Spanish National Police have dismantled a large fraud organization that allegedly scammed over 300,000 individuals of 700,000 euros.
Officers arrested 40 individuals, including two hackers who allegedly ran phishing and smishing campaigns, and members accused of money laundering, document forgery, identity theft and other crimes, according to a police press release.
During the investigation, police also seized computer equipment, lock-picking instruments, and cash from 13 residences in the provinces of Madrid, Seville and Guadalajara.
The phishing attacks were carried out using hacking tools purchased from cybercriminals.
“They monitored the victim's private bank details in real-time thanks to software purchased from cybercriminals,” the police said.
The gang sent fraudulent links via SMS or emails that directed victims to a copycat version of their bank or financial institutions. After securing their target credentials, the attackers immediately began to take out loans in the victim’s name, linking a new verification phone number and a virtual crypto wallet to siphon the funds.
“These SMS were sent en masse to lists of clients of that financial institution, messages in which they were alerted to an alleged security problem in their account that they could solve through the fraudulent link that was sent to them,” the police explained.
“At that same moment, the cybercriminals were monitoring the access credentials from the aforementioned panel. At this point, they entered the online portal of the financial institution with the credentials of the victims and requested immediate loans, as well as linked the cards of those affected to the virtual wallet that their phones have.”
Illicit proceeds were allegedly used to buy narcotics and weapons and cover the expenses of gang members in prison, including to pay lawyers.
Phishing campaigns disguised as official banking correspondence take place every day. Scams are tailored for maximum efficiency to trick as many victims as possible and ensure maximum financial rewards.
To fend off cybercriminals and phishing, we advise vigilance and caution when dealing with financial or bank-related correspondence that notifies you of any security issues or asks you to confirm personally identifiable information, credentials and passwords.
Bitdefender security solutions can help you fight off fraudulent attempts and phishing attacks before they cause financial harm. Our anti-fraud and anti-phishing technologies block dangerous links and malicious threats.
The benefits even extend to your Android phone, with Bitdefender’s Scam Alert feature that notifies you in real time of any dangerous text messages or instant messages that may try to scam you.
Find out more about how Bitdefender security solutions can help protect your identity, privacy and finances here.
Alina is a history buff passionate about cybersecurity and anything sci-fi, advocating Bitdefender technologies and solutions. She spends most of her time between her two feline friends and traveling.View all posts
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