National Crime Squad officers investigating attempts to defraud the online bank, Egg, made five arrests this week, writes Bill Goodwin.
Five men, including a property consultant, personal fitness instructor, an estate agent and a mortgage broker have been charged with conspiracy to defraud.
The arrests, the culmination of a six-month investigation, code-named Operation Skoda, followed a series of raids made by police on addresses in the Milton Keynes area last month.
Egg discovered the fraud in February, when fraud detection software began to pick up inconsistencies in a series of credit card applications made over the Internet.
The bank had used off-the-shelf anti-fraud packages, including Hunter which checks the accuracy of entries made on Web application forms, and Falcon which detects unusual spending patterns, to home in on the fraud.
Egg also worked with police to develop its own specialist software to identify common threads among the fraudulent applications, such as multiple cards ordered from the same PC.
The five people arrested are due to appear on bail at Milton Keynes Magistrates Court next month, charged with conspiracy to defraud Internet banks between November 1999 and August 2000.