Dismantled a network of online sale scammers with 29 detainees

They used the Nigerian scam method, sending the buyer a false proof of payment

When they received the product, they quickly resold it in physical second-hand stores.

The profits ended in Nigeria, where the Civil Guard has identified 18 people who made economic mules for the organization.

The Civil Guard, within the framework of the Imopail operation, has dismantled a network of online trading scammers with 29 detainees. They are considered the perpetrators of a continued crime of fraud, money laundering and membership of a criminal organization.

The fake buyers used the well-known Nigerian scam method by which they gained the seller's trust for the seller to send them the product they had for sale. For this, they sent him false payment receipts, using fraudulent payment platforms, with an appearance very similar to the real ones.
In order not to raise suspicions, they also sent false identification documents to the buyer, and always accepted the producer's price without negotiating.

A national network

This criminal organization had a network of computer "mules" distributed throughout the national territory. In fact, although the operation has been directed from the Bizkaia and A Coruña Commanderies, the investigation has required the collaboration of teams from 10 more provinces.
Specifically, the arrests have taken place in the provinces of A Coruña, Bizkaia, Salamanca, Barcelona, ​​Almería, Illes Balears, Asturias, Burgos, Badajoz, Ciudad Real, Madrid and Cádiz.
In October 2018, the investigation began after a complaint filed by a neighbor from Sada (A Coruña), in which the complainant stated that they illegally seized a mobile phone that was for sale online.
With this first arrest of the author, the investigators were able to identify all the members of the lowest level of the structure, the computer “mules” that are organized in small family or friend clans.
They are the recipients who receive the merchandise from the sellers and who, as soon as they have it in their possession, resell in physical second-hand stores.
The profit obtained was to be distributed to their upper echelon contact, sending the part of it to financial services companies. The Civil Guard has identified 18 of these economic "mules", who resided in the city of Ibadan (Nigeria).

Preventive advice

Due to the normalization of the internet when it comes to buying and selling products, scammers have made the internet their workplace. Internet users must be alert so as not to fall into their deceptions. The Civil Guard recommends:
  • Be suspicious if the platform to establish the payment has logos of the Civil Guard, the National Police or any other Security Corps.
  • If possible, better deliver the item you sell by hand.
  • Use the official transport companies of the buying and selling portal if you have it or, failing that, cash on delivery.
  • Make sure you have received the money, and do not accept retention of money by trusted third parties, except being totally sure to use the payment method or gateways with which you usually work and who know the work methodology.
  • Do not make direct payments to mobile phones, or with money extraction.
  • Never provide personal and bank details. It should also be remembered that, in an online payment, bank transfer is not a secure method.
  • In no case provide a copy of your ID to buy items.
  • When the sale is agreed, and especially if the seller or buyer quickly provides the ID (it may be someone else's) request a telephone conversation (video call) with the seller or buyer.


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