Croydon man charged with using homemade antenna to send dodgy text messages pretending to be banks

Anonymous hackers holding credit card in his hand. Using it for unauthorized shopping.
-Credit: (Image: Getty)

A man from Corydon has been charged with using a homemade 'text message blaster' to send thousands of fraudulent texts pretending to be people's banks. Huayong Xu, 32, of Alton Road, Croydon is suspected to be responsible for the operation which is thought to be the the first of its kind in the UK.

An illegitimate telephone mast is believed to have been used as an 'SMS blaster' to send messages that bypass mobile phone networks' systems in place to block suspicious text messages. These texts were posing as banks and other official organisations, to members of the public, it is alleged. This is known as 'smishing' or SMS phishing.

Huayong Xu was arrested and charged on May 23 with possession of articles for use in fraud and was remanded in custody. He will appear at Inner London Crown Court on June 26. Another person was also arrested on May 9 in Manchester but has since been bailed.

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Officers from the Dedicated Card and Payment Crime Unit (DCPCU), worked with mobile network operators, Ofcom and the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC).

Temporary Detective Chief Inspector David Vint, head of the Dedicated Card and Payment Crime Unit (DCPCU) at City of London Police, said: "The criminals committing these types of crimes are only getting smarter, working in more complex ways to trick unknowing members of the public and steal whatever they can get their hands on. It is vital we work with partners to help prevent the public from falling victim to fraud.

"Remember, a bank or another official authority will not ask you to share personal information over text or phone. If you think you have received a fraudulent text message, report it by forwarding it to 7726."

How to protect yourself from potential phishing text messages

  • Most phone providers are part of a scheme that allows customers to report suspicious text messages for free by forwarding it to 7726. If you forward a text to 7726, your provider can investigate the origin of the text and arrange to block or ban the sender, if it's found to be malicious.

  • If you've lost money or provided financial information as a result of a phishing scam, notify your bank immediately and report it to Action Fraud at or by calling 0300 123 2040.

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