UK police arrest suspected phishing gang, Sophos comments

May 06, 2004 Sophos Press Release

The phishing gang is said to have lured computer users into visiting bogus banking websites
The phishing gang is said to have lured computer users into visiting bogus banking websites

The UK's National Hi-Tech Crime Unit (NHTCU) has arrested 12 people suspected of being members of a gang involved in defrauding users of online banks.

The six men and six women, who come from Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Russia and Ukraine, are alleged to have fooled computer users into revealing their online bank account details (known as a "phishing" scam).

Police are said to have seized computers, passports, cheque books, bank cards and a quantity of cocaine from addresses in London and Ramsgate, Kent.

"We believe this gang has sent hundreds of thousands of pounds back to Russia," said Detective Superintendent Mick Deats, deputy head of the NHTCU.

"Organised criminal gangs are targeting internet users around the world in their attempt to steal money from online bank accounts," said Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant for Sophos. "It's not uncommon to be on the receiving ends of one of these frauds every day you open your email, as you receive yet another message inviting you to reveal your account details by visiting a website disguised to look like a genuine online bank".

Last week the NHTCU arrested a 21-year-old man in Lancashire in what was said to be the UK's first phishing arrest.