May 30, 2024


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Police have arrested a global cyber gang accused of fraud on an industrial scale

Police have arrested a global cyber gang accused of fraud on an industrial scale

  • Written by Tom Simmonds
  • Internal affairs correspondent

Comment on the photo, Police made arrests in a series of raids, including one in Bromley, south-east London.

Police have busted a gang accused of using a technology service that helped criminals use fraudulent text messages to rob victims.

They have arrested 37 people worldwide and are contacting the victims.

Young people who have grown up with the internet are more likely to fall for a 'phishing' scam, officers say.

This technology allowed unskilled fraudsters to bombard victims with messages designed to trick them into making online payments.

Police targeted the gang's website, LabHost, which helped criminals send messages and direct victims to fake websites that looked like legitimate online payment or shopping services.

Police said the software enabled criminals to steal identity information, including 480,000 card numbers and 64,000 PIN codes, known in criminal parlance as “full data.”

Investigators don't know how much money was stolen, but they estimate that LabHost generated profits of up to £1 million ($1.25 million).

Metropolitan Police Deputy Commissioner, Dame Lyn Owens, said: “You are more likely to be a victim of fraud than of any other crime.

“Our approach is to be more precise and targeted, with a clear focus on those that enable online fraud to be carried out on an international scale.”

“Technology enables crime to be committed on a large scale in an almost industrial way,” said Adrian Searle, director of the National Economic Crime Centre.

The arrests were the result of a two-year operation involving the Metropolitan Police, the National Crime Agency, the City of London Police and law enforcement agencies in 17 countries.

In the United Kingdom, 24 suspects were arrested and detained at Luton and Manchester airports.

Worldwide, 70 properties were searched and one British man was charged.

In the UK, 70,000 victims are believed to have been tricked into providing their details online.

Text messages will be sent to about 25,000 identified people, warning them that online payment services and fake shopping sites could have taken their money.

They will be advised to go to the Metropolitan Police website for advice.

Their cases have been reported to fraud investigators.

Officers say their personal details in the data dump, obtained from LabHost, have been “secured”.

Custom videos

Investigators also seized the email addresses of 800 criminals who paid up to £300 a month to use the LabHost service.

They will be sent personalized videos to show that police knew who they were and what they were doing.

This strategy, which follows advice from behavioral psychologists, aims to undermine criminals' confidence in the security of fraudulent services.

Image source, Metropolitan Police

Comment on the photo, Law enforcement agencies took control of the site

The gang's activities were discovered in 2022 by the Cyber ​​Defense Alliance, a small team of investigators funded by UK financial bodies to infiltrate criminal networks on the dark web.

This investigation is an example of the new approach involving police, the National Crime Agency and banking security experts to target criminals who provide services to other criminals.

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