U.K. Police Arrest 142 in Global Crackdown on ‘iSpoof’ Phone Spoofing Service

A
coordinated
law
enforcement
effort
has
dismantled
an
online
phone
number
spoofing
service
called

iSpoof

and
arrested
142
individuals
linked
to
the
operation.

The
websites,
ispoof[.]me
and
ispoof[.]cc,
allowed
the
crooks
to “impersonate
trusted
corporations
or
contacts
to
access
sensitive
information
from
victims,”
Europol

said

in
a
press
statement.

Worldwide
losses
exceeded
€115
million
($
119.8
million),
with
over
200,000
potential
victims
believed
to
have
been
directly
targeted
through
iSpoof
in
the
U.K.
alone,
the
Metropolitan
Police

noted
.

Among
the
142
people
arrested
is
the
administrator
of
the
website,
who
was
apprehended
in
the
U.K.
on
November
6,
2022.
The
website
and
its
server
were
subsequently
seized
and
taken
offline
two
days
later
by
Ukrainian
and
U.S.
agencies.

Per
the
National
Police
Corps,
the
helpdesk
fraud

allowed

registered
subscribers
on
the
online
portal
to
mask
their
phone
numbers
and
make
calls
impersonating
banks,
retail
companies,
and
government
entities.
The
service
was
hosted
on
servers
in
the
Dutch
city
of
Almere.

The
ultimate
objective
behind
the
social
engineering
scheme
was
to
trick
victims
into
revealing
sensitive
personal
or
financial
information,
or
alternatively
transferring
significant
amounts
of
money
for
financial
gain.

The
Politie
stated
that
by
placing
a
tap
on
the
website
servers,
it
was
able
to
glean
valuable
information
about
how
the
service
worked.
It
further
led
to
the
arrests
of
two
male
suspects,
aged
19
and
22,
in
Almere.

The
iSpoof
website,
the
Met
pointed
out,
was
created
in
December
2020
and
that
it
had
an
estimated
59,000
users,
adding
it
began
an
investigation
into
the
criminal
activity
in
June
2021
under
the
moniker
Operation
Elaborate.

Judicial
and
law
enforcement
authorities

from

Australia,
Canada,
France,
Germany,
Ireland,
Lithuania,
the
Netherlands,
Ukraine,
the
U.K.,
and
the
U.S.
participated
in
the
takedown.

“By
taking
away
the
tools
and
systems
that
have
enabled
fraudsters
to
cheat
innocent
people
at
scale,
this
operation
shows
how
we
are
determined
to
target
corrupt
individuals
intent
on
exploiting
often
vulnerable
people,”
London
Metropolitan
Police
Commissioner
Sir
Mark
Rowley
said.

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