UK police have arrested nine people today after a series of raids aimed at breaking up a global iPhone fraud ring which stole millions of pounds over the last few months.
Arrests were maid in Forest Gate and Southall in London, Southend, Walsall, central Birmingham, and Middlesbrough. Police seized dozens of mobile phones, hundreds of SIM cards, several computers, stolen bank cards, fake passports, documents and cash, all relating to an elaborate fraud operation.
Police spent the last month investigating a growing criminal group which made substantial profits from the theft and illegal use of nearly 1,000 iPhones. They were alerted to the problem when mobile phone network O2 became aware of the scam, which stole £1.2 million through premium phone lines in July alone.
The scam involved shipping SIM cards abroad and plugging them into automatic dialling machines which could charge as much as £10 per minute. O2 became suspicious when the numbers were amassing huge phone bills, which were ultimately never paid.
It is believed that the iPhones, along with their mobile phone contracts, were originally bought by a West African fraud gang using stolen credit cards and fake identities. They were then sold to a UK gang, which had 29 delivery drivers working in Wiltshire, Somerset, and Northamptonshire. These were further sold onto another gang based in London and Essex, which carried out the premium phone line fraud.