A GROUP of con artists have taken the concept of the ‘Tinder Swindler’ to a new level after a nationwide ‘catfishing’ scam earned them one million euros.
A huge and complex police operation finally smashed the network and arrested 18 people after 90 lovelorn members of the public filed complaints.
They claimed to have been swindled by someone purporting to be an airline pilot or wealthy person after matching with them on dating apps.
The scammers would invest time and effort earning the victim’s trust and even tricking them into falling in love with the deception.
They would then entice them with the promise of a gift as a token of their feelings, but with one catch: it was stuck with customs or some transport company and needed a payment to be released.
The victims would then be pressured into transferring cash to the swindler in order to release the item.
Threats and emotional manipulation were even employed to twist the arms of those who thought they were dealing with someone who loved them.
The first complaint was filed in Madrid, and investigators managed to determine that the scammed funds were transferred to a bank account in Malaga.
The operation known as Malmos began at the beginning of the year and proved to be a challenge for police as the victims were spread out over the country.
Officers raided 13 locations in Malaga and seized €36,000 as well as phones, laptops and documents.
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