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Part of the National Police operation against the scammers. EP
Criminal network that netted 350,000 euros from scam SMS messages in Spain is smashed

Criminal network that netted 350,000 euros from scam SMS messages in Spain is smashed

CRIME ·

A total of 24 people have been arrested in Cadiz, Malaga and Barcelona, allegedly linked to a sophisticated scamming organisation led by an underage youth

Europa Press

Friday, 3 March 2023, 18:00

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National Police officers have dismantled a criminal organisation, led by an underage youth, for allegedly defrauding more than 100,000 online banking customers throughout Spain of around 350,000 euros.

The leader of the group has been placed in a juvenile detention centre, while another 24 people allegedly linked to the organisation have been arrested in Cadiz, Malaga and Barcelona, eight of whom have been jailed, according to a National Police statement.

The criminal organisation was dedicated to committing computer scams using techniques known as 'phishing', 'smishing' and 'vishing'. The gang leader was allegedly responsible for creating his own computer tools to carry out the scams, using fake websites of banking institutions or compromised links to send by SMSor email to the victims, and sold these to other criminal organisations.

The organisation allegedly swindled some 350,000 euros from 200 people in two months by impersonating 18 different banking institutions and through telephone calls, obtained the bank details - names, ID numbers and private banking passwords - of 100,000 customers.

Six searches were carried out in which two fake firearms, 10,000 euros, lists with the personal details of 100,000 people, more than thirty state-of-the-art mobile phones and 500 grams of marijuana buds, destined for drug trafficking, were seized.

The modus operandi of the organisation consisted of carrying out bank scams by sending mass text messages, known as 'smishing'. The SMS included a link that redirected to a fraudulent website, similar in appearance to that of the bank, created and controlled by the scammers in order to obtain the victim's bank details.

The fraudsters had also designed software that allowed them to see in real time the steps their victims were taking and, in order to restore the supposedly risky situation of their account and return to safe trading, they phoned them posing as employees of their bank and offered to help them fix the security breach.

To do so, they told them that they would receive verification codes on their terminal, which they had to provide over the phone. In reality, these codes made it possible for the fraudulent transactions that the criminals were carrying out in the victim's online banking system to materialise in real time.

When the money entered the bank accounts controlled by the scammers, they carried out different actions, such as directly withdrawing the cash at ATMs or taking out instant personal loans.

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