Through phishing frauds and "the CEO scam"
The National Police detains 11 cyber criminals who have defrauded more than 2,400,000 euros from companies and individuals from multiple countries
Arrested for alleged fraud, money laundering and membership in a criminal organization, they carried out fraud using new technologies using social engineering methods.
More than 150 bank accounts have been detected that would have been used to defraud companies located in Italy, the Czech Republic, the United States, Lebanon, China, Kazakhstan or the Netherlands
The CEO scam consists in deceiving a high-ranking employee of a company by means of an email that pretends to come from his boss -CEO, president or director- in which he is asked to carry out an alleged confidential and urgent financial operation, which nevertheless has by recipient to scammers
May 11, 2020.- National Police officers have arrested 11 cyber criminals who, allegedly, have defrauded more than 2,400,000 euros from companies and individuals from multiple countries. Arrested for crimes of fraud, money laundering and membership of a criminal organization, they carried out fraud through new technologies using social engineering methods. More than 150 bank accounts have been detected that would have been used to defraud companies located in Italy, the Czech Republic, the United States, Lebanon, China, Kazakhstan or the Netherlands. They used phishing techniques and the so-called "CEO scam", which consists of deceiving a high-ranking employee of a company through an email that pretends to be their boss -CEO, president or director-, in which they are asked to carry out an alleged confidential and urgent financial operation, which however is intended for scammers.
"Mules" and "straw men" as intermediaries to hide their trail
The investigation began in mid-2018 when agents received various information through complaints that, thanks to effective international coordination, determined the existence of an organized group of cybercriminals specialized in two types of fraud: phishing and the CEO scam.
The researchers studied the various means of collection used by cybercriminals, detecting more than 150 bank accounts that constituted a complex network of intermediaries and "mules". The organization would use them to hide the fraudulent origin of the money obtained and, in addition, make it difficult to identify the final recipients of the amounts acquired illegally.
The agents verified the existence of victims of these scams, both companies and individuals, located in Italy, the Czech Republic, the United States, Lebanon, China, Kazakhstan and the Netherlands, among others, with the total amount of money defrauded exceeding 2,400,000 euros. .
Thanks to the analysis of the information collected, the researchers identified a total of 16 people located in Palma de Mallorca (1), Maspalomas (1), Ibiza (2) and Valencia (12), arresting 11 of them as alleged authors of fraud, money laundering and membership in a criminal organization. The remaining five people have been charged as investigated, not detained.
Social engineering involves creating a fictional scenario for the victim to reveal information that, under normal circumstances, it would not
The so-called CEO scam is a criminal modality that is characterized because, unlike phishing, the victim has an established profile: an employee with access to a company's financial resources and who has been previously studied and selected based on the objectives of criminals. Basically the scam is that a high-ranking employee or the company's accountant with the ability to make transfers or access bank account data receives an email, supposedly from his boss, be it the CEO, president or director of the company. In this message he asks you for help to carry out a confidential and urgent financial operation. If the worker is not aware of the deception, he can reveal sensitive data to the scammers or directly transfer funds to them.
For its part, phishing is based like the previous scam on social engineering techniques, it consists of the massive sending of emails trying to impersonate an entity that the victim trusts, a bank, a large company or a public entity. In these messages, there is a link in which the victim is diverted to a false page requesting the introduction of passwords and personal or bank details that can give access and control of their banking and financial services to third parties.