Son In Distress – It’s A Scam

8 arrested and another 32 investigates

“Hi mum, my mobile phone is broken. I have a temporary number”. 8 people have been arrested and another 32 are under investigation for swindling €180,000 using the “son in distress technique”scam.

The Guardia Civil has dismantled a criminal organisation for defrauding 44 people in the province of Granada. Those arrested are responsible for recruiting people to open bank accounts and give them access codes.

The scam goes like this: “Hi mum. My mobile is broken. I have a temporary number. I can’t call you. You can send me an SMS via WhatsApp to the number 656…” This is the message that the victims received on their mobile phones from the alleged scammer posing as their son.

He convinced the victims that he had financial problems and needed money urgently. The victims made one or more transfers to what they believed to be their son and later discovered that they had been swindled.

In total, the Guardia Civil has arrested 8 people as the alleged ringleaders and a further 32 people have also been investigated as mules, who in exchange for money set up numerous bank accounts in their names, and handed them over to those arrested.

This operation named ‘Munkid’ began after both the investigators of the Technological Crimes Team and the Guardia Civil Team in Granada detected that throughout 2023 multiple scams had been committed in the province of Granada with the same modus operandi: the false son who asks his parents for urgent money via mobile messaging.

The police found out that the money from one of these scams ended up in a bank account of a person with an address in the town of Pegalajar in Jaén. They also discovered that the owner of these accounts was a 23-year-old woman who was in charge of recruiting mules who set up bank accounts and gave her the passwords.

A 24-year-old man was also arrested in the town of Pedrera in Seville. This man was in charge of recruiting people like the young woman arrested in Jaén, making the payments and transferring the accounts obtained to another man, the direct contact with the people behind the scams.

After the arrest of these first 2, the Guardia Civil managed to identify and arrest another 6 people involved in the recruitment of mules, as well as investigating 32 others for handing over their bank accounts and collaborating with the organisation in exchange for money.

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Written by

Kevin Fraser Park

Kevin was born in Scotland and worked in marketing, running his own businesses in UK, Italy and, for the last 8 years, here in Spain. He moved to the Costa del Sol in 2016 working initially in real estate. He has a passion for literature and particularly the English language which is how he got into writing.



      24 October 2023 • 11:30

      The “Son in distress call” happened to me twice. ECh time my son was having lunch with me… obviously a scam.

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