The newly launched National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB) has made its first arrests, cracking down on a fake ticketing scam which is estimated to have defrauded users of at least £40,000.
Three men and one woman were arrested at addresses in London and Waltham Abbey on suspicion of fraud by false representation, after detectives investigated a gang that set up worldwidetickets.com and gigsport.com, according to the NFIB.
The NFIB received complaints from over 250 victims who are estimated to have lost a total of £40,000 on non-existent tickets, including one woman who reportedly flew from South Africa to the UK having paid £1,800 for three Wimbledon Centre Court tickets.
Detective Chief Superintendent Steve Head, head of economic crime at the City of London Police, said that the NFIB, which was set up in June, is hoping to " change the rules of engagement" in the fight against fraud.
"Without the Bureau many more people could have fallen victim to a criminal gang who we believe to have already conned hundreds of people into paying large sums of money for non-existent tickets," he said.
"I now look forward to police forces across the country using NFIB intelligence to track down the fraudsters who are destroying lives, damaging businesses and costing the UK economy billions of pounds."
The NFIB called on organisations to share fraud data, something companies have traditionally been reluctant to do.
"A case like this shows the importance of the public reporting fraud and how this contributes to an effective enforcement response," said National Fraud Authority chief executive Bernard Herdan.
"We urge anyone who has lost money to any type of fraud to contact Action Fraud so the police can bring more criminals to justice."
However, the NFIB will have its work cut out, with new online scams discovered everyday.
Security vendor Symantec warned of a new phishing scam today using the lure of 'free tickets' to a 2010/11 Barclays Premier League game.
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