Camden coronavirus scammer who posed as government jailed for exploiting pandemic to defraud victims
PUBLISHED: 13:45 17 July 2020 | UPDATED: 13:58 17 July 2020
Dedicated Card and Payment Crime Unit
A “manipulative” Camden fraudster was today jailed for exploiting the coronavirus pandemic to defraud vulnerable victims of thousands of pounds.
Mohammed Khan, 20, from King’s Cross, sent 1,200 texts in two days where he posed as the government responding to the Covid-19 crisis by offering spoof refunds to trick people into handing over their bank details.
One text read: “UKGOV: You are eligible for a Tax Refund as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Please fill out the following form so that we can process your refund.”
Khan, of St Marys Flats, Doric Way, was ordered to spend 30 weeks behind bars for fraud and the possession of articles for use in the course of fraud between March 22 and May 9.
Having pleaded guilty in May, Khan was sentenced on Friday (July 17) at Inner London Crown Court.
Patricia Deighan, crown advocate for the Crown Prosecution Service, said: “This was a manipulative and pre-meditated fraud that affected at least 49 victims who lost money, and caused significant disruption to the lives of many others who had to change their banking details.
“Mohammed Khan showed complete disregard for his victims and took advantage of the COVID-19 pandemic right from the very beginning of the lockdown period.”
Khan obtained 191 sets of personal details, 49 of which he used to defraud. He swindled £10,000 from his victims.
Recipients were told to enter information including their name, address, card security number, mother’s maiden name and passwords.
The messages contained links to fraudulent websites which looked identical to those of public authorities.
Khan texted himself nine times to make sure his hoax was convincing.
He also posed as mobile phone company Three UK, sending messages that read: “Due to the current pandemic we are issuing a refund for your last bill.
“Please verify your details so we can process your refund.”
When Khan was arrested at his King’s Cross home, he claimed to have lost his phone. Police then rang his number and found it on the balcony.
Ms Deighan added: “I hope this sentence serves as a reminder that the CPS will work with criminal justice partners to root out and prosecute fraudsters at every opportunity.”
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