Police set up Olympics crime teams

Two specialist teams from the Metropolitan Police will tackle e-crime and ticketing fraud associated with the London 2012 games
Written by Tom Espiner, Contributor

The Metropolitan Police is setting up two specialist teams to deal with aspects of e-crime and ticketing fraud surrounding the 2012 Olympic Games in London.

One of the teams will be dedicated to tackling e-crime around the Olympics, such as attempted hacks on computer systems and fraud aimed at sponsors and prospective visitors to the Games. The other will focus on the prevention of ticketing fraud and other physical crime, and will investigate ticketing websites.

Recruitment is underway for the Olympics e-crime team, which will be headed by detective superintendent Charlie McMurdie. The team is already investigating websites that are suspected of being set up to launch phishing attacks.

"We're looking at precursor crime-enabler websites," said McMurdie. "We're working with registrars to put in place preventative measures to stop those sites being registered."

The computer systems at the Olympics will be protected by their supplier, Atos Origin. McMurdie's team, in co-ordination with the Police Central e-Crime Unit, will work on computer security with vendors and sponsors.

McMurdie said the Serious Organised Crime Agency (Soca) is also putting together a dedicated team to deal with Olympics crime, which is separate from the Met teams.

The Met's 24-strong ticketing-fraud team is headed by detective chief inspector Nick Downing, who pointed out that tickets for the events have not yet gone on sale. "Any website that sets itself up advertising tickets for the Olympics at the moment is doing so illegally," Downing said.

Detective chief superintendent Nigel Mawer, who heads the specialist economic crime directorate at the Met, said on Tuesday that organised criminals had already started fraudulent ticketing activity.

"There are already rogue websites offering tickets for the Olympics, and there is already significant organised crime around ticketing," said Mawer. "It's highly likely organised criminals will target the Olympics."

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