Significant breakthrough has been achieved in combating online fraud in the UK

In a collaborative effort involving the Metropolitan Police, City of London Police, and the UK National Crime Agency, a significant breakthrough has been achieved in combating online fraud. As part of an international operation, two dozen individuals in the UK have been apprehended, and LabHost, a technology service implicated in extensive phishing scams, has been dismantled.

LabHost served as a platform enabling large-scale phishing schemes, providing individuals lacking technical expertise with the means to perpetrate fraudulent activities targeting unsuspecting victims through deceptive text messages and counterfeit websites.

The coordinated crackdown, which engaged law enforcement agencies across 17 countries, resulted in the arrest of 37 individuals, with 24 apprehensions made in the UK, including notable incidents at Luton and Manchester airports.


This illicit operation led to the compromise of substantial personal data, including 480,000 card numbers and 64,000 PIN codes, collectively referred to as “fullz data” within criminal circles. Most victims fell within the age bracket of 25 to 44 years, a demographic frequently engaged in online activities.

While the exact extent of financial losses remains undetermined, estimates indicate that LabHost accrued nearly £1 million ($1.25 million) in profits from its fraudulent endeavors.

Partnerships played a pivotal role in the investigative efforts, with the Metropolitan Police collaborating with organizations such as Microsoft, Chainalysis, Intel 471, The Shadowserver Foundation, and Trend Micro to dismantle the platform.

Dame Lynne Owens, Deputy Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, underscored the prevalence of fraud, highlighting that individuals are more likely to fall victim to fraud than any other form of crime. She emphasized the collaborative global effort to dismantle international fraud networks and hold perpetrators accountable.

Adrian Searle, Director of the National Economic Crime Centre, noted the technological sophistication of contemporary crime, with LabHost serving as a prime example of how technology facilitates large-scale fraudulent activities.

Efforts are underway to notify approximately 25,000 identified UK victims, advising them on potential risks associated with fraudulent online payment services and shopping sites. They will receive guidance on accessing support and assistance through a dedicated Met Police website.

The investigation, initiated in June 2022 following critical intelligence provided by the Cyber Defence Alliance, demonstrates law enforcement’s commitment to combatting cybercrime and safeguarding individuals from online fraud.

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Staff Report

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