1 min read

106 arrests as police dismantle Mafia-linked online crime gang

Graham CLULEY

September 21, 2021

Ad One product to protect all your devices, without slowing them down.
Free 90-day trial
106 arrests as police dismantle Mafia-linked online crime gang

106 people have been arrested, mostly in Spain and some in Italy, following a multi-national investigation into online fraud.

Police forces in Spain and Italy, assisted by Europol, arrested most of the alleged criminals last week on the Spanish island of Tenerife, as part of an operation dubbed "Fontana Almabahia".

16 houses were searched in a series of raids in the Spanish Canary Islands, especially Santa Cruz de Tenerife, as well as Turin and Isernia in Italy.

Some 118 bank accounts were frozen by the authorities, as computers and other electronic devices, hundreds of credit cards, SIM cards, and point-of-sale terminals were seized by investigators.

Police claim that they have dismantled an organised crime group with links to the Italian Mafia, involved in online fraud, money laundering, drug trafficking, and property crime.

Hundreds of victims are alleged to have been defrauded through phishing, SIM-swapping, and business email compromise (BEC) attacks orchestrated by the gang, with the illegally-obtained proceeds of the crime laundered through "a wide network of money mules and shell companies."

A press release from Europol estimates that the gang's activities illegally netted more than €10 million in profit last year alone.

From their base in Tenerife, the suspects are alleged to have tricked their victims into sending large amounts of money into bank accounts controlled by the gang.

The majority of the gang's victims were based in Italy, but English, German and Irish citizens were also targeted by the criminals, claim investigators.

Stolen funds were then said to have been reinvested in other criminal activities such as drugs, prostitution, and arms trafficking, or laundered through the purchase of cryptocurrency.

Italian police posted a video showing some of the house searches and arrests conducted by the "Fontana Almabahia" team.

With statistics released earlier this year by the FBI revealing that more than $4 billion worth of losses are caused by interent crime every year, and how business email compromise accounts for almost half of that figure, it should be no surprise to anyone that serious organised criminal gangs are behind many of the attacks.

tags


Author



Right now

Top posts

The Holiday Guide to Tech Support: Fixing the Family Computer

The Holiday Guide to Tech Support: Fixing the Family Computer

November 24, 2021

2 min read
Bitdefender Celebrates 20 Years of Cybersecurity Leadership

Bitdefender Celebrates 20 Years of Cybersecurity Leadership

November 04, 2021

3 min read
Bitdefender Study Reveals How Consumers Like (and Dislike) Managing Passwords

Bitdefender Study Reveals How Consumers Like (and Dislike) Managing Passwords

October 26, 2021

3 min read
What are drive-by download attacks and how do you prevent them?

What are drive-by download attacks and how do you prevent them?

October 25, 2021

2 min read
Criminals Can't Wait to Add Your IoT Device to Their DDoS Networks

Criminals Can't Wait to Add Your IoT Device to Their DDoS Networks

October 22, 2021

2 min read
Six in 10 Consumers Faced a Cyber Threat in 2021, New Bitdefender Study Reveals

Six in 10 Consumers Faced a Cyber Threat in 2021, New Bitdefender Study Reveals

October 20, 2021

3 min read

FOLLOW US ON

SOCIAL MEDIA


You might also like

UK Cabinet Office Fined £500,000 over New Year Honours List Data Breach UK Cabinet Office Fined £500,000 over New Year Honours List Data Breach
Alina BÎZGĂ

December 03, 2021

2 min read
Europol Operation Cracks Down on International Money Mule Schemes Europol Operation Cracks Down on International Money Mule Schemes
Alina BÎZGĂ

December 02, 2021

2 min read
Twitter Prohibits Users from Sharing Individuals’ Private Photos or Videos without Consent Twitter Prohibits Users from Sharing Individuals’ Private Photos or Videos without Consent
Alina BÎZGĂ

December 02, 2021

2 min read