A Barcelona area boy and his parents have been arrested by the Guardia Civil for committing online fraud that netted around €150,000 in two years.
Identities were stolen to obtain bank cards and take out personal loans in addition to earning money by not sending out ‘paid for’ items.
The minor from Gava operated on a well-known internet second-hand goods site in 2019 and 2020.
He fooled over 100 customers into transferring cash for items they never received.
High-end cars, phones, and even pets were advertised online as part of the ruse.
When purchasers did not get the promised items, they contacted the boy who told them they he did not believe they were the genuine buyers.
He asked them to send over a copy of their birth certificate for identification purposes.
The private information was used for the bank fraud and loan element of the criminal enterprise.
Personal details were used to open accounts in other people’s names.
Credit cards were sent to his home which were used for online purchases and for ATM withdrawals.
Loans were taken out with finance companies, with the teenager’s defrauded clients only finding out about their newly-acquired debt when legal action was taken against them when repayments were not made.
The boy’s activities got the full backing of his parents who also deceived some online buyers as well.
The Guardia Civil in Castellon got involved in February 2020 after getting a complaint from a Benicassim resident who lost €725 in a mobile phone purchase.
The Guardia’s Technological Investigation Team probed the fraud and uncovered widespread criminality involving a single user- namely the boy.
An extensive range of equipment was discovered at the family home including photo-edit gear to insert photos of the boy’s parents on the various ID documents that used other people’s names.
A first check on computer and mobile phone data revealed additional scams had been committed which will add to the initial total declared by the Guardia.
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