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Scotland Yard cuffs six in megaquid phish ring probe

Operation Dynamophone nabs suspects

Six suspected fraudsters have been arrested in the UK and Ireland over their alleged involvement in a bank and credit card phishing scam that affected tens of thousands of victims and resulted in losses of millions of pounds.

Five men and one woman, aged 25 to 40, were arrested in London and County Meath, Ireland on Tuesday and Wednesday following an investigation led by officers from the Met's Police Central e-Crime Unit (PCeU). The five UK suspects, all arrested following raids on addresses in London, remain in custody in central London pending further police inquiries. Each faces possible computer fraud and hacking charges.

The arrests were part of Operation Dynamophone, an investigation by the PCeU into a sophisticated phishing fraud network that systematically harvested online bank account passwords and credit card numbers. The MPS Territorial Support Group and the Irish Garda Síochána Fraud Investigation Bureau assisted the PCeU in serving warrants on the six suspects.

Police reckon 10,000 online bank accounts and 10,000 credit cards have been compromised as part of a fraud that has resulted in the attempted theft of £1.14 million and losses of £358,000 from online bank accounts. The value of credit card fraud associated with the scam is less certain but estimated at more than £3m.

Detective Inspector Colin Wetherill of the PCeU said: "We have taken this action to shut down an organised criminal network running an online phishing and account take-over operation. A great deal of personal information was compromised and cleverly exploited for substantial profit. By disrupting the operation we have hopefully prevented further loss to individuals and institutions across the UK."

He added that consumers ought to follow online safety advice from sites such as getsafeonline.org to safeguard themselves against the risk of becoming the victims of online fraud.

A Met Police statement on the case can be found here. ®

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