- The UK’s biggest ever fraud investigation has resulted in the arrest of more than 100 people
- Scammers would use the services of iSpoof to disguise their phone numbers and scam victims out of their money
- iSpoof’s creator, Teejai Fletcher, took payment in bitcoin, thinking it would keep him safe
The UK’s biggest ever fraud investigation has resulted in the arrest of more than 100 people who used services from the website iSpoof. iSpoof, which was set up in December 2020, was a service that allowed anyone to disguise their phone number and pretend to be calling from a legitimate organization, using the service to scam unsuspecting victims out of money. Criminals, who paid for the service in bitcoin, are thought to have earned some £50 million ($60.4 million) from the enterprise.
Over 200,000 Victims
British police estimate that more than 200,000 potential victims were targeted via the iSpoof website, which was taken down this week by its cybercrime unit with the help of the authorities in the US and Ukraine. The average amount stolen was £10,000, although the real figure is thought to be much higher as this type of fraud is typically underreported.
Fraudsters would pay iSpoof in bitcoin for the service, which they would use to convince victims to hand over money or give them access to their bank accounts. In one case a victim was taken for £3 million ($3.6 million).
Creator Was Paid in Bitcoin
Users of the service believed they were anonymous, but officers were able to hack into the iSpook servers and record the phone calls. As a result, more than 100 people have been arrested, predominantly in London. The suspected mastermind behind the website, Teejai Fletcher, was described by police to have been living a “lavish” lifestyle on his earnings, including a bitcoin haul that may well have been confiscated by police, although this was not reported.
Fletcher has been charged with making or supplying articles for use in fraud, participating in activities of an organized crime group and proceeds of crime matters.