Tuesday, 24 October 2023
Police in Spain have smashed a data theft gang that allegedly stole personal information from more than four million people through different computer scams.
A total of 34 people were arrested in the operation with 16 raids carried out in Malaga, Madrid, Huelva, Alicante and Murcia. According to investigators, the suspects carried out scams worth almost three million euros. Gang leaders allegedly used false documentation and spoofing techniques to conceal their identity and invested their profits in crypto-assets.
National Police launched an investigation at the start of the year after they identified a criminal network that allegedly illegally accessed the databases of various financial and credit institutions, depositing different amounts of money from the credit institution into the clients' accounts. They then contacted these clients informing them they had paid in a loan due to a computer error and they needed to pay it back.
They also penetrated other multinational commercial databases, obtaining the personal data of more than four million people that could have been used to carry out their criminal activities, investigators said.
This information was allegedly used to carry out phishing campaigns simulating the identity of electricity supply companies, scams where they impersonated the identity of different banking entities, as well as a scam against a technology company.
Three million euros in profits
The gang made profits of around three million euros by selling to other criminal organisations the websites programmed by the organisation's hackers, such as fake websites of banking institutions, mass mailing programmes or cross-databases.
The main leaders of the network have been remanded in custody. Police received more than 1,000 complaints and have not ruled out identifying more victims and perpetrators.
Amid police raids, officers found two firearms, a sword, baseball bat, 80,000 euros in cash, four high-end vehicles, a database with cross-referenced information on four million people and computer and electronic material valued at thousands of euros.
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