EIGHT PEOPLE had €20,000 stolen from their bank accounts after being conned by a Costa Blanca-based smishing scam.
Three Moroccan men, aged in their 20s, were arrested in Almoradi by the Guardia Civil and charged with fraud and money laundering.
Smishing is a text-messaging version of the email scams that are known as phishing.
It targets mobile phone owners, who are regarded to be lax over security compared to computer users.
The trio sent out texts to a wide range of numbers mascarading as official bank warnings over a security breach.
The message included a link to a professional-looking application where account holders could verify their security details.
Unsuspecting victims typed in their personal information and the Almoradi gang used the details to make withdrawals from two ATMs located in local sex clubs.
After getting the first complaint from an angry account holder, the Guardia Civil tracked down the scammers to the Vega Baja area town and launched a surveillance operation.
One of the trio was caught red-handed by agents as he withdrew €1,320 from an ATM at one of the clubs.
The Guardia has appealed for anybody getting any text or email messages from their bank to give them a call to see if they are genuine.