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Police have made eight arrests following a series of early morning operations targeting individuals suspected of sending out “smishing” texts. These scam messages aim to steal people’s personal and financial details by directing recipients to fake versions of trusted organisations’ websites, such as Royal Mail.
The arrests formed part of a week of action led by officers from the Dedicated Card and Payment Crime Unit (DCPCU), a specialist City of London and Metropolitan police unit funded by the banking and cards industry, in partnership with Royal Mail and the telecoms industry. Eight operations were conducted across London, Coventry, Birmingham and Colchester resulting in eight male suspects being arrested on suspicion of fraud.
The suspects arrested during the operations are believed to have been involved in sending out scam texts primarily posing as Royal Mail, which claim the recipient needs to pay an outstanding postage fee for a parcel or input their details to rearrange a delivery.
During the searches, valuable intelligence was gathered and several devices suspected of being used in smishing scams were seized. The unit also recovered numerous customers’ financial details, enabling these bank accounts to be protected. Seven of those arrested have been released under investigation, with one suspect charged and remanded into custody ahead of their court appearance. Ongoing investigations are expected to result in further arrests and charges.
Detective Chief Inspector Gary Robinson, the head of the Dedicated Card and Payment Crime Unit (DCPCU), commented:
"The success of these operations shows how through our close collaboration with Royal Mail, the financial services sector, and mobile phone networks, we are cracking down on the criminals ruthlessly targeting the public.
“Ongoing investigations are now underway and we will continue to work together to bring those committing smishing scams to justice."
Members of the public are encouraged to follow the advice of the Take Five to Stop Fraud campaign if they receive a suspicious message:
Customers can report suspected scam texts which they’ve received but not acted upon to their mobile network provider by forwarding them to 7726, which is free of charge. Doing this will help mobile providers take action, if need be, to block malicious numbers. Customers can also forward any emails they have concerns about to the Suspicious Email Reporting Service (SERS) at [email protected].