Officers in Manchester city center have arrested an individual for sending fraudulent text messages to thousands of people to obtain banking details and defraud them.

It is estimated that the man sent more than 25,000 short text messages in one day, from SIM cards on multiple mobile devices.

Police Community Support Officer (PCSO) attended a hotel on Charles Street at around 3.30 pm on Thursday 17 June after hotel staff reported suspicious activity by a man seen with a large number of cables in a bag.

The man’s hotel room was then found to equipment in the room that officers were able to establish can be used as part of a text message scam to defraud people – known as phishing.

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Detective Inspector Mark Astbury, of GMP’s City of Manchester Central division, said: “What we have uncovered here are potentially the components of a highly sophisticated and authentic scam that I know many people not just in Greater Manchester but across the country have been potential victims of in recent weeks and months.

“We have a man in custody and various items of potential evidence that we have seized and this is due to the initiative of the hotel staff, who acted on their suspicions, and the subsequent response from our neighbourhood officers in the city centre.

“These are the very early stages of what promises to be a complex and dynamic investigation, and I would like to take the opportunity to remind the public to ensure they keep remaining alert to the daily risks that unscrupulous cybercriminals pose to them by sending these fraudulent messages.”

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People in the UK receiving suspicious text messages allegedly from Hermes should report the phishing attempt, contact the police online, or call 101.