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Police smash £1.2m iPhone scam

Police smash £1.2m iPhone scam

Eight men and a woman have been taken into custody, as part of ongoing investigations into an organised fraud campaign involving iPhones and premium rate calls.

The alleged fraudsters were involved in a conspiracy which successfully acquired iPhones using phony IDs and then hijacked SIM cards to make lengthy phone calls to high cost numbers operated by the gang, raking in millions of pounds.

The suspects were arrested around the UK in a series of raids, with large sums of money and hundreds of SIMs and smartphones recovered in the process.

Although not all of the mobiles used were iPhones, it seems that Apple's flagship mobile was the most common choice for the gang.

The SIMs were extracted from the mobile phones, sent to various international destinations and then popped into a machine that was set to repeatedly dial the premium numbers, pulling in £10 per minute for the criminals.

Network providers foot the bill to these premium numbers and then contact those who they believed to have purchased the mobiles. The innocent individuals would know nothing about the phones or the high bills because they had become victims of identity theft.

O2 was cheated out of £1.2 million via this form of scam last month and a taskforce lead by the City of London police set out to catch those responsible.

The reason behind the iPhone's popularity amongst the gang was because of its high value on the used phone market, allowing it to be sold on overseas once its SIM card had been extracted to make even more money for the thieves.

During the raids, police uncovered evidence of additional scams and criminal activity, together with iPhones still sealed in their packaging worth over £15,000 at a single property.

Adrian Goreham of O2 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."

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