Cyber Crooks Jailed After ‘Biggest Ever UK Phishing Scam’

Young man in handcuffs - copyright Fotolia

PCeU and SOCA hit big cyber crime ring

Three men have been imprisoned for carrying out a phishing scam that could have netted them well over £59 million, the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) announced today.

The Met said it was one of the biggest cyber cases it has ever dealt with and likely the biggest cyber phishing case in the UK to date.

When the Met’s Police Central e-Crime Unit (PCeU) was alerted to 2,600 phishing pages on the Internet in October last year, it began surveillance on Birmingham resident Sunday Godday Etu and his Romanian accomplices Inout Caraman and Adrian Iorgovean.

PhishingMajor phishing scam busted

The phishing pages mimicked various banking websites, targeting users in the UK, US, Russia, China, Australia and Canada, attempting to get them to hand over their login information.

The three men were tracked down to a luxury hotel in central London, where they were caught accessing servers storing stolen banking information.

It later emerged they had stolen the personal data of almost 30,000 bank customers, 12,500 of which were from the UK, whilst over 70 million customer email addresses had been obtained, so that the crooks could scale up their operation.

Having seized kit from across Europe, and taken in financial documents from Romania as evidence of money laundering, it was estimated the criminals could have made £59 million just from the UK victims. That means the final amount saved was likely to have been far higher, the Met said.

The Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA), which will see its cyber arm merged with the PCeU later this year, was also pivotal to the investigation.

“These convictions have struck a major and decisive blow against this global cyber crime gang,” said investigating officer DI Jason Tunn, of the PCeU.

“Quite what they have managed to steal is yet to be determined but their conviction has prevented them from systematically defrauding thousands more bank customers across the world.”

Etu was sentenced to eight years, Caraman seven years and two months, and Iorgovean five years and seven months.

Eight others have been arrested in connection with the case and bailed to return in July.

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