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UK Cops Take Down 13 Organized Crime Gangs

UK police have warned that organized crime gangs (OCGs) are increasingly turning their attention to online fraud, even as they registered success in taking many of them down this year.

Some 13 OCGs were dismantled in the first half of 2016, double the number of a year ago, according to the latest figures from banking group UK Finance.

This is the work of the Dedicated Card and Payment Crime Unit (DCPCU), a specialized police force funded by the UK finance industry and comprised of officers from the Met and City of London police plus UK Finance and the Home Office.

In so doing, the unit has apparently helped prevent or disrupt £6.8m in fraud in the first six months of 2019, out of an estimated total of £600m since the DCPCU was set up in 2002.

Some 39 fraudsters were convicted following investigations and £330,000 in assets seized – also double the amount from the first half of 2018.

Although the DCPCU said it is stepping up its efforts to combat cyber-fraud, by reaching out to other organizations and government, it warned of an influx of organized crime into the space.

“These figures are testament to the hard work of the DCPCU officers who are on the frontline in the fight against fraudsters. The criminals involved are becoming increasingly organized and dangerous. We are seeing gangs involved in drug trafficking and firearms offences turning to fraud, targeting victims across the UK,” said new DCPCU boss, detective chief inspector Gary Robinson.

“These criminals are exploiting new technologies to commit fraud, posting adverts on social media to try and recruit money mules. It’s particularly shameful that young people are being targeted in this way by these fraudsters. Meanwhile, vulnerable and elderly customers are also being tricked into handing over their money through callous scams.”

Just last week the FBI warned that romance scammers are increasingly tricking their victims into becoming money mules.

The DCPCU said it would be engaging more closely with social media firms to take down fraudsters’ profiles, and with telcos to combat SIM swap fraud.

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