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The investigators of the National Police have identified 2,400 victims of what they consider the most active network of this criminal modality

Disarticulated a complex network specialized in online fraud that swindled about 900,000 euros

So far 45 people have been arrested who used up to 100 different identities to commit the scams, have identified 286 bank accounts used to channel their illicit profits and have requested the blocking of 39 fraudulent websites

They created web pages similar to others of recognized solvency but with a small variation in the name of the registered domain, misleading users who thought they were accessing the original web page

Once the clients were scammed, the criminals had the personal data of the victims and, after identifying the banks with which they operated, days later they contacted them by telephone, pretending to be employees of their respective banking entities.

These accounts were opened by a network of collaborators or "mules" who, with their own identities and other usurped, made withdrawals of cash at ATMs or shipments through online applications

04-July-2018.- National Police agents have dismantled a complex network highly specialized in online fraud committed to commit massive scams through fraudulent web pages and using the vishing technique – phishing scams that are done over the phone to get victims to reveal crucial information of a financial nature or personal-. So far researchers have arrested 45 people from all the steps of the network -30 of them in the province of Madrid, 12 in Alicante, one in Seville, one in Albacete and one in Barcelona, ​​which used a hundred identities different Among those arrested are the alleged maximum responsible for the group, a couple of young people who are around 25 years of age. In addition, 286 bank accounts used to channel the scammed money have been identified and have requested the blocking of 39 fraudulent websites. This organization is considered by researchers to be the most active of those that currently operate dedicated to this criminal specialty. During the year and a half that the research has lasted, 2,400 victims have been identified and it is not ruled out that this figure is much higher due to the complexity and professionalism employed by the dismantled organization.

The origin of the investigation dates back to last year, when the police detected a significant volume of complaints related to the fraudulent sale of technological products through the Internet. The operation was to create web pages similar to others of recognized solvency but with a small variation in the name of the registered domain, misleading users who thought they were accessing the original website instead of a simulated one. After making the purchase of any of the products offered and making the payment by bank transfer, the buyer neither received the item allegedly acquired nor was reimbursed the amount.

Once the clients were scammed, the criminals had the personal data of the victims and, after identifying the banks with which they operated, days later they contacted them via telephone simulating being employees of their respective banking entities. Using sophisticated deception techniques, they managed to extract the access codes to their online banking and proceed in real time to carry out operations without their consent, such as contracting immediate concession credits and then transferring the funds to third accounts that controlled this criminal network.

These accounts were opened by a network of collaborators or "mules" who, with their own identities and other usurped ones, made withdrawals of cash at ATMs or shipments through online applications.

After the operational exploitation of the investigation, the corresponding entries and registrations were made in the domiciles of the dome of the criminal organization in which bank documents were intervened on behalf of third parties, computer equipment and 72,400 euros in cash hidden in the principal's home. investigated and annexed stays.

Identities purchased and supplanted

The criminal organization investigated was aware of the need to set up a wide network of current accounts in which to receive the proceeds of their illicit activities, register telephone lines, register domains or contact web designers, prior actions to initiate their fraudulent activity. All this while preserving the identities of their top managers.

To this end they established two ways of obtaining affiliations. On the one hand, they offered between fifty and one hundred euros to people in a precarious economic situation to open current accounts and transfer them to those responsible for the organization so that they could operate with them. At other times, they usurped the identities of people they cheated through platforms for the sale of goods between individuals. For this, they first bought user profiles with multiple positive ratings, offering them a quantity of money in exchange for giving them the full use of their profile to enjoy greater credibility in the platform. Next, they contacted several people who had published an advertisement for the sale of the product and were interested in it, telling them to continue the conversations through a famous instant messaging application, which allows the sending of images. Before formalizing the sale they asked for a photograph carrying their National Identity Document to verify their identity, all under the pretext that they did not want to be deceived. On many occasions the victims agreed to send that image, an image that would later be used by members of the criminal organization for various purposes.

39 fraudulent web pages

Subsequently, they hired the services of web designers for the creation and start-up of various online stores that imitated websites of consolidated and reliable companies. They offered mainly electronic and telephony items. They registered domains very similar to those of the original pages, putting them in the name of third persons to whom they usurped their identity, and used prominent ads in a famous search engine to make their website appear in a good position and thus capture a greater volume of victims.

Under the cover of being acting as a legitimate page, they advertised products at significantly lower prices, which could only be paid via bank transfer. So far it is known that they would have used at least 39 different web pages, the following being detected:

§ lasherramientasexpress.es

§ herramientasexpress.es

§ lasherramientasexpress.com

§ herramientaexpress.es

§ abrilclimatizaciones.es

§ fitairs.es

§ humblebundles.es

§ martinclima.es

§ greenmangamings.es

§ decormara.es

§ nokeys.es

§ hrkgame.es

§ handtec.es

§ mobilefixtienda.es

§ movileos.com

§ simplygames.es

§ instantgaming.eu

§ instantgaming.co

§ may-movil.com

§ argosshop.es

§ may-movil.es

§ instantgamings.es

§ mrsneaker.es

§ 365games.es

§ toolstops.com

§ navia-center.es

§ mrmemory.co

§ kasmani-electrodomesticos.es

§ offtek.co

§ gamelooting.es

§ kinguins.com

§ gamyvo.com

§ movilines.co

§ xtralifes.com

§ entradasdechampions.com

§ mielectro.co

§ movil-planet.com

§ ssensetienda.com

§ press-starts.com

Most of the fraudulent websites offered products that are sued at any time of the year, such as mobile or video game consoles. However, the organization also took advantage of the opportunities that arose, such as the football match of the Champions League final, to create a website to resell tickets and cheat with it. In summer they used to start up pages with articles of air conditioning or in winter others dedicated to the sale of firewood. In fact for these next months they planned to make scams with the rental of tourist homes. Once the purchase was made by the clients, the scammers did not send the product but the money was received in the bank accounts they controlled.

Scams through vishing by posing as the victim's bank

Once the victims made the payment by bank transfer of the allegedly acquired products on the web pages, the members of the organization contacted the victims by phone, posing as their bank staff, taking advantage of the fact that they had the bank statement of the transfer. that they had received as payment. Thus, they explained to them that they had withheld a payment that they had recently made by bank transfer (referring to the amount of the item purchased on the fraudulent website) and indicated how they could return the amount retained in their account. All this through perfectly studied locutions, which not only included musical background and several interlocutors who pretended to be a call management center, but used expressions of banking slang and knowledge adequate enough to make the victims believe they were communicating with its entities.

As a result of this deception, they obtained the access codes to the online banking pages and, in real time, while they were being kept on the telephone, they made bank transfers from the accounts of the victims or asked for quick concession credits that in minutes were diverted to receiving accounts. of the criminal network.

They mocked their victims

Those responsible for the network showed a special disdain towards the victims: first by cheating them through the fraudulent web pages, second by controlling their online banking and finally, as it happened in many cases, by contacting them through the telephone numbers provided on their websites. purchases, as well as through the Internet forums that these used as a mechanism of rejection against the websites where they had been scammed. Publicly mocked the complainants for having fallen for their deception and sometimes put the name of some of the victims in the section "Terms and Conditions" of their websites to appear as the authors of the fraud.

Those responsible for the criminal organization also used these forums to extract information from the interposed complaints and other measures adopted by the conned collective.

Special operation for the fight against computer frauds

In recent years, the criminal form of computer fraud has been experiencing spectacular growth, which led to the implementation by the National Police of different actions, both normative and operational, aimed at addressing this situation. Among the measures adopted, it is worth mentioning the start-up of the so-called Telemaco operation, whose objective is a better approach, treatment and development of national research and operational exploitation. This novel protocol has been an effective tool for researchers in the development of this operation, since it has been possible to chain complaints and modes of action.

Advice against network fraud

To avoid being a victim of this type of fraud, the National Police advises the following:

-Verify that the sponsored links of the search engine redirect you to the official website and not to another similar one.

-Despecting the pages that offer products at a price with great discounts.

-Find opinions and reference of the page on the internet.

-Make sure that the fiscal data of the company is visible on the web and that it exists.

-Read the terms and conditions, the legal notice … "the fine print".

-Doubt when the payment methods that give confidence to the buyer have a great extra cost and when there is no customer service contact phone.

-Make online payments through secure platforms.

-Never send anyone photographs of your personal documentation.

– Suspect the web pages with lightning offers and that are advertised through sponsored links and buying and selling platforms.

– Never reveal your passwords to online banking or provide bank details by telephone.

-In case of doubt, contact the National Police by email: fraudeinternet@policia.es



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