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Police bust 'suitcase scammers' who swindled more than 100 people in Spain, and this is how it worked
Crime

Police bust 'suitcase scammers' who swindled more than 100 people in Spain, and this is how it worked

Spain's Office for Internet Security (OSI) pointed out that cybercriminals obtained information about their potential victims from social media networks, and offered a series of tips to avoid falling for similar tricks

Raquel Merino

Malaga

Monday, 21 August 2023, 15:39

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A criminal group that allegedly swindled more than 6,500 euros from vctime using the so-called "suitcase scam" has been dismantled in Spain.

The crooks would send mass messages pretending to be family or friends who were abroad and needed money to pay taxes, fines or send luggage. They would say that due to last-minute problems with documentation they could not make the trip, but their luggage was left with the plane and they needed somebody to go to the airport and collect it. They then provide check-in slips, where the victim needs to pay a fee, National Police said.

Offcers arrested four people allegedly involved in the scam, which affected more than 100 people throughout Spain. The fraudsters would ask for anything between 500 to 1,500 euros, and once the payment was made, the crooks disappear without a trace, investigators said.

Spains Office for Internet Security (OSI) pointed out that cybercriminals obtained information about their potential victims from social media network, and provided a series of tips to avoid falling for scams.

It first recommend to check the user you are interacting with; if you have any doubts about their identity, it is better to contact the friend or relative by other means, such as calling them directly on their phone.

If it is confirmed that it is a hoax, ignore the messages, block the contact from communicating again and report the details to the National Police. You can also contact the company directly - the airline, in this case - through official channels to verify the information. "No public agent or airport agent will ask you to deposit money," the OSI added.

What if you have already fallen for the deception?

The incident must be reported to Spain's state security forces, gathering all the evidence and proof available, such as conversations, messages, emails and contact numbers. Once the report has been made, you should call the bank as soon as possible to make a claim and try to recover the money.

OSI also recommended informing authorities about the platform through which the cybercriminal made contact, for example; WhatsApp, Facebook, Instagram or Messenger.

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