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back to article Dawn raids catch 9 for massive iPhone 'fraud'

Eight men and one woman were arrested during dawn raids this morning at addresses across the UK connected to an alleged million-pound phone fraud. The complex fraud allegedly involved the purchase of iPhones using dodgy credit cards. The gang then passed SIM cards on to others who used them to rack up massive phone bills calling …

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Wow

staggering in its simplicity and size I am glad that its been brought down but it does beg the question what about the other mobile operators.

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sims out?

iPhones in the UK dont come with the SIMs already inside....

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FAIL

O2 payup first ..

You'll note that O2 paid up the £10/min charges to the premium line holders AND THEN went hunting for the client to pay them back.

You'd think that the reverse would be true.

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WTF?

Sorry maybe i missed something...

... If O2 were losing money because these creeps were calling specific premium phone numbers, why didnt they just block access to calling these numbers?

In theory it would seem to be a simple operation - a phone is identified as stolen and the phonecalls fraudulent. Identify numbers called, block all future calls to any premium rate number called by said stolen phone across the entire O2 network. Problem solved.

Ok you may lose money until the phone is identifed as stolen but that shouldnt take more then a few weeks at the absolute most.

What am i missing here?

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Anonymous Coward

what you're missing

Is that O2 only realised that the phones had been bought fradulently when they tried to bill the 'owners'. By that point O2 had *already* settled the bills from the international premium rate lines. Too late to block the phones by then.

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Go

Yes but...

So O2 would be screwed for the first month thats true, but this went on for months. It cannot be that easy to start up premium rate numbers that the crims can have huge numbers of these to switch between!

Or i suppose an easy way to get around this would be for O2 and other operators not to pay the premium rate numbers for 30-60 days after the call. Lets face it, lots of businesses have 30-60 day invoice periods already. It would take out the risk for both O2 and the rest of us who pay the price in the end through higher phone call rates. And if O2 cant pick out a fraudulent premium rate number within 30 days then frankly they deserve to get fleeced!

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Yes.

It went on because they kept stealing more sim cards. use a sim for a month, rack up the bill until cut off, get a new sim, carry on.....

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Yes and...

... and my proposal was that once they identify that a sim was stolen, and had been racking up these charges on a premium rate number then to ban that number across the entire network. It would mean that as soon as that sim was identified as stolen, no other sim would be able to call that particular premium number and dial up those charges.

If they steal a new sim it means they need to dial a different premium rate number. And if its really that easy to create premium rate numbers then that points to a whole different raft of problems with the telecommunications industry, dont you think?

So im not really seeing your point...

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Premium rates = scam

Premium rate phone numbers are a scam. The idea that it is possible to run up large bills in a few minutes by dialling (deliberately or not) a phone number attracts fraudsters in large numbers.

If it's not out and out criminal activity like this story, it's misleading advertising and deliberately extended recorded message or trojans calling out without the owner's knowledge.

0845/0870 numbers are bad enough (try saynoto0870.com if you don't like them) but premium rate numbers are a disaster waiting to happen - they should not exist.

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Joke

i haz business proposition

Wantz accomplice

Email AC@threg.com ....

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Why iPhones

it's a cunning scheme certainly but why iphones? surely any phone contract would do. I appreciate that iphones are desirable thus saleable, but from O2, they'd be locked to begin with, and I don't think O2 unlock for 3 months at least. why not HTC desires or any other nice phone?

anyway, isn't the majority of the income coming in from the premium rate lines?

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Resale value

iPhone's hold their value. In fact they tend to sell above RRP on ebay due to the 3 week shipping delays at present.

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Grenade

Why do Operators pay out to these £10pm phonelines

Sure that would stop the at least the fraud part dead in its tracks.

Having been caught out with premium texts in the past I did ask my operator at the time why do you pay my money put to such a shady operation. The only answer I got was because we have to. But if they received a request for a massive fee to a £10pm phone line shouldn't alarm bells start ringing somewhere.

Of course the reason could be is that they take a large chuck of the £10pm for themselves.

What sort of phone line can justifiable charge £10pm on a brand new sim card?

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They pay because they are part of the scam

They have no problem taking YOUR money for rippoff calls or bogus text messages as they get their cut. There is no profit in making it easy to block the scammers as long as they are not the ones paying.

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Why did O2 pay up?

Surely telecoms companies must be able to tell if a premium rate number is a scam? If a customer makes a call which costs a large amount of money, you would think that they would check if the number was legitimate (or even just contact the customer by mail) before paying the offending company. That way they could just tell the scammers to get lost and nobody would be out of pocket.

Oh, well, at least O2's lack of care only cost them money in the end.

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So that's ~£1m each for how long in pokey?

Might not be a bad trade-off.

If they were smart enough to do this in the first place, they may have been smart enough to launder and squirrel away the money. The fact they were caught obviously demonstrates that they are not Einsteins however.

Still, I can see them offering Get Rich Quick bizops on eBay, whilst serving Her Majesty's pleasure.

Or maybe I can be the sole publisher with resale rights exclusively limited to Lagos?

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Fake docs

So, some fake documents were found and If I'm correct, some fake documents were found?

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WTF?

Seems both sides were laggardly

O2 acted in a very laggardly fashion when these calls were processed and settled.

Equally, the fraudsters were also slow in dumping the Iphones unless the market has disappeared following Lemon 4 revelations.

Or could it be O2 depended on the credit card issuers to pay up regardless, these careless issuers simply collecting from all the CC users by increasing user fees? In any event you have to wonder what exactly CC 'authorisation' means and just how reliable it is. I know travel agents can have 'authorised' credit card payments reversed as long as four months after a transaction was approved.

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FAIL

O2 deserve it as it was their anti customer policy that caused this, no?

When we read about extortionate bills for roaming data being racked up by teenagers on holiday with Mum & Dad, the first question asked is why did the telco allow the bill to rack up so much before stopping it. The reason is to make money, but of course that is never stated.

This time due to their policy of "allow bills to rack up to any size then chase the customer" has back fired as there is no customer and they have to foot the bill.

So, if they were just a little more human and reasonable about letting people run up bills they would not be in this mess!!!!!

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My Firm Was Scammed

Not quite the same thing but we got a new IP phone system installed in our firm, which was subsequently hacked into via the voicemail. The lovely folks then put some sort of call loop-back on which sat and called out a range of premium rate numbers.

We were only alerted when our comms company called to ask if we were aware we'd run up £15k worth of calls in 2 days.

Short story is the voicemail had 3 admin accounts - the installers only knew of 1 and so only locked one down.

Turned out to be a very complicated conversation with the insurance company.....

Once again though the comms operator had to pay the company who looked after the premium rate number, because "they have to".

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Thank God it wasn't BT

In the days of dial-up modems victims of rogue dialler programs were pursued by BT who'd happily paid out to the scammers offshore.

One has to ask how this was legal -- BT might be bound to pay out on normal transactions, but these were clear frauds. By enforcing customers' payments, BT seem to have been open to criminal charges for profiting from these crimes -- but of course nothing was done.

Instead BT's effort went into claiming that victims had simply forgotten making the calls or were negligent. People who refused to pay were disconnected.

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Stop

hardly BT's problem

If someone is careless enough to let their PC get infected by a rogue dialer, and negligent enough not to notice it dialling, it's their fault. Why should a phone company have to swallow a cost created by a faulty piece of customer equipment?

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CyberSub

And don't forget the fake documents:

"Fake documents, laptops, hundreds of SIMs and fake documents were also seized."

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hun ??

In the US the phone companies act as a third party biller . So if you don't pay them , they don't pay the premium rate folks .

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Flame

@jeremy 3

O2s general policy is wite of teh first bill and then warn you if you do it again you will get billed the full amount.

Whats anti consumer about that? and their mobile BB contracts have INTL roaming disabled by default and have been for about 7 or 8 months (if turn it on then run up a big fucking bill your own damm fault TBFH).

AC as I work there.

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Genius Age Countdown

Mr Oates. The age countdown there was pure class; why has no-one commented on it? My lottery numbers are sorted now.

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"aged 42, 34, 32, 32, 28, 26, 22, 21 and 18"

Well, that's my lottery numbers picked for this week. But seriously - does that level of detail really add anything to the story that "between 18 and 42" doesn't provide?

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Not exactly a new scam though

I remember back in the late 1980s, back when premium rate numbers were still new, reading of scammers who would hire an office, get BT to install a couple of dozen telephones, use them to dial their own premium rate numbers, and leave them off the hook... The premium rate suppliers paid out each month, BT only raised their bills after three months... you can work out the rest of this story I am sure. (I remember this because there was a legit (I presume) supplier of such numbers in the basement of the building I worked in at the time.)

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