Six arrested arrested in million pound phishing scam

08 December 2011

New Scotland Yard

Officers from the Metropolitan Police Service's (MPS) Police Central e-Crime Unit (PCeU) have today, Thursday 8 December arrested six people in connection with an investigation into a sophisticated phishing scam that targeted hundreds of UK students; using their compromised data to steal in excess of £1million.

PCeU investigators were alerted to the scam in August 2011, and discovered that a criminal network were targeting students through Government loan schemes by sending out emails inviting unsuspecting individuals to update details on their student loan account via a link to a convincing but bogus website.

"We have today disrupted a suspected organised group of cyber criminals."

Once these sites were accessed by unsuspecting individuals, the suspects were able to gain unauthorised access to their bank accounts and extract large amounts of money ranging from £1000 to £5000 at a time.

As part of their inquiries, detectives have worked closely with the Students Loan Company, the banking industry and internet service providers.

With the assistance of Greater Manchester Police (GMP) colleagues, search warrants were today, Thursday 8 December, executed in London, Manchester and Bolton.

Officers have seized a number of computers and associated storage media that are to be subject of police forensic examinations.

Detective Inspector Mark Raymond from the PCeU said "A great deal of personal information was compromised and cleverly exploited for substantial profits. We have today disrupted a suspected organised group of cyber criminals and prevented further loss to individuals and institutions in the UK. Today's arrests demonstrate what can be achieved when a partnership approach is adopted to investigate internet based crime"

The suspects, four men and two women, have been arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to defraud and Computer Misuse Act and money laundering offences, and are being held at central London, Manchester and Bolton police stations.

They are:

[A] 25-year-old man arrested at an address in Deptford;
[B] 26-year-old man arrested at an address in Manchester;
[C] 25-year-old woman arrested at an address in Manchester;
[D] 49-year-old woman arrested at an address in Stratford;
[E] 31-year-old man arrested at an address in Stratford;
[F] 38-year-old man arrested at an address in Bolton.

All members of the public are encouraged to use extreme caution when clicking on links or files in unsolicited emails. The safest way to deal with online banking is to log into the site directly via the browser's address bar, and ensure that a secure connection is achieved on any page requesting personal details (denoted by the prefix https: in the browser's address bar).

For further advice on protecting yourself online visit www.getsafeonline.org.