Yesterday morning City of London Police arrested nine people as part of an investigation into a suspected fraud case that's believed to have involved premium-rate international phone numbers being called on mobile phones. Officers also seized up to £15,000 worth of mobile phones along with hundreds of SIM cards and fake documents. The raids took place after an investigation in partnership with O2.
It appears that fake identities and counterfeit accounts were used to buy 'pay monthly' mobile phones on the O2 UK network. The SIM cards from the phones were then used to call international premium line telephone numbers, some costing up to £10 a minute, that had been set up by the same criminals. Choosing international numbers resulted in O2 paying the international premium-rate provider before they'd billed the non-existent UK customers for the calls.
Detective Superintendent Bob Wishart from the City of London Police said "Our investigation found a crime gathering momentum. Each month more SIM cards were being used to make more phone calls to premium rate lines at more expense to the network provider. The criminal exploitation of the latest consumer technology is a recurring theme of our work. Our collaboration with O2 on this investigation highlights the benefits of how the private sector can work with the police to proactively target common threats to our communities."