iSpoof Administrator Sentenced to 13 Years in Prison
Following the dismantling of the online phone number spoofing service dubbed ‘iSpoof’ in November 2022, a UK national has been sentenced to 13 years and 4 months in prison for his role as an administrator.
Phone number spoofing lets attackers disguise their numbers and to pretend they’re actually calling from somewhere else. This allows them to perpetrate many types of crimes, including massive fraud.
“Tejay Fletcher, 35 (13.12.87), of Western Gateway, London, was sentenced at Southwark Crown Court on Thursday, 18 May,” said the Metropolitan Police. “He previously pleaded guilty to making or supplying articles for use in fraud, encouraging or assisting the commission of an offence, possessing criminal property and transferring criminal property.“
“iSpoof enabled criminals to appear as if they were calling from banks, tax offices and other official bodies as they attempted to defraud victims who lost millions,” the police also explained. “Confirmed losses to UK victims is £43 million with estimated global losses in excess of £100 million. At one stage, almost 20 people every minute of the day were being contacted by scammers hiding behind false identities using the site,” they added.
Criminals would call potential victims, pretending to be from banks such as Barclays, Santander, HSBC, Lloyds and Halifax, and warning people of supposed irregularities regarding their accounts.
The victims would end up offering precious information to the attackers, such as one-time passwords sent to their phones. While the total loss reported in the UK exceeds £48 million, the real number is much higher as this crime is vastly underreported.
In a single year, around 10 million fraudulent calls were made globally via iSpoof. When the service was finally shut down following a joint operation implicating The Metropolitan Police, City of London Police, the National Crime Agency, Europol, Eurojust, Dutch authorities and the FBI, more than 700 new users were registering each week.
The administrator made a profit of around £1.7-£1.9 million, and 169 individuals have now been arrested on suspicion of using iSpoof in the UK.