Couple sentenced to 5 years in prison for hacking 700 banking and mobile phone accounts

Thanks to an investigation by the UK Cybercrime Unit, in collaboration with ethical hacking experts, a couple was arrested and sentenced to five years in prison, in addition to twelve months and 170 hours of unpaid community work, after have been found guilty of electronic fraud.

Oluwaseun Ajayi and Inga Irbe, based in Dagenham, London, were convicted on charges of conspiracy to commit fraud for misrepresentation and electronic fraud.

In the conviction, the court states that both suspects managed to compromise around 700 bank accounts and mobile phone users to order better versions of the victims’ devices online. The authorities say the amount of the fraud amounts to more than 12 thousand pounds. According to ethical hacking experts, the suspects would also have applied for bank loans and credit cards in the victims’ name.

During a raid in November 2016, British agents arrested the two suspects at their home, where multiple mobile phones, tablets, laptops, a desktop computer and false documentation were seized.  

Gary Myers, in charge of the Cybercrime Unit of the London Police, said: “Irbe and Ajayi spent months of planning to develop this fraud, deceiving dozens of users. However, the defendants were unable to deceive justice, so they will be prosecuted.”

In his statement, the detective added: “Cyber threats increase in complexity and methods, which sometimes makes our job difficult. That’s why we turn to the support of independent ethical hacking experts, who provide another approach during criminal investigations.”

According to the International Institute of Cyber Security (IICS), this variant of fraud, known as SIM swap, is one of the most popular attacks, as fraudsters should only know a few data from the victims to compromise their phone number and, using this information, reach many other resources, mainly targeting mobile banking apps and cryptocurrency online wallets.

Due to the ease with which these campaigns are deployed, experts consider it the responsibility of mobile operators to set better padlocks to protect their users’ information, as well as train their staff identification of possible fraud attempts.