Three men have been arrested by the Metropolitan Police following an investigation into a substantial phishing operation.
Detectives from the Met’s Central e-Crime Unit (PCeU) worked in collaboration with the cybercrime unit of SOCA to arrest the suspects at a central London hotel on Monday evening. They were arrested for offences of Conspiracy to Defraud and Money Laundering.
The police said that the arrests followed reports that more than 2,000 phishing pages had been placed on the internet in order to mimic various genuine banking websites, and were designed to dupe unsuspecting victims into logging on to the fake sites and providing their banking credentials to the criminal gang.
A large number of these victims’ accounts were subsequently illegally accessed by the fraudsters and money extracted.
“This is the first joint operation between the PCeU and SOCA Cyber as we move towards full integration and inception of the National Cyber Crime Unit on 1 October 2013,” said Detective Superintendent Charlie McMurdie, head of the PCeU.
“The dynamic nature and successful outcome of this operation, which has prevented distress and financial loss to numerous UK victims, clearly demonstrates the benefit of brigading resources and expertise in this increasing and specialist area of criminality,” he said.
The three men (one Nigerian and two Romanian nationals) have been taken to a Central London police station for questioning. Computers have been seized and are being forensically examined by specially trained officers. Further searches are ongoing in London and the Midlands.
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