North East Regional Special Operations Unit

OP THISTLE: COMPUTER FRAUD

News / August 07

A South Shields man involved in a computer scam has been ordered to pay back over £15,000.

Baljinder SINGH was convicted in February 2019 of being involved with a gang based in India, which took money from victims throughout the UK. The fraudsters falsely represented that the computers of potential customers were infected with a virus. They were able to freeze the computers and display unsolicited pop-up messages encouraging the victims to seek help from a company called Divine Technical Services Ltd. Many of those scammed allowed the criminals to have remote access to their files, and subsequently bank details. As a result, they subsequently found that unauthorised payments had been taken from them.

Officers from the Regional Reactive Investigation Team established that SINGH had set up the bogus company to act as a front for the transfer of money from hundreds of unsuspecting victims to his co-conspirators in India.

SINGH was convicted of Money Laundering in February 2019 and sentenced to 28 months imprisonment. On August 7th 2019, a Judge at Newcastle Crown Court ordered SINGH to pay back £15,000 by way of Compensation and Confiscation Orders, which means that a number of victims will have the money they lost returned to them. In the event that SINGH is found to have any assets in the future he will have to pay back a further £20,000

DC Andy Smith, the officer in charge of the case said :

“I am pleased that we have been able to return money back to some of the victims of this scam. I can only reiterate that people should be really careful about responding to unsolicited offers of help. Basically, it is against the law for anybody to scan your computer without your knowledge, so these pop-ups can’t really be genuine. If you receive a pop-up we recommend that you simply turn your computer off and on again, and this should get rid of it.”

© NERSOU 2018