Swindlers stole £50 million from British victims posing as bank workers calling on businesses

Swindlers stole £50 million from British victims posing as bank workers calling on businesses

  • iSpoof.cc has defrauded at least £50 million from 200,000 British citizens.
  • 59,000 offenders paid subscription fees of up to £5,000 to access the website.
  • The Met Police intends to send text messages to 70,000 victims in order to collect evidence.
  • Victims were targeted globally, including in the United States, Australia, and Europe.

59,000 criminals paid between £150 and £5,000 to use the technology, generating £3.2 million for the site’s owners while they defrauded victims out of vast sums of money.

The majority of victims (40%) were in the United States, followed by the United Kingdom. Numerous individuals from Australia and other European nations were also targeted.

Anyone trying to access the iSpoof website is met with a message saying it has been 'seized' (pictured)

Attempts to access the iSpoof website are met with a message stating that it has been seized.

 

Teejai Fletcher, 34, of east London, the suspected mastermind behind the website, has been charged with fraud and is in custody following his arrest earlier this month. A court date is scheduled for two weeks from now.

The average loss per victim was £10,000, with one victim losing more than £3 million to fraudsters using the service, according to Scotland Yard, which added that more than 100 arrests had been made in the United Kingdom alone in recent weeks.

Action Fraud has received reports of losses totaling £48 million, but the true amount is likely to be much higher.

Today and tomorrow, the Metropolitan Police will send 70,000 victims mass text messages requesting that they contact them in order to provide evidence.

TikTok user posts a video with the caption 'RIP to all you iSpoof users' earlier this month as dozens were arrested across the UK. There is no suggestion the TikTok user was involved in the scam

Earlier this month, a TikTok user posted a video with the title “RIP to all you iSpoof users” after many were jailed in the UK. There is no evidence that the TikTok user participated in the fraud.

 

Scammers subscribed to iSpoof.cc so they could use technology to make it appear to victims that they were calling from banks like Barclays, NatWest, and Halifax.

Attempts to access the iSpoof website are met with a message stating that it has been seized.

Earlier this month, a TikTok user posted a video with the caption “RIP to all you iSpoof users” as dozens were arrested in the UK.

There is no evidence that the TikTok user participated in the fraud.

iSpoof advertised itself as “the number one spoofing service” in a slick video for potential criminals using the encrypted messaging app Telegram.

iSpoof was created by spoofers for spoofers, according to a promotional video that featured images of people working on computers and the following text: “iSpoof was created by spoofers for spoofers.” “Pick up the digits the targets type, and see them displayed on your dashboard,” it continues, referring to the bank account information con artists hoped their victims would enter during their phone calls.

In a slick video to advertise to would-be criminals on encrypted messaging app Telegram, iSpoof branded itself 'the number one spoofing service'

 

iSpoof advertised itself as “the number one spoofing service” in a slick video for potential criminals using the encrypted messaging app Telegram.

 

How the iSpoof website defrauded tens of thousands of individuals worldwide

The iSpoof website, described as an “international one stop spoofing shop,” was launched in December 2020, and the Met reports that at its peak, 59,000 users paid between £150 and £5,000 for its services.

It allowed subscribers who paid in Bitcoin to access so-called spoofing tools that made their phone numbers appear to originate from banks, tax offices, and other government agencies.

Several of the largest consumer banks in the United Kingdom, including Barclays, HSBC, Santander, Lloyds, and Halifax, were the most frequently imitated.

Alongside graphics of people working at computers, a promotional video (pictured) said: 'iSpoof was made by spoofers, for spoofers.' Referencing the bank details scammers hoped their marks would type in during their calls, it adds: 'Pick up the digits the targets type, and see it displayed on your dashboard.'

iSpoof was created by spoofers for spoofers, according to a promotional video that featured images of people working on computers and the following text: “iSpoof was created by spoofers for spoofers.” “Pick up the digits the targets type, and see them displayed on your dashboard,” it continues, referring to the bank account information con artists hoped their victims would enter during their phone calls.

 

Using bank and login information illegally obtained elsewhere on the Internet, the criminals were able to defraud their victims.

“They worried them about fraudulent activity on their bank accounts and duped them,” explained Detective Superintendent Helen Rance, who leads cyber crime investigations for the Metropolitan Police Department.

She noted that individuals contacted would typically be instructed to reveal six-digit banking passcodes that would permit their accounts to be emptied.

In the year leading up to August, according to the Metropolitan Police, suspects paid to access the website and made over 10 million fraudulent calls worldwide.

Approximately forty percent were in the United States, while more than a third were in the United Kingdom, where they targeted 200,000 potential victims.

So far, fraud detection agencies in the United Kingdom have recorded £48 million in losses, with the largest single theft amounting to £3 million and the average loss being £10,000

The Met stated, “Because fraud is vastly underreported, the total amount is believed to be much higher.”

The site’s creators earned nearly £3.2 million, according to the police.

Approximately 5,000 British victims have been identified thus far.

However, the investigation by the Met has yielded the telephone numbers of over 70,000 potential victims who have not yet been contacted.

In a Telegram channel used by administrators and users of iSpoof (pictured), subscribers were told to 'change the last digit' when posing as a tele-caller from a bank

In a Telegram channel used by iSpoof administrators and users (pictured), subscribers were instructed to “change the last digit” when posing as a bank telemarketer.

Det. Supt. Helen Rance of the Metropolitan Police stated that fraudsters would purchase victims’ bank account information on the dark web to make their approach more plausible, and then use iSpoof to make a fake bank phone call to empty their accounts.

Scammers made 10 million fraudulent calls after the website was launched in December 2020, with 35% of the victims residing in the United Kingdom, 40% in the United States, and the remaining victims dispersed throughout Europe, Australia, and Asia.

At one point, as many as 20 people per minute were targeted by callers using the site’s technology.

Mr. Fletcher, the alleged mastermind, was charged with fraud and participation in organized crime on November 7. He was remanded in custody and will appear on December 6 at Southwark Crown Court.

iSpoof advertised itself as “the number one spoofing service” in a slick video for potential criminals using the encrypted messaging app Telegram.

Alongside images of people using computers, the text read, “iSpoof was created by spoofers for spoofers.”

“Pick up the digits the targets type, and see them displayed on your dashboard,” it continues, referring to the bank account information con artists hoped their victims would enter during their phone calls.

Send bogus SMS messages and much more… our cutting-edge system handles auto-calling with custom hold music and convincing call center background sound.

It boasts that the scamming technology is compatible with both Android and iOS and that users can sign up for free and pay a monthly fee in Bitcoin to’remain completely anonymous.’

In a Telegram channel utilized by iSpoof administrators and users, subscribers were instructed to “change the last digit” when posing as a bank telemarketer.

One message read, ‘Seems some people are very stupid and don’t realize the majority of bank numbers are blocked and cannot be used… if your mind is not creative enough or your skillset doesn’t allow you to perform without a specific number, then you should get a job at a grocery store.’

It added, “If I find you complaining about caller ID without changing the last digit, etc., or wasting our time, this can be grounds for disabling your account.”

DSI Rance, the Metropolitan Police’s cybercrime expert, described how iSpoof users would defraud their victims.

She stated, “They induced fear of fraudulent activity on their bank accounts and duped them.”

She stated that individuals contacted would typically be instructed to reveal six-digit banking passcodes that would permit their accounts to be emptied.

In a Telegram channel used by iSpoof administrators and users (pictured), subscribers were instructed to “change the last digit” when posing as a bank telemarketer.

The Met launched “Operation Elaborate” in June 2021, collaborating with Dutch police who had already begun their own investigation after discovering an iSpoof server based in the Netherlands.

In September, a subsequent server operating in Kiev was shut down, and the website was permanently disabled on November 8.

The following day, a TikTok user posted a video with the caption: “RIP to all you iSpoof users,” while one of his followers commented on November 11: “50 people already bagged,” followed by a laughing emoji. There is no evidence that the TikTok user participated in the fraud.

The Metropolitan Police charged Mr. Fletcher with fraud and organized crime group offenses on November 7.

It is accurate to say that he led a lavish lifestyle, said DSI Rance, who added that the investigation was ongoing.

She added, “Rather than simply shutting down the website and arresting the administrator, we went after the users of iSpoof.”

“By removing iSpoof, we have prevented future crimes and stopped fraudsters from targeting new victims.

Our message to criminals who have used this website is that we have your information and are making every effort to find you, no matter where you are.

The Met added that two other suspected administrators are still at large outside the United Kingdom.

Sir Mark Rowley, commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, described the number of potential UK victims as “extraordinary,” adding, “We are trying to industrialize our response to the industrialization of the problem by organized crime.”

 

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