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Korean police break phone sex scam

Sex, lies and ID theft

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South Korean police raided two local phone sex firms and arrested six people over allegations they hacked into the systems of competitors to harvest phone contact details.

The group allegedly swiped personal data on 8.42 million customers of rivals before bombarding them with 100 million saucy text messages.

The cybercrime division of Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency arrested six people including a 33-year-old hacker called "Lee", according to local reports.

Two of the suspects, including Lee, have been held in custody while four others were released on bail. All six face charges of stealing personal information in violation of South Korea's Information and Communications Law. Lee allegedly used a Chinese hacking program called X-Scan to break into the systems of competitors an estimated 12,000 times.

The group allegedly used Daepo phones registered under false names in order to send lascivious text messages without copping the bill. Each of the messages normally costs 30 Won (3 cents), so as well as hacking charges the group also face possible indictment for ID theft-related offences.

Investigators reckon the gang targeted heavy users of other firms' phone sex services. The alleged crooks made 2.5bn Won ($2.7m) profit through the scam prior to their arrest, police allege.

"This is the first time someone who broke into several servers at the same time and took personal information has been caught," police said. "Communication service companies can check out Daepo phones by confirming a client who used a phone excessively in a short time. However, their passive attitude has resulted in shifting losses to customers." ®

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