Information on the Metropolitan Police’s Operation Elaborate: the UK’s largest ever proactive fraud operation

25 November 2022

3 min read

From Thursday 24 November 2022, the Metropolitan Police have announced the deployment of a large-scale fraud operation, which resulted in significant arrests linked to an international spoofing website that targeted 200,000 people in the UK alone. 

‘Spoofing’ is when criminals try to steal personal information by making it look like they’re contacting you from a trusted organisation, such as a bank or building society.

Operation Elaborate focused on dismantling the website in a world-wide operation, which began in June 2021.
The website was created in December 2020 and had 51,000 user accounts. So far around 85 people have been arrested.

From July 2021 to August 2022 around 10 million fraudulent calls were made globally via iSpoof; with around 3.5 million of those calls made in the UK.

The Metropolitan Police have revealed more than 70,000 UK mobile numbers that have been contacted via iSpoof, which have been linked to one of the identified suspects.  

Following the announcement of Operation Elaborate, the Metropolitan Police will be reaching out to the 70,000 numbers contacted by iSpoof by text message, on the 24 and 25 November. The text message from Metropolitan Police will urge the people contacted by iSpoof to visit the Metropolitan Police website for further information, and ask them to report any other suspected fraudulent activity to them online.

Please note: this text message will not include any links for you to click on, nor will it include a telephone number for you to ring.

If you have received the text message mentioned above from the Metropolitan Police, you can find more information on the Operation Elaborate website: Operation Elaborate | Metropolitan Police

Please stay vigilant. Unfortunately, news of the approach from the Metropolitan Police and the details of Operation Elaborate will also prompt opportunistic criminals to contact consumers and take advantage of this situation. They may do this by calling you pretending to be the Police, Action Fraud, or the Bank, and ask you to divulge banking security details. They may also try to persuade you to call fake phone numbers or visit counterfeit websites, where they can attempt to steal personal information and bank log in information. If you’re contacted in this way— stop. It’s a scam.

Think about these key tips to protect you from falling victim to fraud:

  • Be aware of unexpected phone calls. Your bank or the Police will never ask you to assist with an investigation. In this case, they will only ask that if you suspect fraudulent activity, you report this to Action Fraud in the usual way.
  • Don’t rely on the caller ID display on your phone to check if a caller is genuine. Fraudsters can manipulate this information.
  • Never share your bank account or security information in full.
  • Never share the PIN for your card with anyone.
  • Never tell anyone your Online Banking one-time passcodes that we send to you in a text or an email. Not even to us.
  • Your bank or the Police will never ask you to move your money out of your account to keep it safe or ask you to visit a branch and take out cash to hand over to them.

For more advice and information please read our recent article:  Impersonation Scams | Common Fraud Threats | The Co-operative Bank

If you think you may have been a victim of the scam, or any other type of fraud please contact us.

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