34 Cybercriminals Nabbed in Spain for Online Fraud Worth Multiple Millions of Dollars

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Spain:  The apprehension of 34 individuals involved in a criminal organization that executed many online fraudulent activities, resulting in about €3 million ($3.2 million) of illicit gains, has been officially declared by Spanish law enforcement authorities.

Law enforcement agencies carried out searches in 16 different sites in Madrid, Malaga, Huelva, Alicante, and Murcia. During these searches, they confiscated two imitation firearms, a katana sword, a baseball bat, €80,000 in cash, four luxury vehicles, as well as a computer and other equipment valued at several thousand euros.

The operation additionally revealed the existence of a database containing cross-referenced data on a total of four million individuals. This compilation of information was obtained through the infiltration of databases owned by financial and credit institutions.

The fraudulent activities, carried out using electronic mail, short message service (SMS), and telephone communications, involved the perpetrators assuming the identities of financial institutions and electric utility providers in order to deceive individuals and unlawfully get their assets. In several instances, the scammers went as far as making distressing phone calls, falsely claiming to be a person’s family member in need, and falsifying documentation related to product shipments from technological businesses.

According to reports, the individuals involved exploited the position of a member within a global technology company to redirect computer and electronic equipment from vendors to the criminal organization.

In a separate fraudulent scheme, the perpetrators illicitly obtained unauthorized entry into customer databases held by financial institutions. Subsequently, they proceeded to augment the funds within customer accounts. Following this action, the fraudsters initiated contact with the affected customers, falsely asserting the occurrence of an erroneous deposit. To rectify this purported mistake, the customers were instructed to remit payment by means of interacting with a fraudulent hyperlink, thereby enabling the capture of their login credentials.

The cybercrime network is purportedly involved in generating revenue by selling counterfeit bank websites, distributing mass messaging applications, and acquiring information through dedicated online forums.

According to the agency, the individuals in positions of authority within the network employed deceptive documents, employed spoofing techniques to conceal their true identities, and allocated their earnings towards investments in cryptocurrency assets.

The recent development occurred several months subsequent to the apprehension of 55 persons belonging to a Barcelona-based organization called the Black Panthers by the Spanish National Police. These individuals were charged with engaging in SIM-swapping activities, through which they illicitly gained control of bank accounts and misappropriated around €250,000 from over 100 victims.

According to CloudSEK, there has been a recent revelation of a novel money laundering strategy using scammers based in China. These scammers employ a mix of counterfeit instant loan applications and India’s Unified Payments Interface (UPI) to fool unsuspecting victims into relinquishing their monies.

The fraudulent scheme entails the development of Android applications for immediate loans. Once installed by unsuspecting individuals, these apps proceed to collect their personal and financial data, while also pressuring users into allowing excessive rights to access and extract sensitive information stored on their devices.

According to security researchers, Sparsh Kulshrestha and Bhavik Malhotra, UPI service providers are presently functioning outside the protection of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA). Scammers engage in the manipulation of mobile numbers linked to the accounts of their victims in order to conduct transactions that are deemed illegal.

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About The Author:

Yogesh Naager is a content marketer who specializes in the cybersecurity and B2B space.  Besides writing for the News4Hackers blog, he’s also written for brands including CollegeDunia, Utsav Fashion, and NASSCOM.  Naager entered the field of content in an unusual way.  He began his career as an insurance sales executive, where he developed an interest in simplifying difficult concepts.  He also combines this interest with a love of narrative, which makes him a good writer in the cybersecurity field.  In the bottom line, he frequently writes for Craw Security.

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