Prosecutors in the United Kingdom have convicted four men in connection with a widespread phone fraud scam that saw them steal more than £600,000 (more than $912,000) from a number of elderly victims over the course of a year.
The men ran a version of a common scam in which they posed as police officers and called victims, informing them that their bank accounts were being targeted by a fraud campaign. The victims were told that they needed to transfer funds out of their accounts and into other accounts, which were, of course, controlled by the fraudsters. This attack sometimes comprised numerous phone calls to a single victim, and one of the known victims lost £130,000.
The suspects who were convicted include Mohamed Dahir, Sakaria Aden, Yasser Abukar, and Mohammed Sharif Abokar. Authorities in the U.K. say that the arrests were the result of an investigation into terrorist financing and involved a number of victims.
“This callous group of criminals stole vast sums of money from extremely vulnerable and elderly people from across the country. Their despicable actions have had a terrible and devastating impact on their victims with some losing their life savings. The targeting of vulnerable men and women in their 80s and 90s is quite simply beyond belief,” said Richard Walton, head of the Counter Terrorism Command of the Metropolitan Police in London.
“This was a scam on a huge national scale detected by specialist financial investigators who have stopped the targeting of even more victims. Our investigation remains on-going and we will continue to arrest and prosecute anyone involved in this fraud.”
The convictions come at a time when similar phone fraud scams are proliferating in a number of countries, especially the United States and U.K. In a similar scheme, a couple in Surrey recently lost £104,000 to scammers.
Image from Flickr stream of Captain Roger Fenton.