Spanish police have arrested 34 suspected members of a criminal gang accused of running various scams to steal data from over four million individuals. In a coordinated effort across the country, law enforcement agents conducted 16 searches, resulting in the seizure of electronic equipment, computer databases, four expensive vehicles, $80,000 Euros, as well as a baseball bat, a katana, and two firearms. According to a press release by Spain’s Policía Nacional, the gang is believed to have earned nearly three million Euros through email, phone, and SMS text scams, including the notorious “son in distress” scam where parents are deceived into sending money under the belief that their children are in danger. Specialist investigators from Spain’s cybercrime unit have been diligently investigating the activities of this criminal network since the beginning of the year, prompted by numerous reports from the public that exposed the scale of their operation.
The criminals reportedly gained illegal access to credit institutions and financial organizations’ databases, not only stealing data but also crediting customers’ accounts with money. Subsequently, the scammers would contact victims, informing them of a technical error that resulted in an erroneous loan, and instructing them to repay it using methods provided by the scammer. Victims were then directed to fraudulent websites posing as legitimate financial institutions, where they unknowingly entered sensitive information that was directly handed over to cybercriminals. The stolen data was primarily monetized by selling it to other cybercriminals and fraudsters, with some proceeds also being funneled into cryptocurrency investment platforms. The gang is also accused of selling access to websites and tools that facilitated their cybercriminal activities.
Spanish police, in a tweet that included video footage of the arrests and property raids, stated that additional perpetrators and victims may still be identified. This recent operation adds to the series of successes Spanish police have achieved against cybercriminals in recent months. These include the apprehension of a suspected scareware developer, a prolific teenage hacker, and the dismantling of a phishing ring that swindled 5 million Euros from US victims.
1. Spanish police have arrested 34 individuals implicated in a criminal gang that orchestrated scams to steal data from over four million people.
2. The gang made almost three million Euros through various scams, including the “son in distress” scam.
3. Cybercrime investigators have been tracking the gang’s activities since the beginning of the year.
4. The criminals illegally accessed credit institutions and financial organizations’ databases, stealing data and crediting customers’ accounts with money.
5. Victims were contacted by the scammers and directed to fraudulent websites where they unknowingly handed over sensitive information.
6. The stolen data was sold to other cybercriminals, and proceeds were also invested in cryptocurrency platforms.
7. Spanish police have had numerous successes against cybercriminals in recent months, including the arrest of a scareware developer, a teenage hacker, and the dismantling of a phishing ring.