Two jailed over £1.5m student phishing scam

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Two men have been jailed for nearly 10 years for taking part in a 1.5 million phishing scam that extorted large sums of money from hundreds of UK students.

Damola Clement Olatunji was jailed for six and a half years at Southwark Crown Court and Amos Njoroge Mwangi was sentenced to three years and three months at a hearing last month.

The scam saw unsuspecting students invited by email to visit a bogus website to update their student loan account details.

When the students visited the site, the pair were then able to access their bank accounts and remove large sums of money.

The con was uncovered by the Metropolitan Police Central e-Crime Unit (PCeU), who worked closely with the Student Loans Company, several banks and internet service providers to trap the pair.

However, the police said there is no evidence to suggest the two worked together.

Officers used forensic evidence to link Olatunji to 304,000 of actual fraud and 162,000 worth of attempted fraud.

Evidence connecting him to a separate fraud, valued at 75,000, involving Halifax bank customers was also found.

Meanwhile, Mwangi was found in possession of "numerous computer programmes" that allowed him to build phishing emails and register fake websites.

Jason Tunn, a detective inspector at the PCeU, described the pair as "determined fraudsters".

"Despite the complexity of the investigation, PCeU investigators working closely with the Student Loan Company and other partners were able to identify those responsible and bring them to justice," added Tunn.

Caroline Donnelly is the news and analysis editor of IT Pro and its sister site Cloud Pro, and covers general news, as well as the storage, security, public sector, cloud and Microsoft beats. Caroline has been a member of the IT Pro/Cloud Pro team since March 2012, and has previously worked as a reporter at several B2B publications, including UK channel magazine CRN, and as features writer for local weekly newspaper, The Slough and Windsor Observer. She studied Medical Biochemistry at the University of Leicester and completed a Postgraduate Diploma in Magazine Journalism at PMA Training in 2006.