French phishing gang arrested in €300,000 fraud case in Spain   

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POLICE are continuing with a crackdown on online fraud, with the latest move being to dismantle a phishing ‘workstation’ that had netted criminals €300,000. 

The fraudulent banking operation was carried out from the provinces of Alicante, Barcelona and Valencia, with victims all around the country. 

The gang specialised in fraudulently obtaining bank card data through phishing. Three people have been arrested. Police say they travelled to Spain from France to carry out the fraud operation. 

In the house where they were staying in Valencia police located a complete “workstation” – made up of computers, monitors, wireless equipment, devices for masking their wireless signals as well as 29 mobile phones. 

Investigations began last July, when multiple allegations of bank fraud were recorded in various police stations throughout the country.  

Customers of a well-known bank reported having suffered phishing and, subsequently, the fraudulent use of their credit cards at ATMs, buying bitcoins and purchases of products. 

Data was collected from customers of the unnamed bank by mass mailing its clients with fake emails through which malicious software was installed on their computers and devices. 

Three months after the start of the investigation, National Police officers detected one of the members of the organisation as he passed through the city of Alicante. Subsequent efforts to locate him allowed the full identification of two other members of the criminal group. 

At the beginning of October, it was detected that members of the criminal network had entered Spain through the border area of La Junquera, in the province of Gerona, using a vehicle with French plates. 

Subsequently, the investigators located them when they were fraudulently acquiring electronic products in a well-known shopping centre in the Valencian town of Burjasot. The surveillance measures taken in situ made it possible to locate the apartment where they were staying in Valencia. 

They moved in to make arrests and found the workstation as well as €4,050 cash and many goods fraudulently bought. 

Subsequent inquiries identified many victims who lost between €300 and €4,000 each for a total of €300,000. 

The members of the gang travelled from France with the express purpose of committing the criminal acts. They stayed in Valencia for a few days before returning to France to avoid detection. The police operation remains open and the arrest of other members of the criminal organisation who are currently in France is not ruled out. 

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Written by

Dilip Kuner

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