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Theft and cyber fraud, the most common criminal offences committed in large Costa del Sol towns

Theft and cyber fraud, the most common criminal offences committed in large Costa del Sol towns

Internet crime has overtaken ordinary stealing in most of the municipalities in Malaga province with a population of over 20,000

Irene Quirante

Friday, 22 September 2023, 16:05

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Common theft and internet scams were the two crimes most committed in Malaga's largest municipalities throughout the first three months of this year, new data shows.

Between January and March, 5,667 thefts were recorded in the province - some 63 per day - while 3,959 internet crimes were reported, 43 per day.

Nine of biggest towns

Cyber theft has now taken over from stealing as the most reported crime in nine of the sixteen towns in Malaga province where the resident population is over 20,000: Alhaurín de la Torre (92 cases), Alhaurín el Grande (50), Antequera (99), Cártama (49), Coín (42), Mijas (276), Rincón de la Victoria (127) and Ronda (104).

  • 5,667 In Malaga province 5,667 cases of common theft were reported in the first quarter of 2023, this being the most common crime in Malaga city, Benalmádena, Fuengirola, Marbella, Nerja and Torremolinos.

  • 3,959 In the same period police received 3,959 reports of cyber crime, which is the most common criminal offence in nine of the 16 larger municipalities on the Costa del Sol.

  • 43 In January, February and March, in Malaga province an average of 43 internet crimes were committed every day, the majority of them cases of cyber fraud.

The figure for Mijas was particularly striking as cases of cyber fraud were up by 72.5% compared with the first quarter of 2022, going from 160 to 276. This puts the number of internet-related cases in Mijas ahead of those of ordinary theft, which went up by 25.7% to 259.

Common theft was, however, the most common criminal offence in Malaga city as well as Benalmádena (229 cases), Fuengirola (457), Marbella (816), Nerja (53) and Torremolinos (293).

In the case of Vélez-Málaga, from January to March this year, there were exactly the same number of criminal offences of both common theft and cyber theft (190).

Benalmádena is one of the municipalities where crimes that increased the most were those committed on the internet, with an increase of 52.6%.

However, thefts, which rose by 10.1%, remained the most common, with 229 cases in three months.

Fuengirola and Marbella

There was a similar scenario in Fuengirola and Marbella, since, despite cyber crimes being those that saw the greatest increase this year (in both cases by around 54 per cent), common thefts continued to be by far the most widespread criminal offence committed in both Costa del Sol towns, despite their percentage increase being much smaller.

One in five crimes in Malaga province is committed online

One in five crimes in Malaga province is committed over the internet, according to recent data released by the Spanish government, a figure that is in line with the national average. Cybercrime has shot up since 2016, leading the government to launch a preventative campaign. 'Phising' or 'smishing' is among the most common cybercrimes; criminals send emails or text messages using the identity of a well-known company in an attempt to obtain personal and confidential information from the recipient. The government also warns of 'CEO fraud' in which employees with access to financial resources are fooled into making payments into a fraudulent account. Another common cybercrime is 'ransomware', a type of malware that blocks access to a computer system and demands payment from the victim in exchange for recovering their files. Also frequent is e-commerce fraud; websites are created with false adverts for products at cheaper prices, even pretending to be well-known brands.There is also the love and romance scam in which the criminal maintains a false online romantic relationship with the unsuspecting victim, in an attempt to extract funds.

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