Camden man, 20, pleads guilty to coronavirus texts scam by tricking vulnerable into handing over bank details
PUBLISHED: 10:14 19 May 2020 | UPDATED: 10:26 19 May 2020
Dedicated Card and Payment Crime Unit
A Camden man has admitted exploiting the coronavirus crisis by sending hoax texts to defraud vulnerable people during the pandemic.
Mohammed Khan, 20, from King’s Cross, sent ‘smishing’ texts which preyed on people’s concerns around Covid-19 to trick them into providing bank account details.
Khan imitated messages from the UK government, tax authorities and mobile phone operators where he would use fake websites and offer spoof refunds to harvest victims’ personal information.
On May 15 at Westminster Magistrates Court, the 20-year-old pleaded guilty to fraud by false representation and possession of articles for use in fraud.
The day before, he was arrested at his home in St Marys Flats, Doric Way, following an investigation by the Dedicated Card and Payment Crime Unit (DCPCU), a partnership between Financial Fraud Action UK, the City of London Police, the Met and the Home Office.
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Det Ch Insp. Gary Robinson, DCPCU head of unit, said: “Criminals are experts at impersonating trusted organisations like the government or HMRC and will try to play on people’s concerns about their finances at this difficult time.
“It’s therefore crucial to always follow the advice of the Take Five to Stop Fraud campaign and not to click on links in any messages that ask for your personal or financial details in case it’s a scam.”
Commander Karen Baxter, City of London Police, said: “Criminals are seeking to profit on people’s anxiety during the pandemic, by using a national crisis to defraud their victims.
“We’re doing what we can to bring these people before the courts or to disrupt their activity to stop them preying on the public.
“We need the public to treat any unexpected text, email or phone call with suspicion, not respond or click on any links and always double check whether it’s legitimate or not.”
Khan has been remanded in custody and will appear at Inner London Crown Court for sentence.
For more information on the Take Five to Stop Fraud campaign, click here.
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