Phishing gang steals at least €443,600 from hacked online bank accounts in Spain

Banking ‘phishing’ scam netted nationwide gang at least €443,600 from 146 victims.

The Policia Nacional has arrested 13 people across Spain and is investigating seven other suspects during the analysis.

Arrests took place in A Coruña, Cordoba (5), Huelva, Madrid (2), Malaga, Murcia, Palma de Mallorca and Terrassa in the province of Barcelona.

Victims were tricked into providing their online banking login details via fake emails acting as security alerts that appeared to be sent by genuine banks.

Unsuspecting recipients who clicked on a link were not redirected to their banking portal, but to fake web pages operated by the gang.

Having gained access to the bank accounts, the criminals would change the mobile phone settings on the victims’ accounts in order to receive all passcodes sent via SMS.

The stolen money was used to buy goods, take out personal loans and make transfers to a network of financial mules.

Funds were often transferred via cash conversion services to Côte d’Ivoire.

The Policia Nacional launched an investigation following complaints in 2018 from victims and a bank, after unauthorized purchases at electronics stores in France and elsewhere.

The gang used VPNs to try to hide their location and give the impression that they were abroad in countries such as France, Germany, Morocco and the United States.

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David A. Albanese