Police Dismantle Multimillion-Dollar Scam Gang

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Police in Spain have said they cracked a major organized crime ring which it’s claimed made at least €3m ($3.2m) from various online scams and fraud.

National Police officers swooped on 16 locations in the provinces of Madrid, Málaga, Huelva, Alicante and Murcia where they arrested 34 suspects and seized firearms, a baseball bat, a katana sword, €80,000 in cash, four luxury vehicles and a database containing information on millions of victims.

It’s claimed that the group managed to access corporate databases and steal personal information on as many as four million individuals.

This was subsequently used to target the victims with vishing attacks in which the scammers masqueraded as electricity company operatives and phishing campaigns spoofing the brand of major banks.

They also performed “son in distress” calls where anxious parents are made to believe that their children are in danger unless they send money urgently.

Read more on Spanish police wins: Euro Police Bust €3m Internet Fraud Gang

Other scams were more sophisticated. In one, a member of the group who worked at a multi-national technology company managed to divert merchandise from suppliers direct to the gang.

In another, the fraudsters gained unauthorized access to customer databases at financial institutions and added funds to their accounts. They then contacted these individuals and told them the money had been added erroneously – providing payment instructions via a phishing site that also harvested the victims’ banking details.

The majority of the money made by the group was apparently from selling stolen data to other cyber-criminals. The ringleaders of the group used false documents, spoofing techniques and cryptocurrency to hide their identities.

Police said that they have received over 1000 complaints so far, but more victims and perpetrators may come to light in the coming months.

Back in May, Spanish police arrested 40 individuals suspected of involvement in an organized crime gang that made €700,000 ($767,000) from phishing victims.

Image credit: Natalia de la Rubia / Shutterstock.com

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