Once hooked, the thieves send people posing as couriers to collect their bank cards — and all the details needed to steal money. A report by the Financial Action Task Force says the money is then sent back to Iraq and Syria to help pay for people to travel to the Middle East.
In March this year, Scotland Yard confirmed that officers were investigating a large-scale fraud linked to UK extremists traveling to Syria, following reports one pensioner was cheated of $230,000. A report in The Times says that the London based fraud networks operated in Devon, Cornwall, Dorset, Kent, Bedfordshire and London.
"UK-based extremists have adopted the organized crime group tactic of targeting vulnerable individuals with phone calls purporting to be either police or bank officials.
"A courier from the criminal network is then dispatched to the victims' home address and picks up the cash."
The report adds that, "the method as to how the victims are selected is unclear but it may be as simple as online telephone directories filtered to regions for a retirement age demographic."
Terrorist organisations evolve over time, but what stays the same is their need to raise, move and use funds. A new FATF…Posted by FATF on Wednesday, October 21, 2015
But the scams on British pensions amount to a fraction of what the Islamic State is currently raking in from selling crude oil from the oilfield the group has taken over in Iraq and Syria.
Crude oil sales are the extremists' largest single source of income — that keeps on flowing in. The revenue made by selling oil is sustaining the terrorist organization existence and resilience to US led airstrikes.
virtual currency & anti-money laundering / terrorist financing measures — #FATF guidance http://t.co/c2kSJneVVK pic.twitter.com/9FXxpBAFPR— FATF (@FATFNews) June 29, 2015
According to the Associated Press, Islamic State is selling the crude oil to people smugglers at the knock-down price of US$10 a barrel — compared to US$50. Four Iraqi intelligence officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told the AP that the smugglers then sell the oil onto middlemen in Turkey.
Islamic State is believed to be the richest terror organization in history. It's reported that ISIL are extracting 30,000 barrels per day from Syria and 10,000 — 20,000 barrels a day in Iraq.
And just one phone-call to a UK pensioner can net the militants US$115,000.