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Amazon & iTunes Targeted in £470,000 Credit Card Fraud

A gang of nine have been arrested after they were accused of downloading their own tracks off Amazon and iTunes using stolen credit card details AND then claiming royalties on that.

The scam involved recording 19 song compilations, uploading them to the aforementioned online music stores at a cost of £18 each by using a New York-based online music store intermediary.

The lot then created up to 1500 iTunes and Amazon accounts using stolen US and UK credit card details before setting out on a massive spending spree that saw them spend nearly £470,000 on buying their own album.

Having purchased around 75,000 of their own albums, they also raked in significant royalties - which amounted to an estimated £400,000 - and the sales allowed them to rise rapidly in the charts. The con was only spotted when credit card companies became suspicious over the transactions.

The nine involved are all based in UK and are being held "on suspicion of conspiracy to commit fraud and money laundering". Up to 60 officers have been involved in coordinated raids and were led by Scotland Yard's E-Crime Unit.

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Over to Detective Chief Inspector Terry Wilson, of Scotland Yard's e-crime unit, who declared : "This has been a complex investigation to establish what we believe to be an international conspiracy to defraud Apple and Amazon. This investigation, with its national and international dimension, exemplifies why we have set up this national response to e-crime." The crime spree took place over a period of 4 months.

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Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website building and web hosting when DHTML and frames were en vogue and started writing about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium. Following an eight-year stint at where he discovered the joys of global tech-fests, Désiré now heads up TechRadar Pro. Previously he was a freelance technology journalist at Incisive Media, Breakthrough Publishing and Vnunet, and Business Magazine. He also launched and hosted the first Tech Radio Show on Radio Plus.