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A fraudster who funded luxury holidays by conning people out of their bank details in “an industrial scale” text message scam has been jailed.
Emanuel Poku, 24, of Enfield, was pictured enjoying a helicopter ride in Mexico, and posed next to a luxury car by the Eiffel Tower in Paris.
When arrested, Poku had 500,000 phone numbers and 35,000 bank card numbers, linked to more than £2 million of reported losses, on laptops and mobiles.
He used dozens of Sim cards to trick customers into giving away financial and personal details.
Thousands of “smishing” text messages imitating banks and mobile phone companies were sent containing links to fake websites. The details given by unsuspecting victims were then used to steal money from people’s accounts.
Poku, who was found with more than £12,000 in cash in his home, went on a number of luxury holidays abroad funded through the proceeds of his crimes. City of London Police estimated more than £5.8 million worth of fraud was disrupted or prevented as a result of its investigation.
At Inner London crown court Poku admitted £50,000 of fraud between January and April this year, pleading guilty to conspiracy to defraud, possession of an article used in fraud and possession of a false passport. He was jailed for two years and nine months.
Detective Sergeant Ben Hobbs said: “Emanuel Poku was committing fraud on an industrial scale, funding luxury holidays around the world by stealing money from unsuspecting victims. His devices had been used to send ‘smishing’ text messages to thousands of customers, trying to trick them into giving away their details before using Sim swaps to complete fraudulent transactions.”
He added: “We would urge people to always be on the lookout for this kind of scam. Never automatically click on a link in an unexpected text message or email, as it could be a fraudster trying to harvest your personal and bank details.”