Criminals were able to use software from the iSpoof scam service to hide their own telephone number and pose as an official body, such as a bank or insurance company.
That way, the scammers could extort people’s data and ultimately their money. Scammers paid for the service with bitcoins and thought they could remain anonymous.
Hundreds of thousands of victims
It is estimated that around 200,000 people have been scammed with the help of iSpoof. Tens of millions of euros have been stolen from people.
Of the 10 million calls made using iSpoof, 40 percent were in the US and 35 percent in the UK. The rest of the calls were made in some other European countries and Australia.
The authorities managed to penetrate online at iSpoof, which had 59,000 users at its peak. The service had been in the air since December 2020 and more than half a year later, the police in London started an investigation. The Netherlands, the United States and Ukraine helped with this.
The Dutch police eavesdropped on the service for three months. In this way, agents could hear what the criminals were saying during often intense conversations with potential victims. Two men aged 19 and 22 were arrested this week in Almere in connection with the investigation, the police reported to NOS and NRC. It is unclear what exactly they are suspected of.
A Dutch detective tells NRC that three months of listening in was enough. The police then wanted the scam to stop quickly. “It’s quite intense when you hear how much suffering people are inflicted,” says the detective about listening to the conversations.
“As far as I’m concerned, we’re going all the way. We now have an insight into such a server, which is a great opportunity for us to roll them all up,” the detective continues.
The prime suspect is Teejai Fletcher, allegedly the mastermind behind iSpoof. According to the police, he would have a lavish lifestyle and was arrested in London earlier this month.
Anonymity ‘false promise’
As of today, the police will distribute an advertisement via Telegram, among others, to warn scammers: services such as these claim to guarantee anonymity, but do not always do so.