Spanish Mobile Phone Scam: 94 Arrested in €500,000 Cloning Fraud

A massive police investigation has resulted in the arrest of 94 criminals from across Spain who collaborated to steal over €500,000 from victims’ bank accounts.
THE gang were part of a scheme that saw bank details, obtained by cloning a mobile phone SIM chip, being used to access customers’ accounts, thereby allowing the transfer of monies out to the gang’s own illegal accounts, one of the victims had €240,000 withdrawn! Organised crime
Those arrested are accused of defrauding a total of €504,800 from numerous victims from all over Spain. The operation was carried out in a coordinated way in 16 municipalities during the past week and ended with the arrest of 94 people, two other people were investigated but not detained. There were two house searches, as well as the seizure of a large amount of computer equipment.

Those arrested all had different roles in the scam, such as counterfeiters, go-fors (muleteers), and fences (launderers). They have been charged with crimes of fraud, money laundering, membership of a criminal group, and, in some cases, falsification of marriage documents.

Nationwide arrests

The arrests made were in the provinces of Almería, Baleares, Barcelona, ​​Burgos, Granada, Guipúzcoa, A Coruña, León, Madrid, Malaga , Murcia, Salamanca, Santa Cruz de Tenerife and Valencia.

How the fraud worked – the interesting part!

First, operators in the gang seized the access codes to the victim’s online banking using the phishing method – capturing the personal data of their victims with tricks and scams over the internet. However, with this information alone the scammers couldn’t draw any cash – they still had to overcome a double security barrier.

Secondly, they duplicated the SIM card of the victim’s parties phone – deceiving the employees of a phone shop by falsifying official documents. With this, they obtained the identity of the victim and obtained a copy of the card from their mobile phone.

Thirdly, as far as the bank was concerned the gang were now the owners of the card. This enabled them to contact the bank and receive access codes to the victim’s bank accounts by applying online via the bank’s website and then quickly transferring the money out.

As is normal in these large investigations, further arrests are expected to be made and the case continues.

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Written by

Tony Winterburn

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