Fraud Management & Cybercrime , Social Engineering

Spanish Police Bust Phishing Ring That Defrauded Thousands

Group Targeted American Victims and Pocketed Over 5 Million Euros
Spanish Police Bust Phishing Ring That Defrauded Thousands
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A multinational law enforcement action led by the Spanish National Police shuttered an online scam ring that pocketed 5 million euros and mainly targeted victims in the United States.

See Also: Webinar | Everything You Can Do to Fight Social Engineering and Phishing

Police in Spain arrested eight gang members, and police in Miami arrested one. The group's alleged head of operations is among the Spanish arrestees.

Spanish authorities say the group operated out of Madrid and mainly defrauded American citizens and companies by sending malicious links as phishing emails or via SMS.

After an initial phishing attack, gang members often pressed victims for additional information by making spoofed calls to obtain data they needed to drain bank accounts or make fraudulent online purchases.

The authorities believe the group pocketed approximately 5 million euros in less than a year. The scammers then withdrew the money through ATMs, transferred the sums to overseas accounts or converted them into crypto assets, the authorities say.

The police say their investigation into the group began after they received a complaint from a card processor pertaining to an unauthorized transfer of 20,000 euros from two cards tied to a U.S citizen based in Madrid. The investigation uncovered the group's activity, and authorities dismantled the IT infrastructure that the scammers were using for various frauds. Police also froze 74 bank accounts and assets worth over 1 million euros.

The authorities also confiscated high-end watches, including one valued at about 200,000 euros; numerous jewels; 44 mobile phones; four laptops and three desktops, tablets and monitors from the scammers, who they say had a penchant for a luxurious lifestyle and often traveled to different European cities to open new bank accounts for the scam or to shop for expensive goods.


About the Author

Akshaya Asokan

Akshaya Asokan

Senior Correspondent, ISMG

Asokan is a U.K.-based senior correspondent for Information Security Media Group's global news desk. She previously worked with IDG and other publications, reporting on developments in technology, minority rights and education.




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