Zim internet fraudster cons man for £10 000
Couple Kelvin Ncube and Lisa Eltringham conned internet banking users, persuading them, via fake e-mails, to enter their personal details into an apparently legitimate Lloyds TSB site, the Newcastle Evening Chronicle reported.
They then used account and PIN numbers entered on the site to steal money online.
The pair, of Thornhill Gardens, Sunderland, admitted money laundering and were sentenced at Newcastle Crown Court.
The court heard how the scam, known as "phishing", was uncovered when a Lloyds TSB customer fell into the trap and entered his details onto one of the bogus sites.
He lost £9,900 in the scam.
Prosecutor Paul Currer told the court how the cash was transferred online into the account of Lisa Eltringham, 35, who was with the same bank.
Her boyfriend Kelvin Ncube, 27, with others, then used her bank cards to withdraw cash and order foreign currency.
Prosecutors accepted the couple were bit-part players in a highly sophisticated scam carried out by others, some of whom are abroad.
Judge John Milford said Eltringham, who had not been warned her account was being used for money laundering until it was too late for her to stop it, was roped into the set-up by Ncube.
Ncube, was sentenced to six months imprisonment suspended for two years with a 12-month supervision order and 100 hours unpaid work. Eltringham, was given a two-year conditional discharge.
Judge Milford said: "You played minor roles in a very sophisticated fraud which arose when those who are not before the court set up a fake internet site for Lloyds TSB bank.
"In error, and exactly how it was intended, two customers of Lloyds who had an internet account entered this site and in so doing provided to the site all their security details."
Today, police and finance experts warned internet users to be on their guard against fraud.
DC Jerry Hewitt, from Sunderland CID, who led the investigation, said: "Be careful when you're online not to give out credit card details or personal information if you're unsure.
"If somebody sends you an e-mail asking to put money into your account, do not accept. If something seems too good to be true, it is, and you could end up with a criminal conviction for money laundering."
He said the investigation to trace the people responsible for creating the website was still ongoing.
DI Phil Butler, from the North East Fraud Forum, said: "I think this sends out a timely warning for members of the public to be very suspicious of any unsolicited emails they receive from so-called financial institutions. It's so easy now for people to fabricate and clone the websites of banks."
A spokesman for Lloyds TSB said: "These are known as phishing scams. It's an industry-wide problem.
"It's very important to remember that Lloyds TSB would never ask you, via an e-mail, to log on to internet banking and enter your details. If anyone does receive such an e-mail they should delete it immediately.
"We take security
very seriously and work closely with the authorities to close these
sites as soon as possible."
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