UPDATED: Conmen jailed for tricking jobseekers and online shoppers
JOB hunters were duped into applying for work so their identities could be stolen as part of a nationwide fraud halted by Derbyshire police.
Conmen received the application forms and stole names, addresses, dates of birth and even some bank account details which were then used to rake in cash.
The victims, including people from Derby, Duffield and Ripley, thought they were in with a chance to work for Wigwam Distribution but the firm did not exist, Derby Crown Court was told.
When a police investigation ended, officers were unable to calculate the total value of the fraud but it topped £109,000.
A total of 30 false identities were created and nine were cloned.
Three men who ran the con have now been jailed for three and a half years each for a conspiracy between January 2007 and January 2009.
They appeared at Derby Crown Court yesterday and were remanded in custody.
Gary Gillam and Derrick Young, both 36 and of Birchwood Lane, South Normanton, and Steven Curran, 37, of Alfred Street, Ripley, have already pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit fraud.
In some cases, the identities were used to set up false bank accounts to run up debts and on other occasions used to cheat eBay customers.
One victim was prison officer Nathan Green.
He won an eBay auction for a Panasonic flat screen TV with a £879 bid but the television never arrived.
He was eventually paid £150 compensation by Pay Pal.
James House, prosecuting, said: "Buyers appeared for high value items but the eBay account was false."
Other victims spoke of being chased by credit firms for money they never borrowed.
One woman was wrongly given a bad credit rating and said: "I am charged ridiculous rates on credit cards and can't get a mortgage."
When the fraud began, many deals went through honestly and there was "positive feedback" on the internet, enabling the conmen to get "trusted seller status".
The fraud was finally uncovered when burglars raided a home in Belper, said Mr House.
The owners were away but their son began to check the internet to see if any stolen items appeared for sale.
A piece of Crown Derby china was offered by a firm called Swifty Deals and the son alerted police, who used an officer's e-mail address to buy the item.
He received the Crown Derby in a parcel which had been sent from a post office in South Normanton.
Security cameras had recorded two of the men arriving and staff knew they often visited with parcels to be posted.
Recorder Tim Spencer refused bail and said the trio faced "substantial prison sentences".