Sim card scam costs O2 £1.3m in one month…

Posted: August 20, 2010 in Law & Disorder

….read all about it!

IlieApparently a gang of West African fraudsters bought the iPhones and contracts from high street stores using dodgy credit cards and false identities. The handsets were sold to a middleman and the Sim cards were then sold to a London and Essex-based crime gang responsible for the premium phone line swindle.

The Sim cards registered to these accounts were removed and used to call premium rate numbers owned by the fraudsters, costing up to £10 a minute around the clock. The money owed on these accounts was settled immediately by O2.

Unfortunately when O2 tried to recover the call charges from its customers, it found they did not exist.

The fraud is believed to have been running for five months. It affected all mobile operators, although O2 was the first to discover it and launch an investigation. Other networks are now believed to be investigating to see how much they’ve lost. So expect a rise in tariffs to cover this loss.

City of London detectives raided homes in Forest Gate and Southall and also addresses in Southend, Walsall, Birmingham and Middlesbrough.

They seized mobile phones, hundreds of Sim cards, computers, documentation, stolen bank cards, several fake passports and cash. At one home in Forest Gate, police found hundreds of Sim cards, £15,000-worth of iPhones still in their boxes, 20 bank cards and several fake passports.

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