Police nab six in UK online banking fraud sting

Six people have been arrested for allegedly running a phishing operation that netted at least £358,000 (US$569,000) and compromised more than 20,000 bank accounts and credit cards, the Metropolitan Police in London said today.

Five men and one woman between the ages of 25 and 40 were arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to commit online banking fraud and violations of the Computer Misuse Act, said the Police Central e-crime Unit (PCeU). The suspects, who were not named, remain in custody in London.

Authorities served five search warrants Tuesday and today within London and one in Navan, Ireland. The arrests were part of Operation Dynamophone, which is an investigation into a network of people who obtained "large quantities of personal information," the PCeU said.

The gang allegedly sent out spam to lure people to fake Web sites purporting to be major banks that asked for passwords and other information. The fraudsters then transferred money out of their bank account or abused their credit cards.

Police said the credit card-related fraud could be as high as £3 million ($4.7 million). The bank account fraud could be as much as £1.14 million ($1.8 million), although police said they haven't established how much the group may have profited.

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