Phone hackers break into bank apps, steal over NIS 500,000

The coronavirus crisis made it harder for many of the victims to notice the suspicious activity in their bank accounts.

Cyber Hackers (photo credit: REUTERS)
Cyber Hackers
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Some 16 suspects were arrested from around Israel on Tuesday after they allegedly defrauded dozens of victims out of over NIS 500,000 by hacking into their bank accounts through their cell phone plans.
The suspects were organized and managed by a couple from Kiryat Tivon. The fraud was carried out by gaining access to the victims' cell phone plans and then hacking into their bank through the accounts.
The investigation into the fraud began a few months ago, after Israel Police's Coastal District Cyber Unit received a number of complaints from citizens and discovered a similar fraud method being carried out throughout Israel.
Police used technological methods in the investigation including help from the National Cyber Center in the Lahav 433 anti-corruption unit.
The suspects took advantage of the coronavirus crisis, in which many people, especially the elderly, could not leave their homes to visit the bank, making it harder for the victims to track and notice suspicious activity in their bank accounts.
Israel Police arrested the 16 suspects on Tuesday and captured computers and digital storage devices that may serve as evidence. 
"This is a complex affair that has revealed a sophisticated method of fraud, consisting of vile exploitation of the plight of civilians at this time. The police intend to apply the full severity of the law against those involved," Israel Police said in a statement.