ID theft gang smashed

Police in Scotland have charged 28 people accused with involvement in an ID theft scam that netted almost £2m
Written by Andy McCue, Contributor

Scottish police have charged 28 people over a sophisticated ID fraud racket that swindled almost £2m from over 100 private bank accounts.

More than 200 officers from Strathclyde Police raided 42 addresses yesterday after months of investigation into the scam. The number charged is expected to increase as the investigation continues.

The gang used a variety of physical and online ID theft tricks to get access to confidential personal bank account details and PIN numbers. These included collecting documents that had been thrown away, 'shoulder-surfing' for PIN numbers at cash machines and an email phishing campaign.

Head of CID at Strathclyde Police, Detective Chief Superintendent Ruaraidh Nicolson, said: "Several months ago an investigation was launched, which led to evidence indicating that recorded confidential personal banking security details of genuine banking customers had been accessed. Almost £2m was obtained and over one hundred law-abiding members of the public saw money disappear from their bank accounts."

The identity of the banks targeted is not being revealed by police but the Committee of Scottish Clearing Bankers (CSCB) said the arrests are a reminder for customers to adequately protect their confidential account details.

Professor Charles Munn, from the CSCB, said: "Identity theft is fast becoming a major focus for criminal activity and the banks would like to stress again to their customers that they should never reveal their accounts details or PIN numbers to anyone. The banks will never come on the phone or send an email requesting your details."

The news follows a report out this week claiming that one in four UK adults has been "touched" by identity theft.

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