A phone number spoofing site has been brought down in the UK’s biggest ever fraud sting.

The site has been used by criminals to scam thousands of victims out of millions of pounds.

British law enforcement members were part of a global operation to bring down ispoof.cc, a website that police describe as an online fraud shop.

They worked with Dutch law enforcement who tapped the website’s servers in the Netherlands to secretly listen to phone calls.

Technology bought from the site was used by fraudsters and at one point, as many as 20 people were targeted every minute by callers who used it.

Hereford Times: Internet users who go to ispoof.cc now see a notice that it has been seized by law enforcementInternet users who go to ispoof.cc now see a notice that it has been seized by law enforcement (Image: PA)

How did criminals use ispoof to scam people?

Criminals, who found out about the site from adverts posted on channels on encrypted messaging app Telegram, used it to buy technology that gave them the chance to mask their phone number.

They used this technology to trick victims into thinking that the phone number calling them was their bank.

After persuading the victims to give them personal details, the fraudsters would steal money.

One victim was scammed and lost £3 million and the average loss among the 4,785 people who have reported being targeted to Action Fraud is £10,000.

Despite nearly 5,000 reports being logged, it’s thought that there are many more potential victims.

Of 10 million fraudulent calls made, 35% were in the UK while 40% were in the United States with the rest being spread across multiple countries.

Around 70,000 UK phone numbers that were contacted by criminals that used the site will receive an alert from the Metropolitan Police via text message on Thursday and Friday and they’ll be asked to contact the force.

Hereford Times: Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Mark Rowley said the number of potential UK victims is ‘extraordinary’Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Mark Rowley said the number of potential UK victims is ‘extraordinary’ (Image: Carl de Souza/PA)

Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Mark Rowley acknowledged it is “slightly bizarre” that potential fraud victims would be contacted via text about the crime but he encouraged people, if contacted, to go through the official police website.

He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “There is something sort of slightly bizarre about this, isn’t there, which is why we’re encouraging people to actually go on to the Met Police website and they’ll find the shortcuts and links there to report this.

“So don’t respond to any texts with sort of dodgy shortcuts and things. Come through official websites is the best way of doing this.

“But we want to hear from you because the people we message in the next 24 hours have been victims of fraud or attempted fraud and we can stack all these offences against the people we’ve been arresting.”

120 arrests have been made so far with 103 being in London and 17 outside the capital.


These arrests include the alleged site administrator Teejay Fletcher, 35.

Fletcher was arrested in east London earlier this month and is facing criminal charges.

Police said Fletcher, an alleged member of an organised crime group, was living a “lavish” lifestyle.

Sir Mark said the number of potential UK victims is “extraordinary”, adding: “What we are doing here is trying to industrialise our response to the organised criminals’ industrialisation of the problem.”

What is ispoof?

Ispoof was created in December 2020 and had 59,000 users at its peak.

It allowed users to pay for the criminal software using Bitcoin, with charges ranging from £150 to £5,000 per month.

The site is said to have made more than £3 million profit.

In June 2021, UK police began investigating the site, opting for ispoof as the largest criminal site that was based in the country.

Detective Superintendent Helen Rance, who leads on cyber crime for the Met, said: “By taking down ispoof we have prevented further offences and stopped fraudsters targeting future victims.

“Our message to criminals who have used this website is we have your details and are working hard to locate you, regardless of where you are.”