8/18/2010 3:50:00 PM
O2 hit by box breaking scam worth £1.2m
A group of nine people were arrested this morning (18 August) following an investigation by City of London Police in partnership with O2 into a criminal gang suspected of stealing £1.2m from the network.
The group of eight men and one woman were arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to defraud following a tip off from O2 to the City of London Police. O2 had noticed huge phone bills on customer accounts.
The group is believed to have set up premium rate phone lines charging up to £10 a minute and bought contract phones, using fake ID to set up fake accounts and call the phone lines. They then ran up huge bills and kept the money.
Many of the handsets bought were iPhones and O2 had £1.2m stolen from it in July alone.
Once the handsets had been bought the Sim card would be separated from the phone and plugged into an automatic dialing machine, which repeatedly called the premium rate lines.
Officers also found £15,000 worth of mobile phones, hundreds of Sim cards, thousands of pounds and fake documents.
Detective Superintendent Bob Wishart, from the City of London Police, said: ‘Today we have struck at the very heart of a complex criminal network that has been targeting the telecommunications industry to steal millions of pounds.
‘Our investigation found a crime gathering momentum. Each month more Sim cards were being used to make more phone calls to premium rate lines at more expense to the network provider. The criminal exploitation of the latest consumer technology is a recurring theme of our work. Our collaboration with O2 on this investigation highlights the benefits of how the private sector can work with the police to proactively target common threats to our communities.’
O2’s general manager of fraud and security Adrian Gorham said: ‘This was a sophisticated and organised attempt to defraud mobile phone operators. We are committed to reducing mobile phone crime and have a dedicated team that monitors and investigates such attempted criminal activity. We are extremely pleased that our own investigation and the information we have shared with the City of London Police has resulted in these arrests.’