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60,000 scammed out: Internet fraud

Date: October 30, 2007
Source: The Register
By: John Leyden

Scammers conned both a mortgage firm and a bank to hit an IT director for 60,000. UK police are hunting the gang responsible for the scam, and at least nine others like it, that are estimated to have netted ID fraudsters hundreds of thousands of pounds, The Times reports.

Phishing fraudsters are typically satisfied with milking money from online accounts, but the group hunted by detectives from the Dedicated Cheque and Plastic Crime Unit was more ambitious. The gang's basic modus-operandi involved hacking into individual bank accounts and ordering new credit cards which are subsequentally used to buy jewellery, electronic goods, or foreign currency.

The gang pieced together enough information about one victim, an IT director, to transfer 60,000 from his mortgage reserve account to a current account, which they later emptied to buy jewellery in Barcelona.

Instead of conventional ID fraud, where loans and credit cards are obtained under a false name, the gang specialises in taking over existing accounts.

Detective Constable Keith Harrington told The Times that the crooks use social engineering tricks to find information about victims prior to convincing a bank to issue a new card and PIN. This card is picked up at a local postal office by a crook impersonating the prospective mark, an aspect of the scam that seems to rely on knowing the victim will be away from home.
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