A group of UK-based fraudsters have been convicted of stealing thousands of pounds from job hunters using fake online adverts for companies including the prestigious London department store Harrods and retail chain Argos.
The organised criminal network of five men and one woman is one of the UK’s first home-grown financial malware writers to be convicted for targeting banks. They were convicted for conspiracy to defraud after an investigation launched by the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) and concluded by the National Crime Agency (NCA).
The gang, which will be sentenced later this week, defrauded UK financial institutions (FIs) for many years and stole personal data from thousands of members of the public. They also targeted job seekers on internet sites such as Gumtree and Blue Arrow by posting bogus vacancies.
Those who responded to the ads were sent hyperlinks via e-mail asking them to complete an online application. However, if the link was clicked, keylogging malware was downloaded to the victims’ computers which captured personal and financial data and sent it back to the gang. One of the group, Nadine Windley, also pleaded guilty to using her position as an employee of Santander Bank to provide the others with customer account data.
The gang then used the illegally obtained personal data to phone banks claiming to have lost their credit/debit card. They would request a new pin number and credit card, and wait outside the victim’s address where they would intercept the postman before he posted the letters.
They also defrauded the emergency cash systems of several banks, using illegally obtained security passwords so that the bank issued them with a special code to enable them to obtain cash from automated teller machines (ATMs).
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