WARNING: Spain’s police warn of bank scam targeting people across the country

SPAIN’s Police have issued a warning to those residing in Spain of a scam which is targeting people to enable money to be withdrawn from their bank accounts.

The National Police and Guardia Civil have confirmed the detection of a criminal gang operating in Barcelona who have committed dozens of fraudulent transactions across the country.

Their method of operating is very simple and a commonly used practice in criminal networks, where the group send mass emails to thousands of people posing as their bank provider. Here they ask for their victims to verify information about their account through a form.

Although the majority of people ignore the emails that are sent, the sophisticated layout has fooled a proportion of victims who utilise the bank provider listed. Once in the hands of the personal information, the gang are then able to use a mobile application to make a clone of the contactless card onto their smartphones. 

As a PIN code is not required for purchases or withdrawals under €20 in Spain, unless configured otherwise in one’s banking settings, the gang are then able to make multiple use of the card through the contactless technology. The National Police state that a significant number of people have been a victim of the crime, with the gang making at least €40,000 through their scam. 

Investigative work led to the detection of the gang, where the police have revealed that several members of the group were arrested this morning (January 10), however it is understood that their network is expansive and many more victims could be stung.

In a dawn raid at properties across Barcelona, the police detained 8 people, 7 who are foreign and one who is Spanish, where all have been charged with money laundering. As Euro Weekly News understands, upon a search of the premises, significant amount of cash were found in addition to several laptops and mobile phones which will all be analysed by specialised officers. 

Contactless card payments are hugely popular in Spain due to them being extremely straightforward to use to be able to pay for a variety of goods. By removing the need for a PIN code, the innovative cards offer a convenient way to pay, however, they also provide criminals with more opportunities to commit fraud.

It is advised for all customers to take the necessary precautions to protect their card and to remain especially vigilant to avoid being a victim of fraud. Measures that can be adopted include ensuring a PIN code is activated on your card, even for the most minimal purchases. It is also advised to ask for a receipt to ensure you are charged the correct amount and to keep a close eye on your bank statements to look out for any unusual activity on your account. 

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Written by

Isha Sesay