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Police arrest fraudster over complex mobile phone scam targeting students

21st August 2014

A man from Surrey has been arrested by The Metropolitan Police over a scam designed to dupe unsuspecting students out of hundreds of pounds.

The 22-year-old male was arrested, alongside 22 others previously connected with the scam.

The arrest is part of the Met’s, National Mobile Phone Crime Unit (NMPCU) ongoing investigation into the mobile phone fraud targeting students at universities across the UK.

Cash incentives

University students in Surrey are being warned to remain vigilant after a number of victims fell for the scam, running up large telephone debts in the process.

Fraudsters have been offering students cash incentives to sign up for personal mobile phone contracts, which are then being used for the benefit of a private company.

Invariably, students subsequently receive a high value smart phone on a lengthy contract, but then send the phone and SIM card to the private company for a small, often monthly, cash incentive.

It is believed these students may have revealed sensitive details about their bank accounts, credit or debit cards and personal circumstances to the scammers, making them susceptible to identity fraud

The NMPCU has written to a number of UK universities, asking them to highlight the issue to students and urging them to stay vigilant.

Major UK mobile phone networks and other industry partners have been made aware of the investigation to best support anyone affected.

Large-scale, complex investigation

Detective Inspector Louise Shea of the NMPCU, who is leading the operation, said the NMPCU was working closely with mobile phone networks and universities as part of a "large-scale and complex" investigation.

"We understand this matter will be of considerable concern to the students and family members affected as they will be accruing significant debts," she said. "We are committed to ensuring that those engaged in fraudulent activity do not escape justice. We urge any students affected by this to come forward to assist the investigation."

For advice and safety visit the Out of Your Hands website which  teaches young people the responsible way to own, operate and safeguard a mobile phone. 

Read more on the Met Police website.

Please note: Action Fraud is not responsible for the content on external websites.

If you are a victim please call Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or use our online tool to report the fraud and receive a police crime reference number.