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Formby schoolboy arrested on suspicion of computer misuse

A 16 year-old Merseyside schoolboy has been arrested on suspicion of Computer Misuse Act offences following a six month investigation into online shopping fraud. In March 2020 a number of victims began reporting unauthorised orders being made on their online retail and catalogue accounts to Merseyside Police’s Cyber Dependent Crime Unit. Items had been ordered without their knowledge including furniture, a mobile phone and trainers which were then delivered to addresses on Merseyside. An investigation was launched and yesterday a warrant was carried out and a 16 year-old from the Formby area arrested. The teenager has since been released pending further enquiries. Several devices including a laptop, tablet and a mobile phone has also been seized for analysis. The Unit has also seized control of a criminal website that was being used to sell account usernames and passwords for popular online services. Cyber investigator Constable Tony Madden said: “The Cyber team became aware of this issue when a victim contacted us to say her online catalogue account – which she hadn’t used for a lengthy period of time - had been compromised and orders for an iPhone 11 and two pairs of trainers had been made. “It appears that a number of accounts were compromised and were being sold on through payment processing sites. “Following a six month investigation we have now provided all of these compromised account details to the relevant online services so that those account holders can be contacted and advised about the data breach. “It is illegal to access online accounts belonging to others without permission and is an offence under the Computer Misuse Act 1990.” To avoid having your online accounts compromised we advise the public to make use of two factor authentication where possible as per the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) guidance.

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