Nine suspects arrested after iPhone scam raids
Published 19/08/2010 | 05:00
Police have shut down a global criminal conspiracy suspected of milking millions from stolen iPhones, through premium phone lines.
Nine people accused of co-ordinating the sophisticated scam were arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to defraud, in a series of early morning raids.
London Police detectives swooped on homes in Forest Gate and Southall in London, Southend, Walsall, central Birmingham and Middlesbrough.
They seized dozens of mobile phones, hundreds of sim cards, computers, stolen bank cards, several fake passports and cash.
The raids followed a month-long probe into the criminal conspiracy profiting from the theft and illegal use of almost 1,000 iPhones.
Police were called after phone company O2 watched the scam spiral out of control, with £1.2m (€1.4m) stolen through premium lines in July alone.
Sim cards were being shipped abroad and plugged into automatic dialling machines, calling lines around the clock that charge up to £10 (€12) a minute.
The cards were racking up enormous bills in a matter of weeks, which were settled immediately by O2 but never repaid by their "ghost" owners.
A police spokesman said those arrested were aged between 18 and 42.