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£3.2 Million Crypto Scam Dismantled by UK Cyber Crime Unit – Over 100 Arrests Made in ‘Biggest Ever Fraud Operation’

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Source: Metropolitan Police

Britain’s Metropolitan Police have busted an international crypto scam ring in what it describes as the biggest ever force-led fraud operation.

More than 200,000 potential victims in the UK alone have been directly targeted by the iSpoof fraud site and contacted by fraudsters hiding behind false identities, the Met said in a statement. The fraudsters involved posed as representatives of a number of major banks, including Barclays, Santander, HSBC, Lloyds, Halifax, First Direct, Natwest, Nationwide and TSB.

“Scotland Yard’s cyber crime unit worked with international law enforcement agencies, including the National Crime Agency and authorities in the United States and Ukraine, to take down the website this week,” according to the statement. “This was a crucial step in a global operation that has been out of the public eye since June 2021, targeting a suspected organized crime group.”

Cybercriminals used iSpoof to appear as if they were calling their victims from banks, tax offices and other institutions in an attempt to scam them.

Victims of the scam are believed to have lost tens of millions of pounds, and the criminals behind the site made nearly 3.2 million pounds ($3.9 million) in one 20-month period, according to data released by British police.

“Reported losses to Action Fraud as a result of calls and texts made through iSpoof are approximately £48 million. As fraud is underreported, the total is believed to be much higher,” the statement said.

The Met’s cyber and financial crime units coordinate with the National Crime Agency, Europol, Eurojust, Dutch authorities and the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).

“More than 100 people have been arrested in the UK, most of them on suspicion of fraud,” police said. “iSpoof allowed in users who paid for the service Bitcointo mask their phone numbers so that they appear to be calling from a trusted source. This process is called “cheating”.

The Met’s Cyber ​​Crime Unit launched an investigation into iSpoof in June 2021. The site was created in December 2020 and had 59,000 user accounts. The police invaded the site and began to collect information in cooperation with their international partners. The site’s server contained a treasure trove of information in 70 million lines of data. The Met also tracked Bitcoin records.

Detective Chief Superintendent Helen Rance, who leads the Met’s cybercrime efforts, commented that “by removing iSpoof we have prevented further crimes and stopped scammers from targeting future victims”.

“Our message to criminals who have used this website is that we have your information and we are working hard to find you wherever you are,” he said.

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