CYBERWARZONE – Operation Elaborate, which is a collaboration between the Dutch and British police has resulted in the takedown of the iSpoof cybercrime service. Operation Elaborate is the UK’s largest ever proactive fraud operation. The British and Dutch police have led an international investigation targeting a website that enabled criminals to disguise their phone number and commit fraud, a practice known as spoofing.
Criminals which used iSpoof, tried to steal personal information by making it look like they’re contacting you from a trusted organisation, such as a bank or building society.
Operation Elaborate has taken down a website that was used to make 10 million spoof calls between June 2021 and July 2022. Operation Elaborate worked with international partners to track down the owner of the website and locate and arrest those suspected of using it to commit fraud.
The spoofing service iSpoof, with which criminals could take a fake telephone number, was taken off the air this week by the Dutch and British police.
More than 100 people have been arrested in the United Kingdom. Two suspects, aged 19 and 22, have been arrested in the Netherlands, the police reported on Thursday. Criminals were able to hide their own phone number via iSpoof software and pretend to be an official body, such as a bank. With this so-called help desk fraud, the scammers were able to extort people’s data and money. They usually paid for the service in bitcoins.
It is estimated that about 200,000 people have been scammed with the help of iSpoof. Tens of millions of euros have been taken from people. Every month, about 1 million attempts are made to defraud people. Of the 10 million calls made with iSpoof, 40 percent were in the United States and 35 percent in the United Kingdom. The rest of the calls were made in other countries, including an estimated several thousand in the Netherlands.
The scammers thought they could operate anonymously, but authorities managed to infiltrate online at iSpoof, which had 59,000 users at its peak. The service has been on the air since December 2020 and more than six months later, the London police launched an investigation. She received help from police services in the Netherlands, the US and Ukraine.
Some iSpoof servers ran in Almere, The Netherlands, the Dutch police wiretapped the service, which allowed them to listen in on the fraudulent calls.
The prime suspect is Teejai Fletcher, allegedly the mastermind behind iSpoof, according to the police, he would lead an lavish lifestyle. Fletcher was arrested in London on November 6. The Netherlands has exchanged findings of the study with other countries, the Dutch police expects to arrest more people linked to this case in the near future.
The coordinated action was led by the United Kingdom and included the support of authorities in Europe, Australia, the United States, Ukraine, and Canada,
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