At the peak of its illicit activities, iSpoof enabled scammers to contact nearly 20 individuals every minute, employing false identities to deceive their targets.
In a landmark case, Tejay Fletcher, the mastermind behind the notorious fraud website iSpoof, has been sentenced to 13 years and 4 months in prison. The 35-year-old, residing in Western Gateway, London, was handed his sentence at Southwark Crown Court on May 18th.
Fletcher had previously pleaded guilty to manufacturing or providing fraudulent materials, aiding and abetting criminal offences, possessing criminal assets, and transferring illicit funds.
Working in collaboration with the Cyber and Economic Crime Units of the Metropolitan Police, City of London Police, the National Crime Agency, Europol, Eurojust, Dutch authorities, and the FBI, the operation succeeded in dismantling iSpoof in November 2022, apprehending its users, and ensuring the website’s operator faced justice.
iSpoof operated as a platform for criminals to impersonate representatives from banks, tax offices, and other official institutions to defraud unsuspecting victims of millions of pounds. It is estimated that UK victims alone suffered losses totalling £43 million, with global losses exceeding £100 million.
At the peak of its illicit activities, iSpoof enabled scammers to contact nearly 20 individuals every minute, employing false identities to deceive their targets. The network’s takedown, however, has provided some relief to the victims and dealt a significant blow to the world of cyber-enabled fraud.
Paul Foster, Deputy Director of the National Crime Agency and Head of the National Cyber Crime Unit, emphasized the importance of targeting online platforms that facilitate criminal activities. Foster stated, “We will continue to target criminal infrastructure and pursue the administrators and users. The protection of victims and their data online is paramount.”
The modus operandi of iSpoof involved users paying for its services to impersonate representatives from prominent banks such as Barclays, Santander, HSBC, Lloyds, and Halifax.
By posing as concerned officials, fraudsters coerced unsuspecting individuals into divulging sensitive information, including one-time passcodes, ultimately allowing them to siphon money from the victims’ accounts.
The reported losses suffered by iSpoof’s victims in the UK alone amount to £48 million, with an average loss estimated at £10,000. However, due to underreporting, the actual figures are believed to be much higher.
Over the course of 12 months leading up to August 2022, iSpoof facilitated approximately 10 million fraudulent calls globally, with 3.5 million originating in the UK.
Of these calls, 350,000 lasted longer than one minute, affecting 200,000 individuals. As a result of public appeals, an additional 340 victims have come forward to aid the investigation, indicating the widespread impact of iSpoof’s operations.
Prior to its shutdown in November 2022, iSpoof experienced rapid growth, with 700 new users registering on the site each week. It generated an average weekly income of £80,000, accumulating 59,000 registered users.
Fletcher also utilized the encrypted messaging platform Telegram to market iSpoof through a channel called The iSpoof Club. He leveraged this channel to update users, promote website enhancements, and expand the network.