We are currently experiencing network problems with the desktop version of Police Oracle. We hope to have these resolved as soon as possible.

Hacker jailed after payment crime unit probe

A computer hacker who sold online fraud advice has been jailed.

A man who supplied online fraudsters with material to scam COVID-19 grants has been jailed after pleading guilty to multiple offences.

Thomas Proudfoot, 21, of Leatherhead, Surrey, admitted computer misuse, money laundering and several counts of fraud following an investigation by the City of London’s Dedicated Card and Payment Crime Unit (DCPCU).

He admitted sending out scam messages related to COVID-19, hacking a private business website and providing other individuals with software to help them commit fraud offences.

The DCPCU, a specialist unit funded by the banking and finance industry, raided his home on 4 February 2021 and a search recovered several digital devices.

Analysis of a laptop revealed he had been selling advice to others on how to complete short message fraud on mobile phones (smishing) and phishing fraud which involves sending fake emails designed to illicit payments or bank details.

The computer also held copies of fake web pages relating to COVID-19 and other organisations.

Forensic investigators working with mobile phone firms were able to establish he had sent out fake text messages promising COVID-19 grants and directing the recipients to a fake website asking for personal and financial details.

The court was also told that while he had been on bail awaiting sentencing he had committed further offences by building software and other online material for fraudsters.

He was sentenced to four years and eight months in prison at Southwark Crown Court.

In addition, he received a Criminal Behaviour Order to prevent further fraud offences.

Detective Sergeant Ben Hobbs at the DCPCU said: “By working closely with mobile phone companies and the banking and finance industry, we were able to identify Proudfoot and bring this criminal to justice.

“This sentencing is a warning to those who believe they can benefit financially from fraud that they will be caught and punished. The DCPCU will continue to clamp down on the criminal gangs seeking to use the pandemic to defraud people.”

The unit has stepped up activity; 67 suspected criminals and 24 organised criminal gangs were disrupted in the first half of last year alone. 

But the scale of offending shows the team has an uphill battle as £753.9m was lost to fraud over the same period.

Katy Worobec, Managing Director of Economic Crime at UK Finance, said: “Fraud has a devastating emotional impact on victims and the money stolen goes on to fund serious organised crime, including terrorism, human trafficking and drugs smuggling.

"The DCPCU is central to the industry’s efforts to protect customers from fraud, disrupting the criminal gangs responsible and providing a strong deterrent to potential fraudsters."

Leave a Comment
In Other News
Consumers group calls for return of Online Safety Bill
Former Commando takes up police Specialist Operations role
Hertfordshire’s victims of fraud hub extended after pilot
City of London add two commanders to senior management team
New specialist financial crime agency needed, say MPs
Pilot scheme between force and bank uses proceeds of crime to fight fraud
More News