Mobile Phone Fraudsters Busted in France

By Cindy Waxer September 27, 2010

And you think your monthly cell phone bills are high. A recently dismantled cybercrime network was costing mobile operators about 500,000 euros ($667,200) a month to several millions in profit.

French authorities have busted up the crime ring and arrested nine people suspected of being involved in the illegal sale of codes used to unlock mobile phones. Reuters is reporting that authorities opened an investigation in 2009 into the alleged fraud in response to a complaint from France's second-biggest mobile operator, SFR, which is jointly owned by Vivendi and Vodafone.

Here’s how they did it: the alleged perps bought codes from employees of manufacturers and mobile phone shops for about three euros each, and resold them online for about 30 euros each. The scam has been running for five years. And Reuters states that a brother and sister in their thirties, arrested in the northwestern city of Rennes where they operate a mobilephone shop, are suspected to be the kingpins of the operation.

"They will face charges including theft and handling stolen goods in an organized manner, interfering with automated data processing, embezzlement, receiving stolen property and criminal conspiracy," said police spokesman Philippe Lajeunesse.

Lajeunesse said the six others would be brought before the courts and more arrests should be expected.

The tally of the damage is remarkable: at least 100 phone codes stolen each day, resulting in an estimated 30,000 per month. Codes were resold on a website that had 100,000 clients. Monthly damages ranged from 500,000 euros into the millions.

Police said many who sought the codes were people wanting to switch operators during the first six months of their contract, while others were scammers selling particular codes to feed the market for stolen phones in France and abroad.




Edited by Erin Harrison

TechZone360 Contributing Editor

SHARE THIS ARTICLE
Related Articles

Consumer Privacy in the Digital Era: Three Trends to Watch

By: Special Guest    1/18/2018

Digital advertising has exploded in recent years, with the latest eMarketer data forecasting $83 billion in revenue this year and continued growth on …

Read More

CES 2018: Terabit Fiber - Closer Than We Think

By: Doug Mohney    1/17/2018

One of the biggest challenges for 5G and last mile 10 Gig deployments is not raw data speeds, but middle mile and core networks. The wireless industry…

Read More

10 Benefits of Drone-Based Asset Inspections

By: Frank Segarra    1/15/2018

Although a new and emerging technology, (which is still evolving), in early 2018, most companies are not aware of the possible benefits they can achie…

Read More

VR Could Change Entertainment Forever

By: Special Guest    1/11/2018

VR could change everything from how we play video games to how we interact with our friends and family. VR has the power to change how we consume all …

Read More

Making Connections - The Value of Data Correlation

By: Special Guest    1/5/2018

The app economy is upon us, and businesses of all stripes are moving to address it. In this age of digital transformation, businesses rely on applicat…

Read More