Scammers steal £50million from UK victims posing as employees at their bank calling on business

Almost 70,000 Britons will be contacted by the police from today after they have been exposed to the country’s biggest scam.

It comes after a website used to swindle up to 200,000 people in the UK out of at least £50m was shut down after an international investigation involving Scotland Yard, the FBI and European law enforcement agencies.

The scammers paid to sign up for iSpoof.cc to use technology that made them appear as if they were calling victims of banks like Barclays, NatWest, and Halifax.

A total of 59,000 offenders paid subscriptions ranging from £150 to £5,000 to use the technology, generating £3.2m for site owners while making huge sums from unsuspecting victims.

The site’s alleged British mastermind, Tejay Fletcher, 34, from east London, is believed to be in custody after being arrested earlier this month at a court date set within two weeks.

Scotland Yard said the average loss for victims was £10,000 each, with one losing more than £3m to scammers using the service, adding that there had been more than 100 arrests in the UK alone in recent weeks.

So far, the fraud has reported losses of £48m, but the real figure is likely to be much higher.

The Metropolitan Police plans to send text messages to 70,000 victims today and tomorrow asking them to call them to give evidence.

The scammers paid to sign up for iSpoof.cc to use technology that allowed them to make victims appear to be calling from banks like Barclays, NatWest, and Halifax.

The scammers paid to sign up for iSpoof.cc to use technology that allowed them to make victims appear to be calling from banks like Barclays, NatWest, and Halifax.

Anyone who tries to access the iSpoof website will get a message saying that it's done

Anyone who tries to access the iSpoof website will receive a message stating that it has been “hacked” (image).

A TikTok user posted a video titled

A TikTok user posted a video titled “RIP to all iSpoof users” earlier this month as dozens were arrested across the UK. There is no indication that the TikTok user was involved in the scam

In a slick promotional video for would-be criminals on the encrypted messaging app Telegram, iSpoof calls itself

In a slick promotional video for would-be criminals on encrypted messaging app Telegram, iSpoof calls itself the “number one spoofing service.”

Along with graphics of people working on computers, a promotional video (pictured) stated,

Along with graphics of people working on computers, a promotional video (pictured) stated, “iSpoof was created by scammers, for scammers.” Referring to the bank details the scammers hoped to enter their signs during their calls, he adds: “Record the numbers the target enters and see how they appear on the dashboard.”

How iSpoof scammed tens of thousands of people around the world

The iSpoof website – described as a “one-stop international plagiarism shop” – was set up in December 2020 and, according to the Met, had 59,000 users paying between £150 and £5,000 for its services.

It gave subscribers who could pay with bitcoin access to so-called spoofing tools that made their phone numbers appear as if they were calling from banks, tax offices, and other official bodies.

Some of the UK’s largest consumer banks – including Barclays, HSBC, Santander, Lloyds and Halifax – were the most impersonators.

Combined with customers’ bank and login details, obtained illegally elsewhere on the Internet, criminals were then able to defraud their victims.

“They were worried and scammed (about) fraudulent activity in their bank accounts,” said Helen Rance, director of cybercrime at the Met.

She noted that people contacted will usually be directed to share six-digit bank passwords, which can be used to empty their accounts.

In the year to August, the Met said suspects paid money to access the site and made more than 10 million scam calls worldwide.

About 40 percent were in the United States, while more than a third were in the United Kingdom, targeting the 200,000 potential victims there alone.

Fraud detection agencies have so far recorded losses of £48m in the UK, with the largest single theft at £3m and the average being £10,000.

“As fraud is so significantly underreported, the total is believed to be much higher,” the spokeswoman said.

The force added that those behind the site made nearly £3.2m from it.

Only about 5,000 British casualties have been identified so far.

However, the Met’s investigation revealed the phone numbers of more than 70,000 potential victims who had yet to be contacted.

The scammers will first buy victims’ banking details on the dark web to make their approach more convincing, said Helen Rance of the Met, and then use iSpoof to make a fake bank call to wipe their accounts.

The scammers made 10 million scam calls after the site launched in December 2020, with 35 percent of victims in the UK, 40 percent in the US and the rest spread across Europe and Australia.

At one point, up to 20 people per minute were being attacked by callers using technology purchased from the site.

The alleged mastermind, Mr. Fletcher, was charged on 7 November with fraud and involvement in organized crime. He has been taken into custody pending investigation and will appear at Southwark Crown Court on 6 December.

In a slick promotional video for would-be criminals on encrypted messaging app Telegram, iSpoof calls itself the “number one spoofing service.”

Along with the drawings of people working on computers, he said, “iSpoof was created by pranksters for pranksters.”

Referring to the bank details the scammers hoped to enter their signs during their calls, he adds: “Record the numbers the target enters and see how they appear on the control panel.”

It goes on to say, “Send scam text messages and more… Our state-of-the-art system handles automated calls with personalized music on hold and disguised call center background audio.”

It boasts that the scam technology works “on both Android and iOS” and that users can sign up for free and pay monthly in bitcoin to “stay completely anonymous.”

In a Telegram channel used by iSpoof administrators and users, subscribers were instructed to “change the last number” when impersonating a bank phone caller.

One of the messages reads: “It seems that some people are too stupid to understand that most bank numbers are blocked and cannot be used… If your mind is not creative enough or your skills do not allow you to perform without a number then you should pack your bags and get a job in market “.

She added, “If you are found to be complaining about caller ID without changing the last number etc or wasting our time, this may be grounds for banning you from our service.”

DSI Rance, in charge of cybercrime at the Met, explained how iSpoof users defraud their victims.

“They will worry them[about]fraudulent activity on their bank accounts and deceive them,” she said.

She said people contacted were usually instructed to share six-digit banking passwords so their accounts could be drained.

The Met launched “Operation Breakdown” in June 2021 in collaboration with the Dutch police, who had already launched their own investigation after the iSpoof server was stationed there.

Another server running in Kyiv was shut down in September, while the site was permanently deactivated on November 8.

The next day, a TikTok user posted a video with the caption, “RIP to all iSpoof users,” while on November 11, one of his followers commented, “50 people already packed,” along with a laughing emoji. There is no indication that the TikTok user was involved in the scam.

On November 7, the Met accused alleged gang leader Mr. Fletcher of fraud and organized crime.

“It is fair to say that he lived a lavish lifestyle,” DSI Rance said, adding that the investigation is still ongoing.

In the Telegram channel used by admins and iSpoof users (pictured), subscribers were directed to

In a Telegram channel used by administrators and iSpoof users (pictured), subscribers were instructed to “change last number” when impersonating a bank phone caller

She added, “Instead of simply shutting down the site and arresting the moderator, we stalked iSpoof users.”

“By closing iSpoof, we prevent further crime and stop scammers targeting future victims.

“Our message to criminals who have used this site is that we have your information and work hard to locate you, no matter where you are.”

The newspaper added that two other suspected directors outside the UK remain at large.

The Metropolitan Police Commissioner, Sir Mark Rowley, said the number of potential victims in the UK was “extraordinary”, adding: “What we are doing here is trying to manufacture our response to the manufacturing of the problem by organized crime.”

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-11463809/Scammers-steal-50m-UK-victims-posing-staff-bank-calling-business.html?ns_mchannel=rss&ns_campaign=1490&ito=1490 50m from UK victims pretending to be employees of their bank calling to action