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One of those arrested by police. CNP
National Police arrest 59 members of 'Hi mum, my phone is broken' scam gang in Spain
Crime

National Police arrest 59 members of 'Hi mum, my phone is broken' scam gang in Spain

Officers said the criminal gang would profit from making families believe their children, usually students abroad, were in trouble and needed the money urgently

J. M.

Madrid

Monday, 29 January 2024

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Police have smashed a gang in Spain's northern region of Catalonia which allegedly made 460,000 euros from fooling parents into believing their children were in distress.

The crooks would send a WhatsApp message along the lines of: "Hi mum, my mobile phone broke, this is my new number, I have to pay for something and I don't have my card handy, can you make a transfer of 2,900 euros and I'll pay you back later".

Police said the gang operating in Catalonia would profit from making families believe their children, usually students abroad, were in trouble and needed the money urgently. National Police officers arrested 59 members of this criminal organisation.

Making the conversation credible

People within the gang would first trawl through social media to target families of students who were studying abroad, according to investigators. They collected as much information as possible to make the conversation seem credible, police said.

Most of the people arrested lived in Salt, Olot, Girona, Banyoles, Barcelona, Granollers, Hospitalet de Llobregat, Premià de Mar and Mollet. Among those arrested were three of the organisation's recruiters who were in charge, each in their own locality, of recruiting young people aged between 20 and 30 to carry out the scams or to receive the swindled money from the victim in exchange for payment from the gang.

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