A gang of fraudsters have been locked up after stealing £360,000 from victims across the country, including the north-east.
The ringleader, Mark Miller, 28, was sentenced to 28 months in prison for his part in the sophisticated scheme.
Miller, along with 12 others, tricked people into giving up their bank details over the phone and then transferred money into other bank accounts under the group’s control.
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An investigation led by the police’s economic crime and financial investigation unit discovered the fraud and money laundering scheme which duped victims out of £359,473.
Aberdeenshire was among the areas where victims were targeted by the criminals, who were based in Clydebank, Drumchapel and Yoker.
The scheme was a large scale mule and vishing fraud that operated between December 2013 and April 2014.
The criminals recruited people – known as mules – to use their own bank account as the transfer account to hold the victim’s money and subsequently provide the criminal group access to the funds.
Vishing is a fraud tactic where people are tricked into revealing financial or personal information over the phone.
The perpetrators claimed to be a senior bank employee and informed their target they had been targeted by fraudsters and told them to contact the number on the back of their debit card.
However the criminal left the line open so when the victims called back, it automatically went through to the same caller.
A total of 15 people were originally charged with involvement in the scheme and on Thursday, Robert Coleman was the final person to be sentenced.
Detective Inspector Steven Trim, of the organised crime and counter terrorism unit, said: “We are particularly pleased about securing convictions for senior members of the crime group. I would also like to acknowledge and thank the police service of Northern Ireland who did a lot of work progressing our inquiries with victims based there.
“This type of crime can have a huge impact on victims and it can cause stress and embarrassment as well as the obvious monetary loss.
“Vulnerable people are often targeted to be part of the scheme and this can seem appealing, particularly due to the financial incentive offered.
“Banks will not cold call you and ask for personal or account information. If you do receive a phone call from someone claiming to be from your bank, call them back from a different phone. This should stop them from holding an open line on your phone.”
Anyone with any information should contact police on 101.