Manchester Man Charged Over £1m Student "Phishing" Scam

10 December 2011, 08:33 | Updated: 30 March 2016, 13:50

A Manchester man is one of two men charged over an email "phishing" scam that has conned students out of a million pounds.

A criminal network allegedly targeted students on government loan schemes, luring them into revealing their bank account details which were then used to withdraw amounts of between £1,000 and £5,000 at a time, Scotland Yard said.

The fraudsters allegedly sent emails inviting students to update details on their student account via a link to a bogus website that was actually run by criminals.

The Metropolitan Police's e-Crime unit was first alerted to the scam in August 2011 and worked with the Students Loan Company, the banking industry and internet service providers during their investigation.

On Thursday they seized computers and other equipment from addresses in London, Manchester and Bolton.

Damola Olatunji, 26, of Hamsterley Avenue, Manchester, and Amos Mwangi, 25, of Rochdale Way, Deptford, London, face a charge of conspiracy to defraud.

Mr Olatunji is also charged with possession of an article for use in fraud.

They are due to appear at Westminster Magistrates' Court later.

Five other people arrested in the investigation have been bailed until March pending further inquiries.

The five bailed are a 25-year-old woman arrested in Manchester, a 49-year-old woman and a 31-year-old man arrested in Stratford, north-east London, and two men, aged 38 and 35, arrested in Bolton, Greater Manchester.

They were all arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to defraud and Computer Misuse Act and money laundering offences.

Detective Inspector Mark Raymond from the e-crime unit said after the arrests: "A great deal of personal information was compromised and cleverly exploited for substantial profits. We have today disrupted a suspected organised group of cyber criminals and prevented further loss to individuals and institutions in the UK.