200,000 people dismantled in an international operation

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