Thomas Proudfoot 21, of Leatherhead in Surrey pleaded guilty to computer misuse, money laundering and several counts of fraud following an investigation by the Dedicated Card and Payment Crime Unit (DCPCU), a specialist police unit funded by the banking and finance industry.
He was sentenced to 4 years and 8 months in prison and also received a Criminal Behaviour Order to prevent further fraud offences.
Proudfoot had been conducting scams based around Covid business grants.
He would send out scam text messages that offered victims Covid-19 grants and asked them to click a link to a fake website.
The website asked for the victim’s personal and financial details which he could then use to steal from them.
Proudfoot also designed software which he sold as a service to other fraudsters, the court heard.
He also admitted to hacking a private business website and providing other individuals with software to help them commit fraud offences.
The Police found that he was selling methods to complete smishing and phishing fraud, including possessing copies of fake web pages relating to Covid-19 and other organisations.
Detective Sergeant Ben Hobbs at the DCPCU, said: “This sentencing is a warning to those who believe they can benefit financially from fraud that they will be caught and punished. The DCPCU will continue to clamp down on the criminal gangs seeking to use the pandemic to defraud people.
Good riddance, at least for a while, to a thief targeting vulnerable people during the pandemic.
If you have any experiences with these scams do let me know, by email.