Phishing Ring Bust, Spanish Police Have Arrested 40 People

By   Adeola Adegunwa
Writer , Informationsecuritybuzz | May 10, 2023 01:15 am PST

The National Police of Spain detained 25 persons in Madrid and Seville for alleged bank scams, including 2 hackers, 15 members of a criminal organization, and another 12 people involved in unlawful financial operations.

Over 300,000 people may have been duped by the phishing attack, which used email and short message service (SMS) messages, and at least 700,000 euros ($770k) in losses have been reported and taken care of by the Spanish police.

The Spanish police detained 40 persons for bank scams, documentary falsification, identity theft, and money laundering.

The group “hacked” computers and ran scams by using “business logistics.” According to the cybercrime unit’s investigation, Trinitarios members used stolen credit cards to buy cryptocurrencies, which they then reportedly traded for fiat money in a “common box.”

Card information was taken from those who fell for phishing SMS messages that claimed their bank accounts had been compromised and needed immediate attention.

Victims clicked on the SMS link and were taken to a phishing website designed to seem like the real bank’s login page, where they submitted their account information.

Using phishing panels, the hackers kept a close eye on the information as it was entered and swiftly put it to use by applying for loans, adding new verification phone numbers to the hijacked accounts, and linking the cards to virtual crypto wallets under their control.

According to the authorities, those involved in the parallel cash-out networks employed money mules to accept wire transfers, take cash from ATMs, and make fictitious purchases using the PoS terminals of fake internet stores.

Drug and firearm purchases allegedly used the money on things like drug and weapon purchases, meetings, legal fees, and direct transfers to incarcerated members of the gang. Other members of the gang utilized the remaining funds to buy property in the Dominican Republic.

The Spanish police are currently collaborating with their overseas counterparts in an effort to track down all ill-gotten gains and assets. Cybercrime has been adopted by criminal organizations as a means of making money. According to the Spanish police, Trinitarios funded its legal and operational costs with phished funds.

The SIM swapping and corporate email breach networks, which were linked to the Italian mafia, were demolished in a joint Europol operation in September 2021, yielding annual profits of over €10 million ($11.7 million).


Spanish police apprehended hundreds of suspects in a significant organized crime group that made over €700,000 ($767,000) from phishing victims. Two hackers and 15 “Trinitarios” members were among the 40 arrested by Spanish police for bank fraud, document forgery, identity theft, and money laundering. The authorities said the organization utilized phishing and bank fraud to buy narcotics and weapons, pay prisoner lawyers, and send money directly to prisoners. The claimed hackers sent victims SMS phishing messages purporting to be from their bank, claiming a security issue required them to click on a malicious link.

The victim submitted their banking logins on a fake page after clicking the link. Hackers exploited the logins to access genuine accounts, solicit loans, and link cards to virtual wallets on their phones. These card data were used to buy bitcoin, which was swapped for fiat currency and stored in a “common box” for later use. The group directed a vast money mule network to “cash out” at ATMs or receive funds via bank transfer and made fake purchases through fictitious online cosmetics shops via point-of-sale (POS) terminals to monetize the hijacked bank data.

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