A bank ‘phishing’ con netted a nationwide gang at least €443,600 from 146 victims.
The Policia Nacional have arrested 13 people across Spain and are probing another seven suspects over the scan.
Arrests were made in A Coruña, Cordoba (5), Huelva, Madrid (2), Malaga, Murcia, Palma de Mallorca and Terrassa in Barcelona Province.
Victims were fooled into providing their online banking login details via fake emails acting as security alerts which appeared to be sent by genuine banks.
Unsuspecting recipients who clicked on a link were not taken to their banking portal, but bogus webpages run by the gang.
Having gained access to bank accounts, the criminals would change the mobile phone settings on victims’ accounts in order to receive any authentication codes sent via a text message.
Stolen money was used to buy goods, take out personal loans, and make transfers to a network of money mules.
Funds were often moved via cash conversion services to the Ivory Coast.
The Policia Nacional started a probe following complaints in 2018 from victims and a bank, after unauthorised purchases were made in electronics stores in France and elsewhere.
The gang used VPNs to try to hid their location and give the impression they were abroad in countries France, Germany, Morocco, and the United States.
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