SEVEN men, including a British national, have been arrested over a massive internet fraud that netted around €2 million through unauthorised loans and purchases.
The Valencian Community-based conmen have been detained over 353 crimes with 11 additional men, mainly Spaniards, still being investigated.
The gang used online sites, including a real estate portal, to create fake user profiles.
Victims were lured in with promises of cut-price rental accommodation from the criminals pretending to be landlords using the site.
Potential tenants were told to provide personal details if they wanted to get a lease.
Once those details were sent, the gang took out loans in their names and also bought high-value items like cars, bicycles, and motorcycles.
Online stores were used across Spain for purchases, and once the items had been received, they were sold off quickly at a discount, again online, to make a quick profit.
The Guardia Civil received two complaints from residents in the Valencian municipality of Tavernes Blanques in September 2020 that unauthorised debits had been made from their bank accounts which were to repay loans they had not taken out.
An investigation uncovered a big criminal plot affecting 32 provinces with online stores and individual victims scammed.
The first phase of the operation to bring down the gang began in February 2021 with a house search in La Eliana, Valencia Province.
Officers seized a laptop computer, several mobile phones, and documents all related to the fraud.
The second phase took place last month with six Spaniards aged 22 to 45 arrested, along with a 26-year-old British national.
The Guardia Civil has not revealed where the arrests took place or whether the detainees have appeared in court.
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