By John Ensor •
Published: 21 Oct 2023 • 12:19
Gang issued death threats via mobile messages.
A gang in Valencia extorted up to €30,000 after they preyed on terrified victims with death threats via mobile phone messages.
In a recent sting in Valencia, the Guardia Civil apprehended nine individuals suspected of extorting sums from multiple victims using alarming death threats and weapons. Additionally, five other suspects are under investigation.
A report published today gave details of how in Valencia province, the Guardia Civil made nine arrests and is actively investigating five others. These individuals are believed to have scammed residents of Huesca province out of a total of €30,000 through mobile messaging schemes.
The Guardia Civil initiated the ‘Planval’ operation after numerous complaints surfaced from different towns in Huesca. Victims reported receiving menacing messages demanding money and threatening them and their families. They even sent videos in which threats were issued while a man brandished a firearm, further increasing the fear of the victims.
The culprits used a technique called social engineering, which involved gathering personal details from online forms. This information ranged from phone numbers and addresses to details about the victims’ families and workplaces.
With this data, they intensified their threats. To further increase victims’ fear, extortionists threatened to release intimate content, which they claimed to have obtained by illicitly accessing their electronic devices. This tactic forced many victims to pay between €500 and €8,000, fearing the exposure of compromising materials.
After nearly two years of rigorous investigation, the Guardia Civil in Huesca discovered that the culprits had employed phone cards under fraudulent identities. In some instances, they even assumed the identities of prior victims. They traced a myriad of online bank accounts where the extortionists received the victims’ deposits. These sums were promptly withdrawn in cash from ATMs in Valencia’s capital.
Finally, the suspects were located Arrests were made in Alzira, Torrent, Paiporta, and Valencia. One of the apprehended individuals was already on the Guardia Civil’s radar, with an outstanding warrant for similar offences. All those arrested and under investigation are now facing the legal proceedings in Barbastro, Huesca, Jaca, and Monzon.
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Originally from Doncaster, Yorkshire, John now lives in Galicia, Northern Spain with his wife Nina.
He is passionate about news, music, cycling and animals.
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