British eBay phishing mastermind sentenced to four years jail, reports Sophos

November 01, 2005 Sophos Press Release

A British man who was the mastermind of a six-man phishing gang that stole nearly £200,000 has been sentenced to four years in jail.

David Levi, 29, of Lytham near Blackpool, stole identities and bank account information from more than 160 users of the popular eBay auction website. Other members of the gang received jail sentences of between six months and two years.

The gang set up a bogus website which posed as the real eBay website in an attempt to steal user account information from innocent customers. Levi and his cohorts then sent emails to internet users, posing as communications from eBay itself, leading them to the website.

"Phishing is big business for internet criminals, and there can be few internet users who have not received a phoney email claiming to come from an online bank or website," said Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant for Sophos. "Criminals are attempting to steal account information from innocent computer users, pilfering passwords, PIN and credit card numbers from unwary internet surfers."

Levi will serve a three year jail sentence for fraud, followed by a one year term for perverting the course of justice.

Sophos recommends companies protect themselves with a consolidated solution which can defend businesses from the threats of both spam and viruses.

Organizations concerned about being fraudulently represented in phishing campaigns can sign up to the Sophos early warning system, Sophos PhishAlert.