Five women and three men from an organised crime group (OCG) based in London have been arrested in connection with an investigation targeting the sale of stolen personal data on the dark web.
The personal data concerned stolen bank account and credit card information.
Three men and two women aged between 17 and 31 were arrested at addresses in North London and the West Midlands for conspiracy to commit fraud, conspiracy to possess articles for use in fraud and conspiracy to money launder.
The same day, three women aged between 31 and 47 were arrested at addresses in North London and Hertfordshire for conspiracy to commit fraud.
All eight individuals, arrested on June 25, have now been released under investigation, pending further enquiries.
The operation, run by the Met’s Cyber Crime Unit, targeted criminality involving the creation of what purported to be genuine retail websites, but were in fact ‘spoof’ retail websites, which harvested would-be customer data, such as name, address, phone number, email address and password. Personal details collected by the OCG were then sold on the dark web with the victims falling victim to further frauds as a result.
Detectives estimate that the number of victims may amount to tens of thousands.
Detective Sergeant Rick Nolan of the Met’s Cyber Crime Unit, said: “This was a sophisticated fraud, where the victims were duped into creating accounts and entering their personal details onto what they believed were genuine online shopping sites. My advice is to always use reputable online stores; if you have any concerns about the site you are on, don’t use it. Always use a different password for different accounts as fraudsters rely on the fact that many people use the same password across multiple accounts”
Enquires are ongoing.