A gang of phone scammers who stole thousands of pounds from elderly and vulnerable people by pretending to be police officers and bank officials were jailed for a total of more than 17 years.
On Monday (February 2) a court heard they had used special apps downloaded onto a mobile phone to dupe their victims.
During lengthy telephone calls they would trick ‘targets’ into entering PIN numbers for their bank and credit cards into their own phones, even telling them: “Don’t worry, we won’t know the number you’re putting in.”
But the gang were listening in on a mobile phone that contained two apps which could convert the noise the beeps made when numbers were typed into a victim’s phone, back into the relevant numbers that would then be displayed.
One app that had been obtained off the internet even came with its own video explaining how it worked.
The court heard that two of the victims fell prey to the gang in March of last year in Hastings.
An 80-year-old Hastings woman and her husband lost £2,330, while another woman lost £1,270.
Passing sentence on the five men at St Albans Crown Court, Judge Stephen Warner told the five gang-members: “These were mean and cynical offences deliberately planned to take advantage of the vulnerable and done to obtain financial gain.
“Those who commit these offences can expect substantial terms of imprisonment.”
He told Mohammed Miah, 22, Mohammed Hussain, 23, Motahir Rahman, 24, Muhammad Ahmed, 23, and Dedar Ali, 21, that they each had their roles within the conspiracy and each had played an ‘integral’ part.
He went on: “There was significant planning in this case - a considerable degree of planning and organisation to achieve what was a professional crime.”
Judge Warner said the conspiracy had been sophisticated, with members of the gang knowing how to use technology, the telephone system, as well as the apps. The judge said that while he accepted the gang hadn’t set out to target vulnerable and elderly people, it had been inevitable that it would be those people likely to be taken in and conned.
Miah, of Coopers Lane, Camden, in London, who had supplied the hired cars used by the gang, was jailed for three years and seven months.
Ahmed, of Hemingway Close, Camden, who had impersonated police officers down the phone, was jailed for three years and seven months. Rahman, of Kiln Place, Camden, who was found with cards when he was arrested, was jailed for three years and four months.
Hussain, of Malden Crescent, Camden, who had collected cards from people, was jailed for three years and nine months and Ali, of Cressfield Close, Camden, who had got involved in the conspiracy to pay off £700 debt was jailed for three years and four months.