A FOUR-STRONG Valencia gang ran a phone card fraud that syphoned off over €110,000 from 15 victims.
The criminals hired 31 ‘mules’ across Alicante and Valencia provinces who withdrew money from hijacked bank accounts to get a small commission or drugs in return.
Most of the intermediaries had police records and they and the gang leaders have been arrested by the Guardia Civil and the Policia Nacional.
The year-long operation to bring down the enterprise was led by police cyber experts.
The con was straight-forward as victims were phoned by gang leaders posing to be representatives of legitimate organisations who asked for personal information including bank account details.
Bogus SMS texts and emails were also sent to get as much information as possible.
Once enough details had been collected, the scammers used the identity of their unsuspecting victims to order duplicate SIM cards.
Verification numbers were then sent to the phones by banks for the gang to confirm that they were legitimate account holders.
Transfers were made into virtual accounts belonging to the criminals to make purchases in large shopping centres or simply to accumulate the stolen money via their network of mules.
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