Police charge 11 over online banking fraud

LONDON Thu Sep 30, 2010 1:58am BST

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LONDON (Reuters) - Police said on Wednesday they had charged 11 people suspected of involvement in an online fraud that hit thousands of customers of some of the world's biggest banks.

The 11 had been charged with conspiracy to defraud and money-laundering, police said in a statement.

Earlier on Wednesday, police said 6 million pounds was stolen from a number of unnamed major world banks in one three-month period. The final figure is expected to be much larger as the investigation continues.

Detectives said a criminal gang was suspected of infecting thousands of computers in Britain with software that allowed them to access people's Internet banking log-in details.

"We believe we have disrupted a highly organised criminal network which has used sophisticated methods to siphon large amounts of cash from many innocent people's accounts," said Detective Chief Inspector Terry Wilson.

The gang was believed to have used a Trojan, a type of computer virus, to capture people's personal details which they then used to transfer money from their accounts, he said.

Police arrested 15 men and four women in coordinated early morning raids across London on Tuesday. They were held under the Computer Misuse Act, Proceeds of Crime Act and the Fraud Act. Two of them were also held on suspicion of possessing a firearm.

Police warned Internet users to check their online security and said they should take extra steps to avoid a commonly used Trojan known as Zeus.

(Reporting by Peter Griffiths; Editing by Steve Addison)

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