The scam was running like clockwork after the gang initially succeeded breaking into the system and stealing £1.3 million of customers’ money. However, things started to go wrong after an unsolicited call from Barclays investment arm offering to double their money through derivatives trading.
Despite the plausible sales patter, lead hacker Julian Brown revealed that by the end of the first week the Barclays traders had lost them £4 million. ‘We were then hit with £500,000 in unauthorised overdraft fees. The man rang back and said we should double up as we could make a fortune betting on something called the Libor. It all sounded too good to be true but we were in too far to say no.’
The hackers were shocked to discover that in the second week Barclays traders lost them a further £9 million as someone had apparently fixed the Libor rate. ‘It was just such bad luck, of course we were then charged £1.5 million in overdraft charges, interest and returned direct debits. We nearly had our broadband cut off, which would have been embarrassing for the reputation of an international group of computer hackers.’
To add insult to injury, the hacking group had their identity stolen and a further £4 million was removed from their account while they were on their way to give themselves up. Complained Brown: ‘Our card was skimmed when we got some cash out for the taxi to take us to the police station. It’s disgusting, you just can’t trust anyone these days.’
A Barclays spokesman said: ‘We offer all our customers the same terms and conditions, whether they are legitimate customers or fraudsters. We should remind you that investments can go up and down and we like to think of losses more as commission opportunities. By the way, there is a charge of £50 for the letter we will send out tomorrow to repeat all these points in a slightly less comprehensible way. It’s all in the small print, you know.’